I was holding off on this discussion because I knew it would bruise a lot of feelings and generate ire in those who would rather just sweep it all under the rug. I know I'm going to piss some people off with this, but fuck it. I've got to get some shit off my chest. I always try to stay tactful and diplomatic on messageboards but others have not been so tactful or diplomatic and this is my fucking blog and I speak my mind here .
There has been a growing movement among Middle Class Straight Caucasian Males to play the victim and whine and complain about being cast as the villain in race relations here in America. It's the complaint that Straight White Males are discriminated against because you can say negative things about them without repercussions and there's an immediate backlash whenever a racial or sexual minority is attacked. There is also the suggestion that programs designed to boost minority opportunity somehow deprive Straight White Males of opportunity by being exclusionary. This was bound to happen. Sooner or later there was bound to be a reactionary backlash to the Equal Rights Movement among even the most liberal of White folks and here it is. They are tired of baring the guilt for the sins of their fore fathers though they are more than willing to benefit from those sins. They are tired of being told that they owe the descendents of slaves any special consideration even though statistics show that opportunities for African Americans are no greater than they were fifty years ago. "How can that be when I see Black athletes and entertainers on TV making millions everyday?" Add that to the statistic of a growing number of minorities at or below the poverty level and a decreasing Black middle class and you'll get my point. Think of where you live and then think about where the Black middle class neighborhood is. In most cities there is none. There is the one black middle class family in the all white neighborhood. True, there has been a rise in Black homeownership but Black owned businesses are almost a thing of the past. I remember when Tupac was asked why he was still angry when he was rich and he replied that he's angry because his brothers and sisters are still poor and he has to live in an all white neighborhood now because if he tried to live in a Black neighborhood they would rob him because they ain't got shit.
When Public Enemy cried, "I have the right to be hostile! My people have been persecuted!" almost twenty years ago, everyone agreed because that was the popular stance of the time. Fashions have now changed. Now it is fashionable to tell Black people to just let go of the past and get over it even when inequality still exists in the workplace, in the political arena, in economics, and even in the entertainment field. Yes, there are hundreds of Black athletes making millions yet how many black coaches are there in pro-football despite the fact that they are pre-dominant in college and high school football? The same goes for Black quarterbacks. How many African American quarterbacks are there in college ball setting records yet how many of them are allowed to remain in that position if and when they are drafted? How many Black owners are there? There are more roles for Black actors these days but name the Black dramatic series on television? There are plenty of comedic roles but no one wants to hear about our problems. No one wants to see us as real people or heroes, only as clowns and buffoons. Remember what happened to "Homicide: Life on The Street" after the Nielson ratings revealed that it was being watched by a predominantly Black audience? The main character, who just happened to be Black, suddenly had a stroke and was replaced by his white partner. When fans reacted negatively to these changes the show was soon cancelled. The same happened to New York Undercover after the Nielson ratings revealed that it was in the top ten of shows watched by Black audiences and not in the top ten among white audiences. The Black and Puerto Rican main characters suddenly acquired White partners. Again, when fans didn't go for it the show was cancelled. Both of these shows were winning their time slots. They were just hitting the wrong demographics, meaning not White folks. So they were first gentrified and then expunged. Living Single wasn't even given a chance. As soon as the ratings came out that show was cancelled. Again, despite the fact that it was one of the top shows in its timeslot. Wrong demographics once again. As if Black people don't buy automobiles, toothpaste, and eat fast food. Yet again, we are just overreacting. We need to get over ourselves.
