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Mole's Progressive Democrat

The Progressive Democrat Newsletter grew out of the frustration of the 2004 election. Originally intended for New York City progressives, its readership is now national. For anyone who wants to be alerted by email whenever this newsletter is updated (usually weekly), please send your email address and let me know what state you live in (so I can keep track of my readership).

Location: Brooklyn, New York, United States

I am a research biologist in NYC. Married with two kids living in Brooklyn.

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  • Friday, April 30, 2010

    "White People are being attacked by Black People All the Time!!"

    So I was walking home from the train the other day. A rather disheveled looking person, who I immediately and rather unfairly (I thought) pegged as borderline crazy, was coming up the stairs. He was either talking into an earphone/mouthpiece phone which I couldn't see or talking rather coherently to himself. At first it seemed to be about an altercation that he characterized as "not clearly being any one person's fault." I walked on.

    Somehow our paths were overlapping. I kept crossing paths with him and overhearing part of is rambling conversation with someone or with himself.

    "All they want is the fall of Western Civilization. If it falls, that's okay with them. If not, well that's okay with them too."

    Who is he talking about, I wonder. Teabaggers? Republicans? Those cross my mind given recent events both during the Bush administration and now. I'd think al-Qaeda except the last part of "if not..." doesn't seem to fit.

    "All they want is to make as much money as they can."

    Okay, maybe he's talking about Republicans and bankers and other business interests. My wife, once I tell her the whole story, wonders if he means Jews. In light of later comments I wonder, but have no real clue.

    I walk on. I am nearing the corner I turn down to get to my apartment. He is still behind me.

    "Even Republicans can't say the real truth..."

    Oh, oh...what's coming now. I keep walking, but slow slightly because I want to hear the punchline...or do I? I wait with both anticipation and trepidation for his next pearl of wisdom to his conversation partner on the other end of a hypothetical earpiece and microphone.

    "The truth is that white people are being attacked by black people ALL THE TIME."


    "They can say anything and we can't do anything..." his voice fades away. He turned down a different street than I did, so I can't find out just how these hordes of black people are attacking those poor white people ALL THE TIME.

    Wow. This is, I can't help thinking, a direct result of the election of our first black president. Some people can't handle that. They can't believe in their wildest nightmares that a predominantly white nation could POSSIBLY elect a black man as president...so it must SOMEHOW be oppression.

    So...did you know that white people are being attacked by black people ALL THE TIME? I mean, does this mean ALL black people are attacking white people? Or does it mean that some particularly energetic black people are attacking all white people on behalf of all those other less energetic black people. Of course as I heard him utter those words to himself or to his buddy, I saw two black women pushing the inevitable baby strollers with white kids in them coming the other way. I wondered to myself how these two women were attacking us poor white folks.

    Humor aside, there is currently a large minority (as much as a quarter to a third of Americans) who believe this kind of crap. Somehow the massive inequalities in our modern society, where black men are overwhelmingly unemployed, in prison and die young, is perceived by some as being an oppression of the white people who have more and higher paying jobs, get lighter sentences in court, and live longer. The facts, when analyzed from pretty much any angle you can possibly imagine, tell the story of a white male dominated society where everyone who isn't white, male and, incidentally, Protestant Christian, has a tougher time. Yet a sadly dominant theme in the mainstream media, fed to them by borderline crazy people like the person I saw and the much smarter and richer people who are exploiting this kind of racism for their own benefit, is that somehow the minorities who are poorer, treated more harshly by our justice system and die younger are somehow the oppressors.

    I cannot even imagine the cognitive dissonance that is required to believe this kind of crap.

    About 15 years ago I was living in a great place in the Hollywood Hills. We had a dinner guest one night who identified himself as a "libertarian." Now I have known some pretty smart and well meaning libertarians. But this guy was basically a fool who used libertarianism as a way of blaming society for his own dismal shortcomings.

    When he heard I was a scientist he asked me, with some bitterness it seemed, how I felt being in a field where women and minorities were given an unfair advantage because of affirmative action.

    "White people are attacked by black people ALL THE TIME!"

    Well, I have never felt anyone had an unfair advantage over me in science...I haven't really seen the system work that way at all and thought the guy was a fool for thinking so. What I said was that I feel fully confident that I can make it on my own merits and if I can't then I applaud anyone else who does. I have never felt reverse discrimination was even vaguely an issue. And I have only known one person who may have been given an unfair advantage because of her gender and race...but that is another story.

    It was about then he identified himself as a libertarian in a way that suggested somehow that made him a superior being on this issue, so I couldn't help but yank his chain a little. I replied, "Oh, yeah, libertarian. Isn't that what they used to call anarchist?"

    To give you an idea what he was like, rather than laughing and correcting me, he actually started to sputter in rage and blustered, "they aren't ANYTHING alike."

    I smiled and said, "I know the differences."

    And, again, to give you an idea of how mediocre this guy was, he let me get away with that and subsided in rage. My landlady, his friend but also a liberal and feminist, grinned at me like crazy. Nowadays I tell people like him that they should just move to Somalia where their libertarian ideals have already been implemented. They generally don't appreciate that.

    He was an angry white man. He was, quite simply, mediocre, but blamed others for his failures, so women and minorities getting too much from society were to blame for his mediocrity. Personally, when I am mediocre, I blame myself. But some people can't see it that way...it CAN'T be their fault.

    "White people are attacked by black people ALL THE TIME!"

    This guy was actually an above average example of the angry white man. Teabaggers are, in essence, composed of the same kind of mediocre white people who want to blame others for their failings. Most examples are far angrier and far less intelligent than the guy I met. And they are the main targets of the kind of propaganda Fox News puts out. Rather than look into themselves for the problem, they blame the blacks, Asians, women and anyone else they can think of.

    Back in the first (actually elected) Bush presidency, many were trying to blame Mexico and Japan for our economic woes. It couldn't be us, it had to be "them." Yet of course our own economic problems were thanks to the policies of Reagan and Bush and our own business and banking leaders. But to the angry white men, it HAD to be Mexico and Japan.

    During the second (unelected) Bush administration, we had an angry white man icon as President, a man who was so lacking in skill, intelligence or imagination that it boggles the mind, yet he was President and people looked at Colin Powell, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and asked "are we ready for a black/women president?" We apparently are ready for an idiot, dry drunk liar, but we're not quite sure about intelligent blacks or women.

    "White people are attacked by black people ALL THE TIME!"

    The angry white man is, in my eyes, something of a buffoon. It is hard to take seriously someone who is a member of the most favored group in the world but who is somehow convinced that the world is unfair to them. It would be crazy if it didn't get people like Bush elected and if it wasn't the basis for the vaguely violent media darling, the Teabaggers.

    Well, today, just before I overheard this particular angry white man proclaim that white people are being attacked by black people all the time, I got on a subway train. There were two black men taking up the space where basically four people could sit. One of them was taking up almost three seats. I moved to the gap on one side of him and said "excuse me." He looked at me with considerable anger and moved over about an inch. There was still a whole half seat on the other side of him but he wouldn't move there. So I squeezed in and read my book. I guess that meant I was "attacked" by a black man. I guess I am oppressed because that damned black guy wouldn't move over to give me my rightful seat on the subway!!

    When will it end!


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