middle brow | citizen how \ 8 june 18 /

imagine your whole life is like applying for a building permit. 

i met an impressive dude at the hyde park brew fest last weekend. anyway, we talked briefly about the sterling brown incident. you know the one? oh, you don't? have you had the luxury of tuning out of all the racist power plays by policemen and women against black men and women? yeah. me too. i've had that luxury. and i took it. and i tuned out for the past 6-12 months. and when i heard the sterling brown video was pretty egregious, i told myself i would watch it. but i let it go for three weeks. and then couldn't put it off for any longer.

and yeah. he parked all shitty. i mean, a car across three spots in a walgreens parking lot. definitely a bull shit move that shows a lack of respect for others. but... have you ever double parked? have you ever parked across a parking stripe such that your car took two spots? have you ever just been an asshole on the road, unintentionally? or even, you know, have you ever been an asshole, period?

and did you get tased for it? did you even get approached for it? or did some other white sometimes-asshole just sorta look at your side-eyed for it? was that all what punishment you got?

i said to this new guy i met: that fucking video was infuriating. and he said: it shouldn't have been. and i was confused for a second, but then realized: oh wow. yeah. if that was infuriating, then i should be infuriated every single f'ing day. every minute of every day. as that shit happens again and again and again all over the country. and i'm clearly not infuriated all the time. i'm pretty happy! generally speaking! except when i'm driving! i might have a little anger problem there!

so basic logic sorta cut me down to size. and i got to thinking...

way back when... like, in late colonial times. there was a certain progressive position. i think it went like: "black people shouldn't be slaves... but, of course, no no no, yeah, i mean, you're right, they're inferior. i'm just saying, they shouldn't be slaves. i mean... i'm juuuuust saaaaayyiiiinngg. they shouldn't be slaves. i'm not saying it has to end tomorrow. you know. over time. is all. but then, like, they can have their own counties. or even just subdivisions if counties are too much. cuz they're definitely inferior. they just shoudn't be slaves is all. right guys?" this was the fair, ethical progressive saying this. the crazy liberal

and then what was next? after slavery was abolished. it was almost definitely: "no look. i mean, these conditions aren't right. we don't have to mix the races or anything. because god clearly didn't ordain that. and, you know, god is the racecar in whom we trust. and so we want to keep each race pure. or, at least, our race pure. we're all white here, right guys? wright? right? oh wait. henry you're cool, right? i mean, you're not like other black people. you're cool. and we're cool. and you agree, right? we want to improve the conditions of your people! we don't think you should be using the same water fountains as us. but, would you even want to do that? we've got terribly boring breath. and we pull up our pants way too high on our waists. i wouldn't wanna be seen near me. i know that much. so you go your way, i go mine. and we're happy, right?"

and that was a nice and righteous progressive liberal.

THAT WAS A LIBERAL. she probably lived in cambridge or madison or gary. or buffalo. or NEW buffalo.

so what's a progressive like now, w/r/t racism? probably like me, i guess. probably super infuriated by the sterling brown tape. but not so infuriated every minute of every day because we don't such tapes with such frequency. 

anyway i guess this is all to say: even the most progressive among us are likely filled with legacy racism. or, even if not, we definitely benefit from institutional racism. and we don't even know it. and meanwhile we do nothing about disfavored groups. we just keep shopping for expensive, breathable athletic socks online.

so, what? what is this: stop running from your racism. accept it. confront it. work through it. your racism might not be intentional or top of mind or malicious, but if you're white like we are, it's definitely there!!!! at the very least in the fact that you benefit massively from institutional racism. your streets have way fewer potholes. crimes against you get solved. education for you is more than just a free meal everyday. ... if you accept that this ugly thing is in you, you can work it out. if you don't, you'll end up totally fucking blowing it and saying/thinking something super trumpian like "the blacks love me". 

no they don't. 

but they might if you were honest'r with yourself.