Ever since the Civil Rights Movement spotlighted inequality in America the Straight White Male has been handed a major guilt trip. He has been demonized in the consciousness of most minority Americans and for a long time even in his own consciousness. I don't know what it's like to walk around with the guilt of being the recipient of privileges acquired from the enslavement of 50 million Africans or the death of 50 million more. I don't know what it's like to walk around with the guilt of being the ancestors of those original slave masters. I don't know what it's like to have the blood of nations of Native Americans on my hands. I don't know what it's like to be thought of as an oppressor even though I personally had not oppressed anyone and neither did any of my family members. I don't know what it's like to have every word out of my mouth scrutinized for possible racist overtones simply because I am a member of the ruling class here in America. I also don't know what it's like to walk into a job interview and not think about the color of my own skin as a possible limitation or to never have those fears justified. I also don't know what it's like to see a police officer cruise by without thinking of the color of my skin as possible probable cause for harassment or to have never had those fears justified. I don't know what it's like to have never walked into a store and had security follow me around because of the color of my skin. I don't know what it's like to have never had taxi cab drivers refuse to pick me up because of the color of my skin and to have never had them blatantly admit it without feeling the least bit of guilt for it. I don't know what it's like to have never been the only representative of my race at a social event, at a job, at a school, in an entire corporation. I don't know what it is like to not have to think about the color of my skin every fucking day, when I'm applying for a loan, when I'm just walking into a bank, when I'm buying a house, when some stupid salesman turns on hip-hop music and blares the stereo as loud as he can in order to try to sell me a car, when I'm approaching anyone who's never met me before and who isn't a minority, when I listen to Caucasian Americans talk about the good old days. I don't know what it's like to listen to some of the largest corporations in America give apologies for slavery and then oppose reparations when their wealth was built off slave labor, to see politicians with blatantly racist views get elected and then reelected, to see programs designed to help minorities cut or abolished, to see bills designed to help minorities vetoed, to hear statistics that say that African Americans are six times more likely to receive the death penalty than White Americans who commit the same crime, and not feel like this country I pay my taxes to every year doesn't give a fuck about me.
So, yeah, I kind of understand the Straight White Male's frustration at constantly being cast as the bad guy but I think that giving voice to those frustrations, not feeling like it's a comparatively miniscule price to pay for all the privileges you have the luxury of taking for granted ( and by privileges I mean rights you enjoy that minorities don't in case there was any confusion) as a result of racial discrimination in America, makes you an asshole.
A gay author and I were chatting on a message board the other night and he remarked that he didn't think there was any prejudice in the Horror community. Several others jumped in to disagree with him on this stating comments made about Maurice Broadus and I behind our backs and how there were still people pissed off about my defense of African American horror anthologies and other comments I'd made in response to the "Poor poor pitiful Straight Middle Class White Male" mentality. See, there was a thread on a message board a few years back in response to an anthology that was coming out of African American Horror Authors. Some well-respected authors got on the thread and started making fun of the anthology and no one stepped in to defend it. No one. Except yours truly of course. I get that many of the other authors were probably intimidated by the caliber of some of the names involved in this thread. I get that many people probably hadn't ever thought about the question of racially specific anthologies and so were undecided on the issue. But the over all tone of the thread was so offensive that someone should have spoken up. As they say, all it takes for evil to prosper is for good people to do nothing. So I got on and went on the attack. A few authors even had the balls to try to defend their stance. What did they say? Oh, come one. You know. You've heard this old tired ass reasoning before. It's the same idiotic justification attempted when people get up in arms about Black History Month or Affirmative Action. "How would you feel if we had an all White anthology?" How stupid is that? So I asked these ballsy morons, "Out of all the horror anthologies, short story collections, novels, and novellas on your bookshelves, how many are written by African American Authors? How many feature African American Heroes or heroines? How many even feature African American villains or even side kicks? And of those who do how many feature these characters in non-stereo-typical roles?" You getting my point here? There is no need for an all-White anthology because just due to the fact that Whites are the ruling majority in America and even more so in Horror, almost every horror anthology is all-white. Those that include the odd minority are rare indeed.
