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Author Topic: White Rastas confused between beliefs & cultur  (Read 108918 times)
jaymz
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« on: May 14, 2003, 03:07:06 PM »

hey all.
i jus wanted to say that i've done some soul searching since i started on this board and i've realised that i actually know very little about HIM and why he is so important to the beliefs. It's for this reason that i have begun to wonder why it is that i want to follow the faith.

after my soul searching i've realised why exactly this is...i think it's because i really do love the culture of Africa and the people that come from it. The peoples are so relaxed and chilled ya knw? I've been to Kenya many times and have many friends there. What i like out there is that time has no meaning and they're the nicest people i've ever met in my life. Out there i met a rasta and we cotched and reasoned about the typical 'not allowed to be rasta if your white' topics and general stuff like that and i really felt alive when i was talkin to him so i thought that id follow his line of play and experience the beliefs of rasta. I've followed this for about a year now and i really have learned a lot of things about myself and other people too.

HOWEVER, never have i really discovered much about HIM. It's for this reason that i've been thinking that if im learning things about myself from the culture of africa and am not really thinkin about the beliefs, should i be rasta?!
I think this is the case for many white rastas because we have never felt what its like to be oppressed and discriminated against. In my opinion, we are following rasta because we are confusing the beliefs with the culture, yuh dig what im sayin?
In all honesty, it's taken a lot for me to actually admit this and i think that this might be the cause for other white rastas to be following rasta. maybe ask yourself..."how much do i actually know about HIM?!" and whether you are a true follower or jus in it for the culture?
i hope this has been of interest to people rather than babble! I still hold strong views against the oppression of blacks and all of the cultural beliefs that you can put into everyday llife, but im verging out of the religious side right now. In my opinion, you can still hold these beliefs and be a good person.
Anyway, time is ticking and i got to be off. have yourselves a good day,
love,
JamyZ

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Rootsie
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« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2003, 04:51:40 PM »

Hey jaymz good for you and for your honesty. For Iself, it definitely started out as a vibe, the deep spiritual vibe of Bob and the nyabinghi rhythm, but over the years it has deepened as I really began focusing on learning about His Majesty and reading into history, mystery, and prophecy. What I advise is doing the same for yourself. The resources on this site are SO great...dig in! Then we can reason more.  'Beliefs'...'Culture'...these are tricky words. You are correct that the One Love teachment is Inivershal, and is at the heart of every spiritual teaching...JAH is one, you know, but that it is another thing to look 'through the spectacles of Africa' and begin to see that sighting up Rasta involves a particular kind of engagement with Afrika, with Judeo/Christian tradition, and most of all with your Self of heart and mind entwined. I felt called when I was 19 years old, and now I'm 46, and there have been some amazing turns and mystic twists...I just let the call carry me forward, to the life and words of Selassie I, the Bible, the bedrock of Afrikan teachings, a growing overstanding of just what it might signify in this here time to be a white person and have the cojones to say I a Rasta and live that out in my like according to these overstandings. It sure is no weakheart new age mush:got to have some of that soul-rebel you know?
Approaching these things with a spirit of humility and soul searching is the way to go, so you have already begun...
ps please soul search further on the race matter, and maybe consider som of the things I said in that first response to you...I'm not trying to come on as any kind of 'expert' or elder to you or nothing.
It's a Love thing.
rootsie
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ROOTSWOMAN
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« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2003, 04:54:11 PM »

Greetings,

InI give thanks for your honesty.  Its a lot more then most will admit.  Here are a few points Id like to make, however.  

1)Let us examine the definition of Culture:

Culture: The system of shared beliefs, values, customs, behaviors, and artifacts that the members of society use to cope with their world and with one another, and that are transmitted from generation to generation through learning.

My question would be, if culture is something intrinsic to ones daily experiences, and those of his/her ancestors transmitted generation to generation, how do Europeans (who receive white skin privilege and benefit from a racist European global system/order) relate to a culture which was NOT taught them from their ancestors, nor passed down generation to generation?  How do take on a culture without EXPERIENCING the very things, which have formed the culture they wish to adopt?  

2) RasTafari was born out of RESISTANCE to racist Europeans.  I humbly ask: How can a white Rasta really FEEL (he who feels it KNOWS it) Afrikan/Rasta culture when they do not experience the daily experiences or ancestral experience born out of RESISTANCE to Europeans?  
Let me make this point very CLEAR:  I overstand that white rastas can SYMPATHISE with the Afrikan Experience, but how in the world can they possibly FEEL/EXPERIENCE it?  How?  

Therefore, it makes some wonder if there is not some GROSS misunderstanding on the part of white rastas.  In our experience, many confuse HIPPY-ism with Rastafari.  The two couldnt be more UNLIKE each other.  Also, in our experience, and those of our Ancestors, white rastas (and people in general) like to come into our Afrikan village and try to REDEFINE it to us!  This is a historical pattern.  Therefore, any HUMBLE and conscious white rasta should realize and overstand our SUSPICIONS.

