Black and White

I was shocked by something I read on a liberal-leaning Facebook page, something that made me wonder why the person who posted it is on that site in the first place. First, an African-American man posted to ask what Black Americans did to make White Americans hate them so much. Here is the answer one person gave:

“My honest thoughts are: Refusal to assimilate. Although we all came from different parts of the world, for the most part European Americans have same culture and habits. Asian folks, their foods are very different, expectations to work and succeed higher, but overall similar. However Black Americans still speak in a very tribal way, and that is not a slur. In homes in Africa everyone speaks at same time and loudest person who can outlast others gets the point. Expectations for success are lower. I have never heard a white Mother on TV saying her son didn’t deserve jail for stealing clothes/shoes “because how else is he supposed to get them? ” I have heard that on TV in Detroit. The baby Daddy situation that exist and creates a Matriarchal society, challenges our beliefs about families. Being fair Baby Daddies come in all races, but the matriarchal society is something that I personally believe is challenging to some white men. The war on women’s rights to manage their own bodies is another example. Basically many blacks are different and proud of it. They wear kinte cloth from a country they’ve never been too, call each other King and Queen …etc. If you ever see a white person in cloth from their heritage land, it’s a holiday or they are going to an event….I.e. dance recital at the Greek Center, not wearing those clothes to the grocery store. So you can see what I mean by “proud of it”. European Americans are instead taught from birth that living in America, is great and we are lucky. Assimilation happened years ago. Consider that many stopped speaking their native tongue and insisted their children didn’t learn them – as they wanted them to be Americans above all.”

My initial response was knee-jerk and rather angry, so I edited it on Facebook to tone it down and try to educate rather than criticize. This was off-the-cuff, so it’s not as well organized as it would be if I were writing this as an essay. Here is what I responded:

“Thank you for your honesty, but I am confused by some of what you said. They speak in a tribal way? What does that mean? Their ancestors spoke their own languages in Africa, languages they were forced to give up. Now most speak English. How is that tribal? European countries do not all have the same cultural habits, any more than African countries do. I have heard many whites say they don’t deserve to be punished for a crime; just because you have never heard it does not mean it does not happen. In fact, most criminals of all races share that view. I don’t know if speaking loudly at home is the norm in Africa, as you say, but my southern European culture is similar to that; not all European cultures are alike. And why does anyone else care how people speak to each other in their own homes anyway? Also, why shouldn’t people wear clothing that expresses their heritage in public, whatever their race? What makes a white background the default that everyone should conform to? I am white, too, but your talk about assimilation suggests that European culture is somehow the correct one, and everyone else should be expected to adopt it. Most African-Americans have ancestors who were in this country long before my ancestors; why should my culture take precedence over theirs? And don’t get me started on the comment about “baby daddies.” That is a racist stereotype. People who really believe that should take the time to read the facts about racism in America and stop blaming the victims of it.”

Was I out of line? Does anyone else find her comments offensive? It’s bothering me that I don’t see more rebuttals to her statement.

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