Kilroy Was Here
December 21, 2002
Why Whites Hate Blacks
On NPR last night, I caught a snippet of a race round table that was very good. You can catch them here:
While I haven't had a chance to listen to at length, I remember being quite touched when a young black man stated that he could understand slavery from an economic perspective, and he could get past that. However he couldn't understand why whites hated blacks so much. "Why did whites lynch us?" the young man stated in near tears. "Why did they mutilate our bodies?"
I think I can provide an answer to that young man that I've experienced in my life. My family has a saying: "You always hate those you've wronged."
It's born from a belief that everyone wants to maintain a positive view of their selves. So when a person or group wrongs another unfairly, they are forced into a state of cognitave dissonance. Either the offending group is unethical and wrong, or somehow the wronged party deserves this poor behavior. Whenever the wronged party cries out for justice or fairness, the offending party is forced into a painful self-examination. So, rather than go through that self-examination, the offending party gets angrier and angrier and focuses more and more on why the wronged party deserves what happened.
For most of this country's history, whites as a group have wronged blacks. I won't go into the litany of offenses that whites have performed on blacks not only on an one-to-one individual basis, but, probably even worse, in the construction and enforcement of our political and economic institutions.
Though America has made progress in the last 35 years, we still have a system that puts blacks and other minorities at a fairly large disadvantage. Many whites continue to wrong blacks by believing that America should not do anything to resolve this disadvantage.
As a result, whites are forced into believing that blacks deserve this inequality. They, as a group, do not take personal responsibility. They, as a group, are predisposed to crime. etc. etc.
And whenever blacks cry out against this injustice, rather than examine how whites continue to participate in this unequal system and how we can change it for the better, whites continue to hate.
Kilroy as Freud
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