Another one of those video clips, that are supposed to illuminate the unequal treatment of Blacks in America, showed up on my computer again this morning. It reminded me of another post from a Puerto Rican friend reminding everyone that he’s not Mexican so don’t wish him a “Happy Cinco de Mayo”. Apparently islanders don’t celebrate Mexican Independence day. For myself, I’ve learned to ignore the comments about skin-heads, neo-nazis and white racist crap.
It also reminded me of another article about camouflage and role models, the image we project to the world. What is anyone to expect from a person, of any race, who projects an image of foul mouthed, disrespectful, unrestrained threat? We are conditioned to react to threats by nature. Fight or flight. We are also conditioned by society to respond to others in kind.
Before anyone starts, yes, there are racists and assholes on both sides of the argument. I’m not talking about the ones who have declared their allegiance and stupidity to credos based on skin pigment. This is about everyday people who feel pressure and resentment over or through the acts of others.
I work in the inner city. I see a lot of kids trying on the image of a street thug or criminal. I recognize part of that coming from protecting an image in the community, protection from reprisal on the street. When I run into this, they get a short lesson.
- If you want respect, give respect.
- Acting like a criminal gets you treated like a criminal until proven otherwise.
- You choose your role model and destiny.
It carries over. The image of blacks has been blasted across the evening news, music videos, movie screens and the internet. It is not the image of Dr. King and his peace marches, or the scholars and doctors helping to change our world. It’s the image of Al Sharpton’s race baiting rants, mobs of people rioting, looting and burning Baltimore, shooting each other in record numbers on the streets of Detroit and Chicago. To few people have the perspective I enjoy, so they react predictably. Fear the threat.
Back to the beginning. The black community is being treated differently. It is more from the image being broadcast to the world, than rampant racism. The vocal minority is accelerating this through hype and hyperbole, peaceful encounters become violent, innocent bystanders are caught in the mix and injured. These groups are conditioning the world to fear them and it’s working. The black communities are being isolated for protection. Police are less likely to take risks confronting hostile groups. Employers are discriminating over appearance and speech, assessing risks. Fueling more complaints of racism.
An Indian woman found a rattle snake frozen in the snow. She brought it into her home and nursed it back to health. When it was healthy again, it bit her. As she lay dying, she ask “Why?”
The snake answered, “Stupid Bitch. You knew I was a snake.”