Here at The Screaming Voice of Reason we live in a troubled city. Our culture is divided into Black and White. Actually, there are a number of disparate cultures in our city, but Black and White are the two biggest as well as generating the most conflict.
Kansas City has terrible race relations. Racism is rampant, but it’s the kind of low-key racism that doesn’t register on the average American’s radar. It’s the, “I have lots of black friends,” kind of racism. The, “You’re ok for a white guy,” kind of racism.
Today I was declared an honarary Black Guy by my coworkers. This is because they like me. They like me and calling a white guy white is an insult in their culture. Their culture being Kansas City’s Black culture, which has a White Devil archetype.
But you can’t criticize black culture without also critcising white culture, if you’re white. Because that’s racist.
Kansas City’s white population has a problem with black people. Whether they’re the rich yuppies who think everybody deserves a chance, just not in their neighborhood, or they were poor white kids growing up in a black neighborhood and the assholes who bullied them in high school happened to be black assholes.
And when white people collectively have a problem with another group, historically, that group does not tend to be treated well by the people in power. The people in power being white. Let’s not kid ourselves.
So you end up with a group of people defensively circling their wagons against an outside threat.
Am I saying that if a black person in KC hates white people they shouldn’t be held personally accountable for their prejudice? No. Everyone should be held personally accountable for their prejudice. Prejudice is stupid, and stupid is curable.
The burden of rectifying my city’s problem does not lay on the backs of the white people, or the black people, or the hispanic people I’ve recently moved in next to. (Dig the music, btw)
Because there aren’t White People and Black People and Brown people and Yellow People. Every single human being has a slightly different skin tone. No two are alike. If everybody had the exact same color of skin, hair and eyes we would find some other arbitrary lines for drawing ourselves into different groups. The problem isn’t skin color. The problem is that people are dicks.
So, stop being a dick. It’s hard. Xenophobia is inherent to human psychology. There was a long stretch of human history where the way to survive was to kill anyone you saw who was from a different tribe. We have come past that point by now, I’d like to think. But when you see a teenage boy who looks very different from you and you get that fight or flight jolt up your spine, that’s your ancient ancestors telling you that you need to get rid of that kid to make more resources avaliable to Your People.
But you live in the modern world, friend. We have all the resources you want. Not only that, but That Kid is one of Your People. So, next time you see someone who makes you want to clutch your purse a little tighter, how about you look him in the eye and smile at him instead? How about you break down some walls for the rest of us?
Make the world a little better today.
Chris Brown is the writer for Alchohologist.com