Saturday, August 24, 2002

GUTIERREZ: For blacks only
Is this just more "White Guilt" run amuck? I am the only liberal in this town not to feel that the white man is not to blame for the ills of the black man? This quote from the column seems to be amiss of detail:
"White people don't say much, for instance, about the unseen forces that keep African-Americans out of the suburbs. Or the disparities in the quality of health care received by blacks and whites, as detailed in a March report by the National Academies' Institute of Medicine."

"Unseen Forces"? Is this the same “white hand” keeping the black man down? What about the "unseen forces" that keep my white ass from the suburbs? I call it my lack of a bank account balance greater than a down payment on a house. If a poor black family making $25,000 with bad credit thinks they are kept from buying a $100,000+ house in the suburbs because of the color of their skin, then I think they are either misinformed, ignorant, or suffer from delusional paranoia.

The health care issue can be traced to economic class. Blacks are not denied health care because of the color of their skin or any other reason. Anyone can go to a hospital and be treated if injured. Whites can afford more health care on average because whites are wealthier on average. Saying it is racist that whites on average make more money is a stupid as saying it is racist that more blacks play professional basketball. Blacks cannot gain wealth by osmosis. It takes playing the game of the mainstream economic culture. You either assimilate into that mainstream culture, reaping the benefits of existing business structures, or if you want your “own”, you then must fend for yourself.

Blacks have nearly the same opportunities as whites. There is racism in this country. There is not that much of it, however. What there is more of is cultural bigotry. Whites in general and middle and upper class of all races do not “like” what I can only term as "urban black culture." That is a term that I cannot quantify with a specific meaning. It is not meant to be the same as "black culture" which is as much of a myth as "white culture." Those terms are used for simplicity's sake. When people complain about black youths running on the streets they don't generally intend to defame a race. Some do mean to do that, but they are an insignificant group.

Those that are called racists today are really they type of person who hate the inner city black culture. If you took a black family that shared much of the same attitudes as they did, they would have no major problem befriending them.

What really is the problem on this issue is that blacks define their culture based on race. They group themselves on race and generally race alone. Whites and other races to a lesser extent do not do that. Whites, again with exceptions, group people by ethnicity. Irish, English, French, Spanish, Polish, German, or Greek is how they are viewed. Blacks in America may have some subgroups, but they would be defined almost solely by class, not ethnicity. Blacks view "African-American" as an ethnicity. On a certain level it has the characteristics of one. Blacks have been treated like an ethnicity historically, but when in the last 50 years blacks seemed to have accepted being African-American as an ethnicity and comparing it to being White or "European-American". This is a big mistake for many blacks. Whites today, and generally historically, do not view ethnicity the same as race. Until this concept is understood in the black community there will be conflict. I can go on and on about this, so I will end it here. I will have more as the days and weeks go on. I don’t see a meeting of the minds anytime soon.

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