Men build too many walls and not enough bridges.
Hating people because of their color is wrong. And it doesn’t matter which color does the hating. It’s just plain wrong. In this country American means white. Everybody else has to hyphenate. No human race is superior; no religious faith is inferior. All collective judgments are wrong. Only racists make them. Achievement has no color. We’ve got to face the fact that some people say you fight fire best with fire, but we say you put fire out best with water. We say you don’t fight racism with racism. We’re gonna fight racism with solidarity. The white man’s happiness cannot be purchased by the black man’s misery. Whoever debases others is debasing himself or in the case of Ms Monro herself.
Never judge someone’s character based on the words of another. Instead, study the motives behind the words of the person casting the bad judgment. Racism does not have a good track record. It’s been tried out for a long time and you’d think by now we’d want to put an end to it instead of putting it under new management. Ignorance and prejudice are the handmaidens of propaganda. Our mission, therefore, is to confront ignorance with knowledge, bigotry with tolerance, and isolation with the outstretched hand of generosity. Racism can, will, and must be defeated. Most middle-class whites have no idea what it feels like to be subjected to police who are routinely suspicious, rude, belligerent, and brutal.
That’s just how weak white trash Ms. Monro type folks will do you. It wasn’t merely the cruelty involved; I was learning that black people could be mean and then some. It was a particular brand of arrogance, an obtuseness in otherwise sane people that brought forth our bitter laughter. It was as if whites didn’t know they were being cruel in the first place. Or at least thought you deserved of their scorn.
People who insist on dividing the world into ‘Us’ and ‘Them’ never contemplate that they may be someone else’s ‘Them’. You can’t have capitalism without racism. I always looked upon the acts of racist exclusion, or insult, as pitiable, for the other person. I never absorbed that. I always thought that there was something deficient about such people. To cheapen the lives of any group of men, cheapens the lives of all men, even our own. This is a law of human psychology, or human nature. And it will not be repealed by our wishes, nor will it be merciful to our blindness. Three hundred years of humiliation, abuse and deprivation cannot be expected to find voice in a whisper.
To give preference to the life of a being simply because that being is a member of our species would put us in the same position as racists who give preference to those who are members of their race. When you’re sharing a foxhole with another man, you don’t worry about what color he is, just whether or not he will protect your back. Every voice raised against racism chips away at its power. We can’t afford to stay silent. It’s no disgrace to be black, but it’s often very inconvenient. Every actual democracy rests on the principle that not only are equals equal but unequals will not be treated equally. Democracy requires, therefore, first homogeneity and second if the need arises elimination or eradication of heterogeneity. I guess it all depends on whom you ask and when you ask. Race, I’ve learned, is in the eye of the beholder. The world does not need white people to civilize others. The real White People’s Burden is to civilize themselves.
There is no reason for you to try to become like white people and there is no basis whatever for their impertinent assumption that they must accept you. The terrible thing, old buddy, is that you must accept them. And I mean that very seriously. You must accept them and accept them with love. For these innocent people have no other hope. They are, in effect, still trapped in a history which they do not understand; and until they understand it, they cannot be released from it. They have had to believe for many years, and for innumerable reasons, that black men are inferior to white men. Many of them, indeed, know better, but, as you will discover, people find it very difficult to act on what they know. I was so raw from repeated exposure to cruelty that now even the most minor abrasions left a mark. Becoming conscious of racism does not mean you are a racist.
A vision of cultural homogeneity that seeks to deflect attention away from or even excuse the oppressive, dehumanizing impact of white supremacy on the lives of black people by suggesting black people are racist too indicates that the culture remains ignorant of what racism really is and how it works. It shows that people are in denial. Why is it so difficult for many white folks to understand that racism is oppressive not because white folks have prejudicial feelings about blacks they could have such feelings and leave us alone but because it is a system that promotes domination and subjugation? Excessive praise arises from the same bigotry matrix as excessive criticism.
There appears to be a vast amount of confusion on this point, but I do not know many of us so called Negroes who are eager to be “accepted” by white people, still less to be loved by them; they, the blacks, simply don’t wish to be beaten over the head by the whites every instant of our brief passage on this planet. White people in this country will have quite enough to do in learning how to accept and love themselves and each other, and when they have achieved this which will not be tomorrow and will not be today and may very well be never the so called Negro problem will no longer exist, for it will no longer be needed. Since men are not equals in white supremacist, capitalist, patriarchal class structure, which men do women want to be equal to? Imagine Chicago seenless.
It is not what you can do for your country, but what you can do for all of mankind.