Now, flash forward to just a few weeks ago. I stumble across a thread on a widely-read message board asking why there was a need for a gay rights movement. Again it was stated in a very condescending manner and once again numerous authors jumped on the bandwagon. There is a need for movements that specifically address specific rights that are being trampled on because there has been a general guide for all rights here in America for over two-hundred years in the Bill of Rights yet certain groups have still been victimized despite this. So, for all the morons who can't understand "All men are created equal" we have found the need to get more detailed. Thus we have Gay Rights, Womens Rights, and all the various other Equal Rights Movements. Once the conversation began to shift towards the entire Minority Rights Movement (which it did almost immediately) I jumped in, almost immediately. One of the biggest arguments here was "Why is it okay for minorities to trash Whites and not okay for Whites to make fun of minorities?" This was a serious question. More surprisingly was the fact that there were many people who shared this concern. As stated above, I get it. I know that the Straight White Male is sick and tired of being cast as the bad guy and I agree. It would be a better world if there was no discrimination at all whether it's the majority discriminating against the minority or the reverse. But are you really saying that you can't understand why the oppressed makes fun of the oppressors? Aren't you from this planet? You can't understand why it's not as offensive when Jews make fun of Nazis as it is when Nazis make fun of Jews? You can't understand why the privileged kid making fun of the underprivileged is more offensive than the underprivileged making fun of the privileged? One is a survival mechanism and one is just pure cruelty, hatefulness, and selfishness. There's a big difference in me saying White people can't dance and have small dicks and you saying Niggers are lazy, stupid, crack-smoking, murderous thieves. What I said might make you uncomfortable and piss you off but it ain't going to sit in the minds of jurors and send innocent men to jail, it isn't going to fester in the back of an employer's mind when he's looking across from me at a job interview, it isn't going to influence a police officer's decision on whether to pull me over and go billyclub crazy because I'm not wearing my seatbelt. And there is no word you can call a White person that has the painful history of the word "Nigger". There is no word for White people that means "My people enslaved, raped, tortured, oppressed, and abused your people for over two hundred years". Nothing compares in terms of pure hatefulness than the "N" word.
My girlfriend and I were on our way to church. It was a church I had picked because I'm not big on religion and I wanted something non-denominational and multi-faith. So I found a Unitarian church that just happened to be in a predominantly Latino and Black neighborhood. Half-jokingly but Half seriously she asked me if we could leave if we pulled up and she was the only White person there because she would feel uncomfortable. I was mildly offended and told her that being with me she'd have to get used to it just like I had to get used to being the only Black guy in some situations. She then pointed out that I had been dealing with it for far longer than she had, all my life in fact. I had grown a thicker skin to prejudice over the years. I was used to it. For her it was a new experience. She was right. I was used to it. And that's a damn shame. It's a damn shame that because of me she's going to have to get used to it too.
Race relations in America suck. They are getting better undoubtedly. Twenty years ago I walked down the street with my Italian girlfriend and got hateful stares from both Black people and White people alike. Now those glares are less frequent from White folks though my sistas still harbor the old animosity. Twenty years ago movies featuring African American main characters were few and far between. They are still relatively rare and the fact that you can name the five or six that came out this year or last out of the hundreds of movies Hollywood releases each year just proves my point. Still, those five or six are winning awards and opening doors. True there have been so few Best Actor or Actress awards given by the academy to Black actors that you could hardly even call it a handful, but the majority of those that have been given have happened in the last five years. True, Black people are still pulled over by police due to "Reasonable suspicion" almost twice as much as White people, but there is far more of a chance than there used to be that if we wind up in court the judge will be Black. True, it has been proven again and again in the last two decades that you can completely ignore the Black community and still get elected President. But the possibility of an African American as a serious candidate for the presidency has never been greater. So, yes we have come a long way, but not enough to relax and get over it, not enough to stop fighting. We cannot let the past be the past until it is no longer a reality in our present. And we certainly have not come far enough for the meager table scraps we are tossed from massa's table to be any threat to the Straight White Male hierarchy. Relax. You are still in control.