Blacks and Apologies
Yes, Rev. Wright’s comments were outrageous. But, I’ve heard far more prominent White men of God make equally outrageous and offensive comments about the cause of Sept. 11th. For instance, that it was God’s punishment of America for “tolerating” homosexuals. But, there wasn’t this amount of palpable outrage and so-called umbrage being declared by members of the media.
We all know there are double standards. In politics, when it comes to being White or Black, it’s amazing how far things have to go for Whites to be pressured into apologizing for their actions or remarks. With Blacks, there’s a lower standard that provokes an apology.
In the workplace, there is often an even wider gap in the types of actions and remarks that would provoke a forced apology from a Black worker vs. a White worker. There is often a very low level of angst required in order to force Black workers into apologizing to a White coworker. An apology can be allegedly due to a White worker because a Black worker supposedly made the person cry or because the Black worker was allegedly extremely rude or very negative or had a very bad attitude, etc. Any stupid reason will often suffice.
Conversely, a White worker can call a Black person the n-word, can use racial epithets, can stereotype, and can violate Federal statutes--all without having to say they are sorry for their actions. No one often asks or contemplates forcing them to say they are remorseful and apologetic.
God forbid the Black worker says they won’t apologize! Tactics involving threats to their job security, general intimidation, and humiliation might be used to coerce the Black worker into appeasing the wish that they apologize.
This Sen. Obama thing just reminds us all that there is still this element of control that White society wishes to wield against Blacks. It goes back to the days of not looking them in their eyes, stepping off the sidewalks, when they pass, not so-called “talking back,” etc. White society has long kept Blacks in invisible cages…also known as assimilation. We were trained (seasoned) to be desperate to fit in with Whites, to take on their viewpoints, to seek their validation and approval, to have the same opinions, to know our so-called places, etc.
Rev. Wright stands out for Whites because he’s Nat Turner. He’s the Black man that will burn down the town and attack Whites. Rev. Wright is the boogeyman. Nothing is scarier to Whites than a so-called out of control n*gger.
Whites often prefer the Black workers, who smile, when they are supposed to. They often prefer the Black workers, who smile, when nothing is funny. They often prefer the Black worker, who won’t question them. They often prefer the Black worker, who seeks their approval.
In the workplace, so-called outspoken Black workers are often labeled as troublemakers. Black workers, who won’t allow fear to dictate their actions, are called the same. And, in the workplace, that type of Black person (the stereotype) is not allowed to survive or to thrive.
This whole so-called scandal with Rev. Wright is the perfect example of how out of control and hypersensitive Whites get, when they are subjected to witnessing or enduring behavior (from a Black person) that is similar to their own. John McCain has support from religious leaders (fundraising for him, etc.), who have called Islam a “demon religion” and have made derogatory statements about Catholicism. No one is asking him to reject this support, he has stated he won’t reject the support, and the issue died.
This scandal is about who said what and less about what was said. When you are viewed as not being a real citizen and you are treated like a 2nd or 3rd class citizen, you will be beaten back if you dare criticize this county. It doesn’t matter if you’re right or wrong. The fact is that Blacks have historically had to deal with the issue of whether or not we were and are “real Americans.” Our patriotism has long been in question. Ask the Tuskegee Airman or the Black Panthers of the 761st Tank Battalion or any senior Black man, who served this country, how they were often treated during their service and upon their return to this country.
We weren’t treated equally then and, far too often, we aren’t treated equally now, except when it comes to making apologies. That seems to be the area, where Blacks have superior rights! Oh, we can make an apology. And, that’s okay with most White folks! In fact, they encourage it.
Just don’t expect one in return!
It’s not just politics. It’s also in the workplace!
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