Re: Is white racism nec. all bad?

Gary Strand (
26 Apr 1995 23:22:15 GMT

rh> Robert Hartman
gs> Gary Strand

gs> Those guys that it seems blew up the OKC federal building are white, yet I
feel no connection with them at all, only anger, revulsion, and a desire
for terrible revenge. I certainly don't call them "brother".

rh> That'be because you don't have a sense of having shared oppression with

Ever consider that they're simply stupid and evil, and just wanted to kill
people for some bizarre and disgusting purpose?

Was Jeffrey Dahmer oppressed? Wayne Williams? Ted Bundy? Charles Manson?

rh> In fact, whenever the issue of tangible oppression comes up you seem to
veer away from the topic to something else, toward some other "bad guy."
Or is it just me who notices that?

Because, to me, "oppression" is too-often used for "things didn't turn out
the way I wanted". Face it, life is a bitch and a crap shoot sometimes. "If
you can't always get what you wa-ant, you musta be-en oppres-sed", right?
Sorry, but that kind of self-pity and refusal to realize that life ain't
always fair just doesn't carry well with me.

rh> Can you identify, even for an instant, with how it must feel to have black
skin in America and all the bullshit that buys you? Just for an instant?

I'll ask my boss. He's black. I'll ask if he'd prefer being white and if
being black is such a horrible burden.

rh> [W]hen you start to look at the oppression other people experience and
compare it with your own--which as a fellow white man I would never deny
--it pales in comparison.

So what? Americans have no right to complain in comparison to most of the
people on this planet.

You've already fallen into the "Well, *my* hurt is worse that *your* hurt"
contest-with-no-purpose. Maybe I'm in a wheelchair. Maybe I'm gay. Maybe
I'm deaf, or was burned in an accident and am now disfigured. Maybe I've
got a terminal disease.

Who gets to climb to the top of the "Poor Me Pyramid"? Or do we step back
and say "Hey, everyone gets shat upon at one time or another."?

rh> We aren't going to eliminate the oppression white men face by protecting
white men at the expense of others. We can only eliminate oppression by
eliminating it for those who are the most sorely oppressed.

Fine. Don't be oppressive to others. That's how I am - but I'm not such a
jerk that I think *my* personal ethics ought to be *everyone's* ethics. I
am a very tolerant fellow - but I do bristle when others act as if I don't
follow their precepts, or dig their stance, or follow their rules, I'm
some Evil Man. Screw those who try to run my life.

rh> And if you don't think that people with black skin are oppressed in Amer-
ica, that's only because you haven't listned to any of them with an open

Blacks are oppressed to differing degrees and in different ways, from place
to place. Nor are they unique in being oppressed.

I avoid being oppressed because of my skin color. I still get "oppressed" (I
really dislike that word) for a billion other reasons.

rh> I think it's fine that you have compassion for people like yourself. But
you might also consider what it might mean to have compassion for people
who are different than yourself.

For some reason, some people think that "compassion" == "never criticize",
or "compassion == treat others as victims".

Am I supposed to come up to blacks, women, homosexuals, veterans, disabled
people, &c, and say "You poor dears - it's a wonder you can get through
the day with the oppression you endure".

rh> I hate what the Oklahoma City bombers did, but I understand it.

Yeah. They're murderous assholes.

rh> But they came to hold those beliefs because they needed to have a "bad
guy" out there on whom to blame the pain in their lives--instead of look-
ing inside of themselves to find out where it resides, how it got there,
and how to get free of it.

Uh-hunh. Original Sin, all over again.

rh> Gary, whenever _you_ make other people into bad guys, _you_ add to the
risk of another incident like that.


rh> You may not see this connection, but that doesn't mean it isn't there.

And just because you can't smell it, doesn't mean it isn't there.

rh> This isn't to say we shouldn't administer justice to those who are respon-
sible for the bombing. We have to. But they should be dealt with on the
basis of their actions, not demonized as less than human.

Humans who murder children and innocent people are human only in a biolog-
ical sense.

rh> If they are executed, it will be a grim-but-necessary event, not a cause
for rejoicing.

Baloney. I'll drink a toast to Justice when those responsible die.

rh> I think that this illustrates the difference between hating a man who goes
wrong, and understanding how it could happen.

Yeah, I understand you now.

Gary Strand WWW: PO Box 3000 Boulder CO 80307-3000 (303) 497-1336
Opinions stated here are mine alone and are not those of NCAR, UCAR, or the NSF