Tuesday, January 15, 2008

An Open Letter to Anyone Who Wants to Listen

Yesterday, I sought out clarity and understanding of an issue.

Today, I want to pass along what my venture has taught me and what I pledge to do from this day forward as a result.

In hoping to have a discussion, I was sent a link to Google images of horrible atrocities.

In sending a private email asking for insight and opinions, I was told that is what us white folks always want to do.

In asking to help educate and open minds, I was told that educating and opening minds wasn't part of the deal.

Racism and bigotry are issues that have always struck a chord with me. That's what happens when you're the white kid who grew up loving hip hop, hung out in a melting pot of cultures and ethnicities and was nicknamed "United Nations" by his old man for being so accepting of everyone, no matter the skin tone.

I do not tolerate either and do not understand those who do. We no longer live in a time where "that's the way they were raised" can be used as an excuse, not that it should have been in the first place.

I also do not understand being bound to the past beyond the point of moving forward. The sins of the father do not always fall to the son and the ills of the father work the same way. At some point, history and the past must simply be that; remember it, swear to never repeat it and work towards the future. The future is what we can control and change and influence. That should be our focus.

Yesterday, part of one of the comments nearly brought me to tears:

If you've had thousands of your people killed and burned while White offspring laugh and smile at the feet of their murderous fathers, then you would totally understand. Slave ships traveled to and fro for 200 years. Two thirds of Africans died on each trip. Do the math.These are the images burned in our memories from birth and where the majority of our distrust for Whites is grounded.

That shit is sick! It's fucking disgusting and an entire race should be ashamed that their grandfathers, brothers, uncles, neighbors, priests and presidents basically authenticated DEATH with no action!

I am not ashamed of who I am, nor do I feel I should be. Slavery and the atrocities committed during those times were not committed by each and every white person. I am as sickened by the pictures linked to me in the comment as anyone with any moral fiber should be, but I am not responsible for those sins. Please don't judge me as such. Doing so is as mistake and a missed opportunity.

I saw yesterday as an opportunity, to open a line of discussion on a topic that is of the utmost importance in our world. Instead of discussing the random, unimportant topics that are usually featured here, I wanted to do something I think is important - educate.

It's not my job or any other Black person to educate Whites on what is right and wrong to say.

Get a fucking book and educate yourselves instead of focusing on yourselves and yourselves only.

No one else in this country does this. We know more about Whites than they know about themselves because we are forced to know.

My question is this: Why not you? Or me? Or anyone?

There isn't any rule that says you can't help someone grow and become a better person. This isn't about black or white, it is about educating, understanding, learning, growing and becoming a better world.

For me, the future is what is most important. It is the world in which my children will live and grown and learn. I cannot change the things that have happened before my time, but I can educate myself, my children and anyone else who wants to listen to where we have been, where we are and where we can go.

Education and communication are the answer.

I refuse to stand in the past and not be a part of building a better future, for everyone.

My world is colour blind.

I only hope that yours is too.


NA said...

I read all the posts last night. I read them and then I sat with my cursor in the comment box. I sat there for a very long time. Spence, you know that I am no writer and do not plan on being one but when I feel strongly on a subject you can be assured that my name will be in the comments box.
Last night I was speechless and I still am this morning.
Perhaps later the cursor will make it to the comment box again.

E. Spencer Kyte said...

That is how I felt yesterday too Newt and that is why I waited and wrote what I did today.

I look forward to your thoughts.

Mizzo said...

"Kelly Tilghman used the word lynch on The Golf Channel. How many rappers use the N word throughout their rhymes, reaching a much larger audience than The Golf Channel could ever hope to reach? And don't feed me this, "It's okay because they're black and it's nigg-a, not nigg-er," bullshit either. If lynch is a word that strikes a chord, how the fuck is the N word acceptable? How come Rev. Al Sharpton isn't calling for a stop to the recording of hip hop tracks using that word? Or what if a black commentator said it or something of similar nature in reference to a white athlete? Then what?

