I started writing about issues of race a few years ago. While still serving in the military, I took note of a particular senior noncommissioned officer’s Facebook diatribes about race and white privilege (she was a black woman), and I found myself stunned by how divisive it was. I started to push back against her commentary, and I kept things pretty calm– she was not aware, but many of our common friends (and even some I didn’t know at all) messaged me privately to give me thanks for having the nerve to stand up to what she was saying. Many of them felt alienated by her words. As time went on, I turned up the intensity of my responses while maintaining respect, but she eventually had enough of that and blocked me. Fortunately, I had common friends on the “inside” who continued to send me clips of her wailing, to include her very public and self-congratulatory announcement about deleting me from her friends list “because I was a racist”.
This is why I continued to talk and write about race. To this woman, my protests to her condescending posts were racist by default. No amount of good will, compassion, or empathy in my words could have saved me from that judgment. From the onset of our discussions, and there were many, I was nothing but a racist. Her view of what racism is was simple: there are white people, they have privilege, and they are often racist because of this. She wasn’t nearly ignorant enough to claim that all white people were racist, but she made it clear that if you were white and disagreed with her cookie-cutter arguments then you most certainly were.
In her mind, she probably thought that I talked about race as a means of exonerating racist white people, or to make the argument that racism wasn’t “that bad anymore”. She echoed this common opinion of the progressive left, and many more have come after her, and I take offense to it. While their formula for what makes something racist is simple, the arguments I make about race are anything but. I look at these simple perspectives on race with great scorn- not because I get personally offended by someone writing me off as a bigoted, privileged white male but because I think about how such simplicity undermines the many wonderful service members I served with, of all colors, and how it spits upon their merits as individuals.
Progressives love to allude to supposed nuances of the race debate, but this is a smokescreen. If Democrats ever truly took the time to discuss the nuances of American racism, they would be spending most of that time explaining how their party thrived by practicing it. When I argue that race isn’t even the biggest contributing factor to racism’s existence, people look at me as if I have three heads. Some activists and activist groups make reference to racism being institutionalized- and I would entirely agree that it is- but without hesitation they jump right back to the script: racism is about skin color, and how certain skin colors get mistreated more often than others. More open minds might consider such a position as being somewhat racist in its own right, but alas, progressives don’t have much experience with open-mindedness.
I could stomach the incessant labels of “bigot”, or “privileged, white, cis-gendered male” all day long, but I hope at the very least that my persistence in pushing my message leads people to the understanding that I care. Perhaps they would even consider that I most definitely do believe in something like white privilege, though I see it from a much different angle. While some like my old NCOIC (non-commissioned officer in charge) might think I am incapable of anything but a simple and uneducated perspective on race, perhaps others- even if they ultimately disagree- will consider that my arguments are motivated by perspectives that transcend black and white:
I labeled this post an “introduction” because it is one. I consider the discussion on race an important one, perhaps even the most important, and I believe it deserves a lot more than a single post or conversation. The image above represents but a few of the ways in which I will be discussing the subject of racism in America through this medium here on The Beltway Times. In the interest of clarity, I kept that image simple; I could have added many more bubbles. If you could consider that the graphic represents only a fraction of my research and opinion on the matter, I hope that at the very least you might come to understand that I, and many other white people, are intensely interested in having this discussion with you. With President-Elect Trump supporters and appointees being labeled bigots and racists with increased frequency, I thought it would be a great time to begin elevating the race debate.
Keep an eye out for Part I of this series, where I will kick things off with what Democrats have had a blast covering up for the last century: the history behind American race issues, and how Democrats were responsible for nearly all of them.