Saturday, June 20, 2015

The race card is played for you every day. If you're white.

This week, America "played the race card." The phrase is usually used by white deniers whenever a non-Anglo attempts to ground a discussion in USican history. Playing the race card--as if the entire deck wasn't stacked, stacked against the people who paid/pay dearly for not having the power to deal the cards. The house always tries to win--even when its white children commit horrendous murder--and it's called White-Privilege America.

The reaction of some U.S. Anglo, white people to racial-hatred incidents can drive any non-Anglo crazy. When a twenty-one-year-old white boy massacred nine black worshippers in a South Carolina church this week, he provided an incident to hear more of these Stupid-America reactions. But he also helped create an atmosphere where "playing the race card" is about the stupidest thing anyone could bring up. Some Anglo-Americans understand this, their words directed toward White-Privilege America and what actions Anglos should take:

Charles Pierce, Esquire magazine: "What happened in a church in Charleston is a lot of things, but one thing it's not is unthinkable. Somebody thought long and hard about it. Somebody thought to load the weapon. Somebody thought to pick the church.
"One thing it's not is unspeakable. We should speak of it often. We should speak of it loudly. We should speak of it as terrorism, which is what it was. We should speak of it as racial violence, which is what it was.
"It is not an isolated incident, not if you consider history as something alive that can live and breathe and bleed. Not to think about these things is to betray the dead. Not to speak of these things is to dishonor them.
"Think about what happened. Think about why it happened. Talk about what happened. Talk about why it happened. Do these things, over and over again. The country must resist the temptation present in anesthetic innocence. It must reject the false comfort of learned disbelief and the narcotic embrace of concocted surprise. There is a ferocious underground fire running through American history. It rages unseen until it flares again from the warm earth. What happened on Wednesday night was a lot of things. A massacre was only one of them."

And this week, comedian Jon Stewart appropriately went with "no jokes, just sadness": "This is a terrorist attack. This is a violent attack on Emanuel church in South Carolina, which is a symbol for the black community. I hate to even use this pun, but this is black and white. There's no nuance here.
"The culprit is the corrosive culture of racism in America, especially in the South. We are steeped in that culture in this country, and we refuse to recognize it. The Confederate flag flies over South Carolina, and the roads are named for Confederate generals. And the white guy's the one who feels like his country's been taken from him."

On the other hand, our President seems ready to sweep Charleston under the rug: "Now is the time for mourning and for healing." Healing? Already? Nine black people slaughtered in a state that deliberately didn't lower its capitol's Confederate flag to half-mast?

In the city where Judge James Gosnell said, when setting bail: "We have victims, nine, but we also have victims on the other side. There are victims on this young man's side of the family. We must find it in our hearts not only to help those that are victims but to help his family as well."

Feel sorry for his family? The ones who raised him with the "values" that led to the slaughter? Their concerns outweigh the murder of nine black people? And how does the shooter's family outweigh the murdered victims' families? Only in White-Privilege America.

As an elderly USican Chicano, I've grown calloused toward Anglos who avoid admitting their status in this racist-history country. They don't depress me. I don't let them affect my fiction writing. I don't have a need to withdraw from the dialogue. I'm accustomed to here. To hearing Anglo, ignorant deniers.

Like billionaire-hair-mouth Donald Trump: "When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. They're sending people who have lots of problems (which include) drugs and being rapists."
In response, Reynosa, Tex., artesan, Avalos Ramirez created a Trump piñata perfect for bashing. It's a stand-in for the real thing, which would be preferable.

Maná, more than "pure" artists

And the Mexican Rock Band Maná denounced Trump, dedicating their song, Somos Más Americanos, viewable on UTube. As Fher Olvera, group leader, explained, "It is sad that someone with such hatred in his heart has a microphone to say those things."

Only in White-Privilege America.

For La Bloga's readers, don't imagine that Chicanos--or however you call yourself--are "above" or untouched by #BlackLivesMatter. If a Chicano had somehow been in the Charleston church audience, the racist shooter would not have held off shooting because that person wasn't dark enough.

