Worst (Or Best) Term Of The Year To Make White People Feel Better About Having Views That Could Be Considered Racist

Monday, January 12, 2009

Racial Resentment

Maybe it was just me, but this year seemed to be the one that people really started using the term to either cover up their own views, or the views of others which by most standards would seem racist, and at the same time, allowed people to throw back the idea of "reverse racism" - which as we all know, doesn't exist.

In that way "Racial Resentment" made it O.K. to say things like:

I have nothing against black people, or other people, but I just don't trust them, and I know it's wrong, but I can't help it. It's the way I was brought up. I mean, is that wrong of me to think that? I don't think so, but if you think it is I don't know what to say, because it really isn't my fault. I think we just inherently like people of the same color, and I can't help it that I don't really know any black people or sit down and have conversations with them. I already have friends so I don't really need to meet more people. At the same time, and I know this is wrong, I can't help but think what happens if a black President is elected - where does it end? I know I said this was wrong already, but I might tolerate, or have too, a black President, but does that pave the way for a Chinese, or Japanese, or a Muslim? I hate to say it, but I just don't think they've been in America long enough to really understand what it's like to be American and I think you have too in order to lead our country, and don't have anything against them, but I just can't help but think that if we elect a black President that it could actually happen and then I just wouldn't know what to do. I wouldn't feel like America is still 'American'. And I guess, if I really think about it, if you are black you're American, but I really don't know about anyone else yet. I just think it takes time. And I don't think that's really wrong of me to say, because that's just the way I feel and I think that's O.K., because it's not like it was thirty years ago. We've evolved so far past that, but at the same time, we need to take small steps.

They may be somewhat "nice" about it (if you can call it that) - but you can't deny that what they say holds to the same truths that created (and keep running) the machine of institutionalized racism.

There's no way around it.

But now?

Now they have a term to help shield them from criticism - at least a little. Now they have a term to say "I'm not racist. I just have racial resentment" - even though that resentment is for POC who've always been the targets of oppression.

In the end it's like beating someone to death with boxing gloves versus your bare hands.

You've still taken the life.

At the same time, I can't help but wonder if the term "racial resentment" - as much as I don't like it and what comes with it - at times can allow a somewhat more open conversation of race where there might be a starting point in a conversation that may have never happened.

In that way, if people aren't afraid of talking about race because they can be under the protection of "racial resentment", does it at least allow POC to be able to get a chance to say something like "Well, I know you don't think of what you're saying as being filled with racism, but..."?

Could it point to the fact that in some cases as our views may soften, so may our language?

Or is the the language the only thing that's really changed?