Tim Kreider’s perspective on ‘White People’ could be like ‘the’ awakening for America if we civilians in America and our elected politicians could somehow merge in our own minds the thought process that Mr. Kreider experienced during the article that he wrote about ‘white people’ and ‘White People’ with that of Chris Rock’s thought process when he commented that “I love black people but I hate n—-z”; and our politicians could then use that as a foundation to discuss and address America’s persistent racial problems. This would work only if the majority of Americans, along with our politicians, could merge in our own minds the Tim Kreider and Chris Rock thought processes. It would work even better if all Americans could do this.
While you are busy trying to figure out from that first paragraph what on God’s green earth I am talking about, I will go ahead and try to break things down into more simple, clear and understandable terms: but know that it had to be said initially in the way that it was in that first paragraph because the substance of Mr. Kreider’s and Mr. Rock’s thoughts is what constitutes the very fabric of this article.
If you unraveled the first paragraph; fine. But just in case there are some of you who did not, here is what I hope is a clearer version of it. But in order for you to more easily understand where I am coming from (my perspective), you should (need to) first read the article that Tim Kreider wrote in The Week entitled ‘A letter to my fellow white people.’ Click on the link to read it.
Having said that, here is the, hopefully, clearer version of what was said in paragraph one of this article. Tim Kreider’s way of thinking on ‘white people’ versus ‘White People’ and the pride that he takes in being ‘white’ and being a part of that culture is wonderful and there is nothing wrong with it if all ‘white people’ feel that way. I find what he said in his article to be both gratifying and intriguing at the same time.
I find it gratifying because I would hope that that is how all white people would feel. That is the way that black people feel. We take a lot of pride in our culture and who we are. And we have been working to express that pride and instill it into our children for years. Sometimes I feel that those white people who are among those who advocate a flipside for white people of every holiday or event that recognizes black people are simply frightened and feeling that they are being left behind.
But this is not something that black people and white people need to fight about. It is something that needs to be discussed from both perspectives and amicably resolved. In my opinion there is nothing wrong with white people having events and holidays that honor other white people if that is what they want to do. As a matter of fact they do this already and have been doing it since the founding of our great nation. The thing is that it should not be a point of contention where they do it to counter what black people are doing; whether they are doing it out of fear or anger doesn’t matter. That is why the reasonable people need to have discourse around this and other divisive issues.
What white people might find it hard to understand and accept without experiencing that merging of the thought processes mentioned in paragraph one of this article is that, unlike with the history of white people, this kind of historical and open recognition of those that we as black Americans respect and hold in high esteem has been either very limited or totally missing in history books and conversations in the great halls of academia. It is also limited or missing when it comes to the education of America’s young people who will be future leaders and contributors to academia. In essence, open acknowledgment of the productivity and contributions, other than by way of slavery, that black people have made to America in many aspects continues to be sorely lacking.
I find the comments in Tim Kreider’s article intriguing because I am captivated by how proudly that he talked about the things of white culture and was not afraid to laugh at those things that other cultures might find funny about white people; including one of the things about his people (their dancing) that black people regularly laugh about in our own circles. Yet many of us get angry when white people talk about how we have rhythm: we say that we get angry because of the context in which they talk about it. In some cases this is true. But many times it equates to the same kind of involuntary reflex experienced by those white people who fear that they are being forgotten about and they and the white culture are being left behind.
Tim Kreider’s article caused me to reflect once again on how I would like for people to be able accept other people as ‘just people’ regardless of the color of their skin; people who could then talk about white peoples’ quirky, flailing dance moves and laugh about it. At the same time and under the same circumstances, I would like for people to be able to talk about the rhythm of black people and their smooth moves and laugh about it without the concern that their comments might be misunderstood.
My take is that the way that Tim Kreider was thinking when he wrote his article ‘A letter to my fellow white people’ is the same way that Chris Rock was thinking when he commented that “I love black people but I hate n—-z.” I assume that Mr. Rock’s reference to n—-z equates to Mr. Kreider’s reference to ‘White People’. It might seem to some of you that I am making a real stretch to equate Tim Kreider’s ‘White People’ label to Chris Rock’s n—-z label. But remember, Chris Rock is a Comedian.
My point is that, obviously, all white people are not the same (i.e., Tim Kreider’s ‘white people’ and ‘White People’) and neither are all black people (i.e., Mr. Rock’s black people and n—-z). In other words – within both groups, some are reasonable and some are not reasonable. The reasonable ones will listen to both perspectives, try to learn from the other’s perspective and then be open to discussion and reaching a solution through remedies that they collaborate on and craft. The unreasonable ones will not listen, refuse to see things from any perspective other than their own and refuse to even entertain the thought that a solution exists other than to either eradicate their adversaries or completely reverse the existing circumstances.
I further assume that the unreasonable ones in each group are the ones that Tim Kreider refers to as ‘White People’ and those that Chris Rock refers to as n—-z. Tim Kreider’s article, through implication, made a quick comparison between his ‘White People’ and Chris Rock’s n—-z in order for him to make his point about ‘White People.’ Unreasonable people in both of these groups are going to do what they do; be unreasonable. No matter how hard reasonable people try they may never be able to get unreasonable people to listen to rather than just hear the words of those with a different perspective let alone collaborate with them to craft a solution to problems.
While all that I have said in this article to try to provoke thoughtful discourse among adversaries on America’s divisive issues might amount to no more than wishful thinking on my part that is what will be needed if we are to even begin to effectively address the problem among the races in America. This racial animus is poignant and apparent between black people and white people. Yet while it is less obvious among white people and other races, it permeates the entire melting pot of all races in America.
Eulus Dennis – author, Operation Rubik’s Cube and Living Between The Line