Whenever I see a group of Whites being happy and sociable together, I think to myself, ‘That’s how they want it.’ Specially here in the South, where interracial friendships really aren’t that common. True, you will find Black men with White women, White men with Asian women, and even White men with Black women, but friendships between the various ethnic groups just aren’t an everyday sight. Just because you see coworkers lunching together doesn’t make them friends. I should know. I’ve worked in office settings before, and I never made one single friend. Not once. But who cares?
People like to say that the races are different, but that’s with appearances only. We all want the same things from life: that someone special to love us and be with us the rest of our lives, a family (most of us anyway), financial security, a place to call home whether it’s rented or mortgaged, a car or two, a career that we enjoy, yearly vacations, a beach condo or a mountain chalet, spiritual fellowship (some of us), hobbies, friends…maybe even a pet or three or five. White people prefer to think that we all are different, and I have heard many say that they were raised to believe it.
I’ve personally known Whites who would watch shows like Sanford & Son, admired comedians like Richard Pryor, and listened to the music of Earth, Wind & Fire, The Commodores, Whitney Houston, and Michael Jackson, and watched movies with actors like Denzel Washington and Halle Berry as leads. Yet they still held prejudiced views towards Blacks. Sometimes it helps to be able to pass the ‘brown paper bag test’ as far as Whites are concerned. My skin is quite light, I’m often mistaken for being of mixed parentage, and I think this is one reason a lot of Whites have found me acceptable.
White people don’t have the same experiences that Blacks – and Hispanics – must face every day we go out in public. They don’t have that fear of being pulled over by a cop who might be trigger happy, or ready to wrestle one down to the ground, baton or Mace at the ready. They don’t have the anxiety that others face before a job interview, worrying whether or not they’ll get the position because of a natural hairstyle or their skin color. They don’t carry the stresses we do, or have to agonize as much. They can go wherever they want – with the exception of such areas as inner city ghettos or Compton or housing projects, that is – without the tension of being stared at.
Whites aren’t watched in stores the way minorities – usually Blacks and Hispanics – are. There’s a Mast General Store in my city that got a bad review from a Hispanic female, because one of the clerks eyeballed her as she browsed the items, and then followed her when she picked out two items to buy. I can’t recall if she bought them or not, but she found the incident unsettling. I would have put that stuff back and walked out of there. (I did go to the store before an appointment one day, and no one bothered me. I wound up purchasing 2 pounds of chewy candy, including 12 Tootsie Roll bars!)
I remember venturing inside the Snob Consignment once with my aunt, and the clerks paid us no attention, though I heard a White woman greeted as she entered the shop. We were only looking as the prices were pretty exorbitant, but they didn’t know whether we were affluent or not – a lot of rich people dress far worse than those living in low income apartments and trailer parks – but I just know that they probably felt that Black people couldn’t afford their exclusive items, which were merely castoffs from the well to do of my city; cocktail dresses from DKNY, Ann Klein, and the like, as well as old fashioned baubles, Wedgwood china, silver services, that sort of thing.
There’s no such fear as Driving While White unless you’re in a predominantly White area where meth and smack are a huge problem. Police shows typically target neighborhoods that are 95% Black. This is why Tulsa is not featured on Live PD anymore – people called in to complain about the fact that the show was only in a Black area, and due to this, the mayor refused to allow the producers to film in his city because he didn’t want Tulsa to look bad before a national audience. But we all know Oklahoma is a redneck state anyhow, Live PD’s actions didn’t have to prove that for us. Whites commit violent crime at far higher rates than Blacks, but you wouldn’t believe this by watching The First 48 because most of the murderers featured are brown-skinned people. It’s as if TV producers want to demonize us further than we are already!
To Be Continued…