The Privilege and The Problem of Not Seeing Race

I just posted the Transcript to the CNN / Anderson Cooper Interview with Juror B37 from the George Zimmerman Murder case. I touched briefly on the topic of race in my intro to the transcript, but I didn’t elaborate because I felt that the topic of race deserved it’s own post.

I had mentioned previously that a big thing that stood out for me in the interview is that the juror said, “I think all of us thought that race did not play a role.”

And many of us are wondering but how could that be? How can so many people in our country feel that this case points out that sad fact that young black men can not wander down the street without purpose, without being profiled and called “suspicious” and then someone such as law enforcement, neighborhood watch, etc pluck them out of their location based on looks alone, follow them, chase them down and shoot them dead and be completely justified in doing so? The fact that black people straight up- don’t get to stand their ground. Trayvon never got the privilege of standing his ground.

In the wake of the not-guilty verdict we are seeing marches and demonstrations and protests pop us all over the country to grieve for Trayvon and to express anger with the state of continued racial tensions that exist today, many feel which are displayed front and center in this particular case.

I’ve seen handfuls of people say that this verdict is pay-back for O.J. God that’s so ignorant on so many levels- I just can’t..

I also can’t even begin to call Juror B37 deliberately racist. I don’t know enough about her to make that sort of determination, but I do want to point out an issue with (white) people not seeing race. The not seeing thing is something that happens all the time and that’s where a big problem lies. WE JUST DON”T SEE THE ISSUE. We are blind to it. I don’t know what to call it, but it’s more like blind racism, if you will, than none at all.

We failed to see why race mattered when Beyoncé sang at the Super bowl, we failed to see why it was such a big deal that Kerry Washington is the first African-American actress to lead an American network drama series since 1974. We failed to See those things as big deals because we aren’t looking for them and frankly since we aren’t looking for it, we don’t even SEE the absence of them. Most white people probably didn’t even realize that we just don’t see black women in leading roles.

BUT when you don’t see people like you, you notice it. When you see people like you getting stopped, frisked, chased down, you notice it.

Do you understand where I’m going with this? I often hear people say that the people who call racism on issues are just looking for it.. well, no. not exactly. Like I mentioned above, when you see trends of injustice or the absence of people like you- you don’t have to be looking for it- it is displayed on a platter in front of you day in and day out. But often when you aren’t looking, don’t want to look or just don’t care- maybe even don’t realize you should care- you don’t see it.

You don’t see it.

Just like Juror B37 didn’t see it.

Something that always bothers me is when people say: “I don’t see color..” (then proceed to say without fail) “I don’t care if they’re black, white, purple or green, I love all people.”

Sorry folks. We don’t have purple or green people- that’s just your way of skirting the fact that we have a big problem with Black Vs. White in this society. And of course you see their color- or at least you should. Now what you see and how you feel and how you treat them- there’s where you should mind your p’s & q’s. People of all races and nationalities are different. But let’s celebrate and value those differences instead of discriminate and profile.

Look. Acknowledge. See. See that there are not many black politicians, actresses news anchors, talk & TV show hosts and singers in mainstream positions of power.

Look. Acknowledge. See. See that so many black people are profiled, discriminated against and killed without cause and without consequence.

Look. Acknowledge. See. See that you in your life have power and privilege where others do not.

Look. Acknowledge. See. See that a big part of white privilege is going about your entire life and not noticing that race is an issue.

I saw this image floating around today.. it's Martin Luther King Jr. depicted in a hoodie. Powerful.

I saw this image floating around today.. it’s Martin Luther King Jr. depicted in a hoodie. Powerful.

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9 responses to “The Privilege and The Problem of Not Seeing Race

  1. Pingback: Juror B37 Speaks Out On Anderson Cooper (Transcript) | From Playgrounds To Politics

  2. I could not agree more strongly. So well put.

  3. Exactly. Well said. Thank you.

  4. I live in a community that is predominantly white while growing up in a mixed community so I see the racial issues and beliefs that many hide from. Several years ago our community faced a couple of situations which shocked them I kept hearing “I never thought this could happen here”, “but we moved here because it was safer”, what they were saying was they moved to the suburbs to a wealthier area, with people just like them, and the worst part to me was they honestly believed an all white neighborhood equaled security. These kinds of comments and beliefs amaze me, there is good or bad to be found everywhere.

    I don’t follow the Olympics but I did hear the controversy after. It wasn’t about drugs or bad judging instead for days all I heard about was why a competitor hadn’t done their hair for a competition. The non stop news was over a black woman who had her hair pulled back in a ponytail. How many white women pull their hair back when competing in a sport? If she had done up her hair and list would the news have blamed it on her hair getting in the way? Its time to stop all of this.

  5. s.curry from Canada

    I began to reply, then realized I had enough to fill several pages. I will simply say, that your observations were very well thought out and written. They certainly made me sit up and think.
    I’m not sure what to make of the Trayvon/Zimmerman ordeal, but I do feel a deep sadness.
    (Found you via twitter.)

  6. Pingback: Intersection Of Hard News and Cold Hard Cash | From Playgrounds To Politics

  7. Pingback: Parenting Through Privilege: Resources and Education | Natural Parents Network

  8. Pingback: Happy Anniversary To Me! | From Playgrounds To Politics

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