My post today has nothing to do with Second Life, except that everything in the article is even more strongly re-enforced in SL’s absurdly over-white presence than in ‘real life’.
True for brown as well as black – we think in terms of we because we are not allowed to think in terms of ‘I’.
Black people think in terms of we because we live in a society where the social and political structures interact with us as Black people.
White people do not think in terms of we. White people have the privilege to interact with the social and political structures of our society as individuals. You are “you,” I am “one of them.”
[whites are] unable to differentiate [their] participation within a racist system (upwardly mobile, not racially profiled, able to move to White suburbs, etc.) from an accusation that [they], individually, [are] a racist. Without being able to make that differentiation, White people in general decide to vigorously defend their own personal non-racism, or point out that it doesn’t exist because they don’t see it.
. . .
Living every single day with institutionalized racism and then having to argue its very existence, is tiring, and saddening, and angering. Yet if we express any emotion while talking about it, we’re tone policed, told we’re being angry. In fact, a key element in any racial argument in America is the Angry Black person, and racial discussions shut down when that person speaks. The Angry Black person invalidates any arguments about racism because they are “just being overly sensitive,” or “too emotional,” or- playing the race card. Or even worse, we’re told that we are being racist (Does any intelligent person actually believe a systematically oppressed demographic has the ability to oppress those in power?)
But here is the irony, here’s the thing that all the angry Black people know, and no calmly debating White people want to admit: The entire discussion of race in America centers around the protection of White feelings.
Ask any Black person and they’ll tell you the same thing. The reality of thousands of innocent people raped, shot, imprisoned, and systematically disenfranchised are less important than the suggestion that a single White person might be complicit in a racist system.
This is the country we live in. Millions of Black lives are valued less than a single White person’s hurt feelings.
As a Mulato with an African avatar, I’ve seen this dynamic all my life, and recreated inside of SL – where I get ‘grouped’ one way if I note that I am Mulato, and yet another if people just see the black avatar; but neither as an individual. And as the article notes, it is impossible to talk about race with whites because they are conditioned into denial.