This is a presentation by Tim Wise, author of White Like Me.
I believe this is a well thought out and articulated speech on racism, I don’t agree with 100% everything that has been said, but all the same I highly recommend listening to this, because it is well worth hearing.
It is my intention while bringing this up is not to blame or shame white people. That is not what racial equality is about. The movement towards racial equality desires racial equality, and if that sounds like a redundant sentence, well it is. But unfortunately redundancy is sometimes necessary for people who can’t understand something the first time you tell them, or the second time, or the third for that matter.
This has proven true not just for racial equality but also for feminism. Feminists are so often demonized as anti-male or man-haters or something else equally ridiculous and untrue. While there are radicals (as in just about any movement or party of any kind) that is not what feminism is about. It is about equality. Not putting one group of people up above another or even asking for special privilege, just being equal. Getting equal pay for equal work and equal rights and responsibility of their body.
A lot of people have said things about how you can’t compare the LGBT community struggles towards equality with civil rights. How gay marriage rights are not the same as interracial marriage rights. Well it is the same the thing. It is two people of age and consent wanting to get married but finding themselves unable to do so because some random-ass person they don’t even know and might not ever have even met with before thinks it is an abomination or it isn’t what they believe in.
Now should a person be of the religious belief that it is wrong that is one thing. But regardless of your religion, it is ludicrous to expect a person who does not share in your belief system to follow your same religious customs and traditions as a matter of law. And for a person to say that it degrades the sanctity of marriage is just not a legitimate defense in a country with divorce rates as high as ours. How does one judge the sanctity of marriage and what relationships reinforce or degrade it? If your religion does not believe in gay marriage then gay person trying to get married probably isn’t of your religion. So why should their marriage have any impact on the sanctity of yours? Would a Christian married couple judge the sanctity of their marriage based off a what constitutes the marriage for a Jewish or Catholic couple? And the thing of it is, Christian, Jewish, and Catholic are all very broad and nebulous terms nowadays. They encompass a myriad of different faiths that vary substantially from one another. There are many churches who label themselves as Christian who would have more in common with certain other churches labeled under different faiths than they would with other “Christian” churches. So in what possible way does it make sense to judge the custom of one religion by the practice of another? If you are having trouble coming up with the answer, there is a reason for that.
The thing all these movements have in common is there ultimate goal. And that is equality. Don’t you think it is ridiculous that people have been fighting and struggling and protesting for decades for something so seemingly natural as equality? Generations have come and gone throughout these movements. Can you imagine anything so important to explain why entire generations of peoples would fight for it? And what does it say about our country that it takes so many people, over so many years, to fight for not to raise themselves up above the elite, but merely to level out the status quo. Merely to even out the playing field. Can you imagine working at a job for ten or twenty years just to get the same pay as a guy who’s been there a few weeks, who has no more experience or knowledge or competence in that field than you? Struggling that much just to enjoy the same basic things that other people have centuries now?
In a country that is so quick to boast about it being the freest and best in the world, there seems to be some glaring contradictions present. Equality, i think, is not something that we should have to fight for. It should be the norm and the fact that it is not is disturbing to say the least. If that inequality exists in race, sex, gender, orientation or religious association, then that means our country has failed in some way, on a massive, nationwide scale. Because that is what the problem is in a word for all these movements: inequality. True people experience it in different forms through different means and for different reasons, but it is still inequality in some fashion or another and that is precisely the problem. It is saying that before identifying as a person, as a human being, you have to first go by the label we have designated for you and you had better like it or we are going to insult you, demean, and dehumanize even further than we already have.
A lot of people might very well view this as something of an inflammatory rant or controversial opinion. This I think is ludicrous. To recognize and share honestly one’s opinion on a problem so austere and pervasive throughout our country should not be viewed as controversial. The problem itself is the controversy, not my or anyone else’s attempt to talk about it. Does it make me insane that I think that our society must be crazy? How else could I explain how the issue of inequality is still so prevalent today? Equality should be a given, but it isn’t and that is just wrong.
I would love to know what other people think of the video and what i have said so please feel free to share. What do you think?