Thursday, August 4, 2016

Treated Unfairly for Reasons you don't Understand

A line I just read stuck out to me

"White privilage is not something we notice, because it doesn't effect the things we have, but the lack of injustices we have to endure."

So going back to Joy Degruy's trip to the grocery store; how can we be sure these injustices have anything to do with race? We're all treated unfairly sometimes for reasons we don't understand, and when it happens because of racism the racist doesn't come out and say it.

Thinking back on my life, I can find lots of situations where I felt I was treated unfairly for reasons I don't understand. Most notably, I was pulled over in Detroit after visiting Canada, accused of a hit-and-run, and endured a year-long process of having to defend myself. It was a really lousy situation. Suppose I didn't have my "white privilage", how easily it would have been for me to interpret what happened as a race based injustice.

Other situations where I was treated seemingly unfairly for reasons I didn't understand:
I was approached by three employees and asked to leave a grocery store
I was fired from one job after being held up at gunpoint
I wasn't hired after I felt I nailed an interview

If you're treated unfairly for reasons you don't understand and you're white, we shrug and say the world is strange. If you're treated unfairly for reasons you don't understand and you're not white, racism automatically becomes the top answer.

The whole issue is muddled by the hyper-sensative morality with which the issue is treated. You don't only face moral condemnation for being a racist, but for pointing out that a situation might not be racist, or by pointing out that racism might be less common than others think. At that point reasons don't matter, evidence doesn't matter, you're a deniar and that's shameful. Once a certain belief is deemed immoral it becomes very hard for people to think about whether the belief is true. As Steven Pinker says, "the truth cannot be racist."

What makes me different, I believe, is I'm so concerned with believing true things that I'm willing to be called names. Although to have both I keep my beliefs to myself.