I guess, my basic question is this: why is one thing seen as horribly wrong and the other is acceptable?

Black comedians get on stage and do "The White Guy Voice" without anyone batting an eye. Russell Peters' entire routine is predicated on racial stereotypes, but because he's a minority himself it's okay? Or are both of these acceptable because they are done in good spirits and jokingly?"

Spencer one has nothing to do with the other. Every race exercises self degradation. I'm not saying it's right.

Spencer, from 1998 to 2001 I was a partner in a clothing line called pointefive. We sold clothing with messages of anti racism. On June 27th 2001 my house was vandalized and I was attacked by two white supremacists swinging 2X4s. They didn't get me flush but grazed my forehead enough for it to bleed all over the place. Cops were called and I didn't see what was sprayed on my house until they shined the light on my crib. Some of the most disgusting and vile bs I personally have ever seen was all over my house. The entire neighborhood knew. This happened at approximately 12 midnight. The police didn't leave until around 3 I guess. Didn't get to bed till 5 after some friends decided to leave. At seven my phone was ringing off the hook from neocon radio stations calling me Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. WTF! There was all kinds of scrutiny directed my way and most of it wasn't nice. It was covered by all the local media but they each put their spin on the story. I don't hate whites because of it. Life moves on, but when I see someone laughing about DEATH then I have a problem and it's my duty to speak up and make sure people understand this shit ain't cool. It's no laughing matter and it goes both ways. See you seem to look at things superficially because you aren't racially or emotionally attacked. I honestly don't appreciate my comments posted. By sending you the link to the lynchings I merely was giving you my vantage point of why blacks are in an uproar. I would love it this country was devoid of racism, but it ain't the case is it and until white folk understand why we internally burn when we are reminded of our deadly past, then these type of conversations will continue to happen.

Mizzo said...

See you seem to look at things superficially because you aren't racially or emotionally attacked.

That should read attached.

Mizzo said...

I guess everyone's world is color blind...


E. Spencer Kyte said...

Mizzo -

I won't for a minute try to pretend I know what it is like to be in your shoes or have suffered what you directly suffered at the hands of ignorant people.

I think we - white folks - have less of a connection and history with the word lynch and that makes us less affected by it and more prone to not understanding the reaction of the black population and that is unfair.

That is sort of what I was hoping to get at, a discussion about those types of things, but I guess I approached it in the wrong way. My bad.

I read the post at TSF and left a comment. I think this cover is the most heinous part of the whole situation to date.

Mizzo said...

See Spencer, that is an excuse to me. When Blacks kill Whites, you don't hear Blacks referencing some disconnect. We know your pain because we live it.

As far as this disconnection, who the hell was lynching Blacks? It sure as hell wasn't Black folk, so I'm confused...mightily confused. As far as the pictures of the lynchings, maybe every single White person has to be forced to see the imagery for White America to be affected by Black death so we all can move on. To look at things on such a deep level is the only way for folks to feel our pain.

E. Spencer Kyte said...

Mizzo -

What I am saying is that there isn't the violent history or imagery for whites with that word. It's like the way the word rape gets tossed around and many don't even bat an eye. They have never been raped, know someone who has been raped and have never felt that pain, so they don't have the connection to that word.

Ignorant, racist white bastards who should have burned in hell were lynching blacks, but I wasn't one of them. That is all I am saying. Lumping all of us white folks into one collective isn't right. I can't hold all black people responsible or accountable for the actions of one group can I? No. You might see that as an unfair comparison, but I don't.

Mizzo said...

Whites do lump us together all the time Spencer whether you agree with it or not. Like in the comment to mark on TSF, speak the hell up to the national high heavens when someone of your race says something stupid.

Why can't someone in your race do that? I don't get it.

E. Spencer Kyte said...

I don't know either Miz, but continuing to hold the whole accountable as one for the few isn't a solution to anything.

Mizzo said...

Read my words in my posts on TSF. I never say all Whites. I always use the word some or few. Please don't marginalize me because it's an unfair characterization.