NEW YORK — Last week, I found myself at the emergency room of my local hospital. While being admitted, I witnessed a conversation between a young lady and a doctor. He was telling her that her elderly father was in bad shape and probably was not going to come out of his coma. The lady responded with “do not necessitate” instructions. “Let him go peacefully,” – she said. “He doesn’t want to suffer. He wants to be with my mom.”
The scene was so touching it almost made me cry. I was almost ashamed to find myself noticing the lady was black and the doctor was white. I wouldn’t even think of it – if it wasn’t for the everyday media noise reminding us that “everything is about race.” This certainly was not. The doctor would treat this lady with no more compassion if she was white; the lady would express no more trust in him if he was black. If there was “racial tension” between these two people, I was completely missing it.
I’ve lived in this country for 30 years, and every time I see people of different races interact, “the racial tension” we hear so much about today is completely missing. I see black waiters serving white customers. I see white department store workers attending to black shoppers. I see neighbors of different races greeting one another while taking a walk. I see police officers of all races being respectful and protective of everyone they approach. I’ve never thought about the problem of “systemic racism,” but ever since the arsonists of Black Lives Matter “sparked” the “national conversation,” I am desperately trying to find the problem that I may have overlooked.
After paying attention to every inter-racial interaction, I still don’t see it. But of course, the reason I don’t see it is because I am white! It’s obvious. Only black people are affected by racism. Fair enough. But if racism is as “systemic” as we are led to believe, wouldn’t a white person at least see it happen? If the discrimination is so profound it leads to blacks disproportionally dying of every possible disease, wouldn’t at least some of the discrimination lie on the surface? Wouldn’t I see one “mistreatment” of a black student in the college I attended, or at the school my children attended, by a teacher or another student? Wouldn’t I see one black customer being harassed at a store or a restaurant? Wouldn’t I see one black patient being put to the end of the line in a hospital or a pharmacy? The problem is “systemic,” and there is not one occurrence that I witnessed?
They tell me I should ask my black friends – then I’d know! Ok, I don’t have close friends that are black -so I can’t even use “I have a black friend” defense Don Lemon hates so much. But if most white people are evil racists, wouldn’t there be a few among my white friends? Wouldn’t I hear them disparage black people for no reason? Wouldn’t I hear them badmouth their black coworkers? Wouldn’t they be making racist jokes at our social gatherings, or bragging about how many black people they screwed over? If all white people are so willfully and unabashedly racist, how come all my white friends are afraid to show it, even amongst themselves?
But I don’t have any racist friends. Chances are, neither do you. Just as I, you keep wondering where this “systemic racism” is hiding that everyone is talking about. Is there a particular neighborhood where all those “white supremacists” hang out? Are there speakeasies for “white supremacists” where you need a password to enter? Is there a “racist happy hour” where they “talk about leaving and taking their black people with them?”
To spare you the effort of scouring the Internet for “white supremacist” groups, the media tells you that white supremacy is not always easy to spot. It’s devious and good at hiding. You won’t find it in broad daylight. White supremacy lurks behind the surface, invisible to the naked eye. It’s embedded in the “behaviors.” It’s masquerading as “a well-meaning compliment.” It’s written between the lines of children’s nursery rhymes. It’s subtly fed to your preschooler by his favorite puppet show. Just like a dangerous malady, it can only be detected by “trained professionals.” And so, your employer brings “highly qualified experts” to teach you how to spot “systemic racism” in places you’d never bother to look.
Racism is like a disease that lurks in your body without causing any perceptible symptoms. It’s ingrained in your subconscious. It’s “implicit.” Your children are born carrying it within them. You must accept it without question, and if you don’t – that just is just another manifestation of the disease. It’s like an addiction: to confront it, you must first must admit that you have it.
And so, you start soul searching. You start looking for hidden “white supremacy” clues. You earnestly go through numerous work email threads. You scour your friends’ social media posts. You take a closer look at your children’s literature to see if you can spot “a negative depiction” or “a harmful stereotype.” Perhaps, you hire a “race consultant” with a trained eye. And sure enough, you finally come up with something – an “offensive” joke, or an “Insensitive” meme, or an unfortunate turn of phrase – something that you can report on social media, proudly joining the ranks of those “fighting for social justice.” You are no longer sitting on the sidelines! You have joined the fight.
And so, more and more of “systemic racism” is brought to the “national conversation.” It’s no longer just about the confederates. The founding fathers owned slaves too – so off with their heads! It’s not just history that promotes white supremacy – it’s also math. It’s no longer enough to treat all people with respect and dignity regardless of skin color. Now, you must actively look for signs of “racism” around you, and make a conscious effort to convince black people they can’t make it on their own without your help.
“The hidden racism” is a myth propagated by race hustlers on the gullible white liberals who feel guilty about their success, but can’t spare the time or money to help a local inner city school or a minority operated business. “Systemic” discrimination is in plain sight – for everybody to see. The government won’t tell you about it – but your eyes will. Ask Jewish people who grew up in the Soviet Union (that would be me). Ask Jews living in radical Muslim countries (I know some). Ask Uyghurs in China. Ask gay people in Iran. Ask journalists in Putin’s Russia. They don’t hire “consultants” or go to their children’s library to find “negative depictions” – or they’d be laughed at. They don’t have an army of thugs harassing businesses to “defend their rights” – or they’d be dead. They can’t even come out and complain – because if they did, they may never be found again. As for the rest of the society – they know there is a “systemic” problem, even if they are not the victims of it. In a “systemically oppressive” society, you are either a victim, or you are a participant. And you know it. If the only thing that makes you aware of the problem is Joy Reid’s daily rant, the only expression of “systemic racism” in your country is that Joy Reid still has a job.
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