Thursday, July 9, 2009

From Whence Volition ?

brohammas asked; "So can "racist" be an attribute? Can someone be great on whole and racism be one of those factors?"

I think so - to a point.
Didn't King David hated handicapped people - even killing them?
Didn't Paul persecute early Christians?

I think being a racist can be seen as a gun.
Used one way - It can be used to rob, kill and to threaten others.
Used in another way - It can be used for self defence, to provide nourishment and/or to encourage.
(But in using it for self defence - One must be cautious not to fire in an unjustifiable manner, otherwise - it's still murder.)

I had a neighbor who lived directly across the street from my house.
This was an old Black man who had lived through Segregation in the South.
He played by all the rules and took full advantage of the opportunities given to him by his merchant parents.
After his stint in the Army, he received his teachers degree for math and science.
While in college, he was on the Black circuit of tennis players. He even played doubles with Althea Gibson.
He enjoyed playing his bass guitar and shooting pool.
Being of the same generation as my grandparents - he (along with other male neighbors) stood guard with his shotgun (Behind a blockade made with their trucks. The women were at home with handguns as reinforcement) over our neighborhood to prevent a repeat of a Rosewood-type incident that was attempted by some jealous whites in this small town.
This old man was a cool cat - but he hated white people.
Not just racist white people - but ALL white people.

During our evacuation for Hurricane Rita - the old guy had to leave town with the rest of our city's residents.
Thinking that he wanted to avoid any and every "White Town" - he decided to head into Northwest Louisiana.
But because of the size of the storm, his plans changed as residents of Louisiana were also forced to evacuate.
He was forced to travel on the corridors of East Texas (Tyler, Jasper, Vidor, etc. Known for Confederate Flags and Red-Necks.)

During his travels - he ran out of oxygen for his tanks used to aid in his ability to breath.
In a small East Texas town - a white pharmacy owner happened to notice his stressed out wife searching for a place to fill his tanks.
The owner of the pharmacy refilled his tanks and even gave him two full tanks - All at no cost.
Because traffic was so heavy - many cars ran out of gas. His was one of them.
As he and his wife sat on the side of the road, a white guy stopped to fill his gas tank with fuel from the reserve tank on the back of his truck.
As the hotels and shelters were now full - A white family let the couple ride out the storm in their guest house.
Soon after, his wife had had enough. She decided that she wanted to drive to Houston to be with her children.
Only, she was now too stressed to drive.
A white family offered to drive her car to Houston behind their family's R.V. while making the same trip.
The old man could eat and sleep at his leisure for the long drive.

After residents were allowed to return to our city, I spoke to the couple and asked of their trip.
He excitedly replayed his dilemmas and the help given.
After the long and drawn out story, "John, You were right. I'm glad I lived to see the day that I learned that there are some good white people." was all he said.
Two months later - the guy died.

Was the guy justified in his hatred of whites?
He, being an old man in the South - I'd say yes.
He used his hatred as a motivational tool to do better for himself and to try to improve the lives of others.
His racism was practiced as a form of self defence and encouragement.


FreeMan said...

- It can be used for self defense, to provide nourishment and/or to encourage - I like this definition as some people mean others no harm but they surely don't want to go all kumbaya with it.

Max Reddick said...

Great post. I once read that prejudice is a very natural and possible very desirable trait. Just as FreeMan said, prejudice is perhaps a defense mechanism. It is when prejudice takes hold and solidifies into virulent hatred that it becomes dangerous.

Citizen Ojo said...

I never thought about blacks using prejudice as a tool to better themselves (motivational etc etc) If this is the case why are black folks still struggling? The "Hood" should be buzzing....

Citizen Ojo said...

I never thought about blacks using prejudice as a tool to better themselves (motivational etc etc) If this is the case why are black folks still struggling? The "Hood" should be buzzing....

FreeMan said...

The Hood is struggling because they are heavily sedated and plus the overwhelming need to survive from gangs, police, and lack of opportunity takes the majority of pondering time. You have to have time to think in order to change your behavior.

SjP said...

Not sure I'd call it racism - but, I do understand the basic premise of your post. When you consider that the "old timers" of whom you speak know first hand the horror of the lynchings and beatings of the Jim Crow era, their "hatred" for white people is probably mild by comparison.