This ought to be just a comment but it so much easier to write a new blogpost – so much more control of the presentation.
The issue of racism came up in a recent Brad post – discussed here. Following from this I looked into transcendence as being both a spiritual and political process. And then I spent a long time considering privilege which led to this blogpost. All of these came together when reading this later Bradpost.
In this paragraph Brad thinks things are not so bad:-
“A lot of Americans have the impression that we have a broken system that needs fixing. But I wonder if that’s really true. Now before you get your pantaloons in a bunch, please understand that I’m am not saying that things are perfectly fine as they are. They aren’t.”
To me this is myopic white America. Ask the people of Syria, Libya and Iraq whether this is true, and ask them whether the system needs fixing.
“Yet to me it seems less like we have a broken system that needs fixing and more like we are trying to build a system that is absolutely without historical precedent, a system that would be amazing if we could ever get it set up.” Are we actually trying to build a fair and just democratic system, or is that just a delusion of neoliberal exploitation by the few?
But this is the nail in the coffin:-
“When I’m in the USA I am part of the privileged class, a white male heterosexual. But I’ve lived much of my life in places where being white meant not being in the privileged class — 4 years in Kenya and 11 years in Japan. So while I can’t claim to know what it’s like to be Black or Latino or any other brand of non-white in the USA, I do know what it’s like to be an immigrant and a racial minority in other societies. As such, my sympathies generally lie with those who don’t get the privileges I am accorded when I’m on American soil.”
I cannot talk about Japan although privileges not afforded white people here in Thailand are not that much of an imposition – despite any racism. In Africa I was amazed that after centuries of colonial imposition how well I was treated as a white man. There were disadvantages, sure, animosities from those whose families had suffered greatly under colonialism, but little more than minor suffering. I lived and worked in Southern Africa for 6 years, social factors are similar to Kenya.
For Brad to equate the loss of his privileges in Japan and Kenya with the systemic disentitlement for Blacks and Latinos in the US (explained here) or UK shows a deep misunderstanding and a lack of transcendence. I could tirade but there is no point – it would only be my emotion as this is not being read by the person concerned.
This last Bradblog has put the nail in the interaction. It is interesting that he is so close to my family home and yet the result of this blog process is that I have unfollowed him. At least he brought me to Zen.