We Chicanos as a whole have our own anti-black prejudices. Individually you can say whatever about yourself. No matter, we were raised with our version of anti-blackness. Those of us who read about Charleston and think, I'm glad it wasn't brown people; those who say, We don't have it as bad as them; those who assume, gladly, No blacks are my ancestors; those who'd never attend a demonstration for a black kid murdered by police; and those who are grateful they can sometimes pass for white--it's to all those Chicanos that Latino author Daniel José Older wrote Why U.S. Latinos Need To Get Loud About The Dominican Republic:

"The Dominican government’s fear of blackness dates back to Spanish colonizers and became a matter of policy under the dictator Rafael Trujillo, who murdered tens of thousands of Haitians living in the Dominican Republic and displaced hundreds of thousands more. Anti-Haitian sentiment became a rallying cry for some Dominican nationalists, a way to distinguish the supposedly more 'European' Dominicans from their Haitian neighbors.

Don't say "Glad I'm not a black Dominican." Support them.
"That prejudice is now manifesting in the revocation of citizenship from anyone deemed by the state to be of Haitian ancestry, which translates to anyone viewed as black. Anti-black mob violence has been on the rise--beatings, burnings, and lynchings. And we must see these actions for what they have always historically been: the run-up to a massacre. As I write, government buses are taking to the streets of Santo Domingo to detain and deport black Dominicans.

"With 1.5 million residents in the U.S., Dominicans make up the fifth largest Latino population in the country and the largest immigrant group in New York state. But some Latino news sites were slower even than mainstream outlets to acknowledge the ongoing crisis facing hundreds of thousands of Dominicans. And while a few Latino writers have spoken out (notably Junot Díaz and Julia Alvarez), Latino celebrities have for the most part remained entirely silent.

"Sadly, we can’t be surprised by this silence. Anti-blackness has run deep in the Latino community as long as there’s been a Latino community. Much like the wider American mythology of a glorious melting pot, we love waxing faux-etic about the multilayered fabric of our identity. In truth, we are a shattered family, a house deeply divided by white supremacy and colorism. It’s as true in Latin America — even Cuba — as it is in the United States.

"Watching the news can make you feel like racism against blacks worldwide is on the rise, but what we’re really seeing is the hard work of dedicated activists demanding that the world pay attention, often for the first time, to ongoing legacies of police violence, cultural appropriation, mass displacement. There is nothing new about state violence against black life.

"In the white mainstream imagination, the default setting for Latinos is white/light brown, a comfortable, neither-here-nor-there exotic that allows the diversity box to be checked without the perceived threat of blackness.

"Across the country, Latino artists are making strides and letting our voices be heard. We are loud and unapologetically us, and I love us. And amid this renaissance, we must also be unapologetically honest about who we really are, who we have been, how we have broken, and how we can heal. My Latin pride will be rooted in the unequivocal truth that Black Lives Matter, or it will be bullshit."

Supporting Charleston's real victims--blacks--must go beyond prayer or Obama's healing time. Chicanos should denounce all the manifestations of White-Privilege America. The Trump clones, Confederate flags flying anywhere, white-biased judges in Charleston, Hillary and Obama avoiding timely trips there, US complicity in the anti-black pogram in the Dominican Republic. It's in humanity's interest to do so. Being a good Chicano on the sidelines isn't enough. It never has been.

Es tody, hoy,
RudyG, a.k.a. an old Chicano aspiring to be more than non-black


Desiree said...

BAM! You nailed it. Thank you so much.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Desiree. There's more info today from the racist terrorist's "manifesto": “Hispanics are obviously a huge problem for Americans. But there are good hispanics and bad hispanics. I remember while watching hispanic television stations, the shows and even the commercials were more White than our own. They have respect for White beauty, and a good portion of hispanics are White. It is a well known fact that White hispanics make up the elite of most hispanics countries. There is good White blood worht saving in Uruguay, Argentina, Chile and even Brasil. But they are still our enemies.”