Im reminded of Malcom X words in regards to white people of good will and sincere hearts who wished to help or join Black People.  He said they could work in LIASON with us, but that they would be best suited to teach THEIR OWN, as ultimately and NATURALLY, only a Black Man can really teach a next Black Man about manhood.

Also, how does one adopt RasTafari yet not overstand or pay homage to RAS TAFARI HIMSELF?   Thats like being a Christian and not recognizing the KRST (Christ), right? I also would like to take this a bit deeper.  As Ive been posting recently, RASTA was here before the physical manifestation of Haile Selassie.  Either way, RASTA is fundamentally AFRIKAN.  


I think it is very difficult for non-Afrikans to overstand the difference between CULTURE and Beleifs in regards to a movement which is born out of resistance to their very own culture.

Last point: Rastafari does not BELEIVE in our culture/spiritual system, as belief leaves too much room for doubt.  For example:  I could be walking down the street and BELEIVE I saw my friend...but do I KNOW for sure? No.  Thats why Rastas say we KNOW, we dont believe.

RAspectfully,

ROOTS
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SANKOFA!
Ras Mandingo
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« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2003, 09:13:31 PM »

Quote
Greetings,

Im reminded of Malcom X words in regards to white people of good will and sincere hearts who wished to help or join Black People.  He said they could work in LIASON with us, but that they would be best suited to teach THEIR OWN, as ultimately and NATURALLY, only a Black Man can really teach a next Black Man about manhood.



Greetings Rootswoman,

Are you saying here that a Japanese can't talk to a South African about life? I mean, we all are born, grow, multiple, die.  We all eat, drink, sleep, have phisiological necessities, fears, emotions...

Aren't we really that different?

Is life really thar different in the different places of the world? Everywhere there's day and night, summer and winter, everywhere animals, plants...

The same air connects all life...

Are we that different?

If I got you wrong please correct me.

Life is life everywhere and perception of life, of universal truth, of righteousness, of laws of nature is the same everywhere and is open to every honest and genuine person who wants to authentify his knowledge into wisdom with the own life experience,

Respect,

Mandingo.

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Haile,
Wisdom, Knowledge, Strenght & Power!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Princess Tracey
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« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2003, 10:01:42 PM »

greetings sistren Roots,

I take your many valid points and hear them well...

I see how "Rasta" has taken many forms outside it's origins...with many false followers...an fake wannabe's ...and clearly many who do not fully understanding the real reason why there are here in the first place...but here they are..because for whatever reasons beyond our own limited comprehensions...the mighty Spirit of Rasta that has called...and is speaking...can you not hear the voice in the winds?...that calls to it's children through a DIFFERENT door???

Can I also say...what a beautiful place to indeed be...and to start the process OF understanding and appreciating WHAT Rasta is, it's history, and how it has evolved in today's world.

sistren...let me ask you....would you prefer that all the white people leave the movement??...let it ONLY be for Africans and Africans only?...would you then feel that all would be right and restored?...and what about other cultures that are not African...but are not European such as Latinio, Asian etc...do you feel the same way about them too?...

truly...whites cannot touch the trail of tears...
not even with a finger!

but wouldn't you have us break free from the shackles of our own IGNORANCE?..is not Rasta a ways and a means to serve a higher purpose? ..albeit through it's history and origins for it's rightful people and then beyond??...do you not feel that things evolve?

look how many white people are coming into higher ralizations and  understrandings THROUGH RASTA!...and of the HISTORY OF BLACK PEOPLE'S SUFFERATIONS!...THROUGH RASTA...you are rewriting the story as it actually happened historically...
AND WE ARE LISTENING!!!

my sistren...dear sistren...we are ready and willing to stand firm and build along side of you...respecting African Roots and Culture...we fight the very system YOU fight...but because of our skin color and what THAT represents...and IT"S legacy ...
we are now judged on the basis of our skin!...you seem to dismiss any valid contributions that whites may have to offer to Rasta....sometimes I might be honest Roots...it even seems that you no want ANY white people hangin around...

if I may share...a very deep and loving thought from the heart and soul of forIver living giving love of Father James Jah Lightning...that bredda IanI so graciously and lovingly share to all the good people on this board:

                            The Whole World

" De whole world a Jah CREATION! So den, Jah does not favour any one part a de earth... because He created the WHOLE earth. For it be written, 'De earth a de Law an de fullness der of'... ab ALL dat dwell in it... an ZION abideth'! So, ANY wer on de earth will do. Anywhere! A no be Africa alone. If it be Africa alone Jah created, den every one a be pack up over der. No man... no favorite. Look here now... if only Africa all I an I was to go... why Him mek Jamaica?... or England?... or America? A de WHOLE earth a fe RASTA!! An Jah mek man in Him own image... an man come in all different skin colour, an different hair colour, an different eye colour... no? Yes man!! So ALL a dem a de image a de Creator. A so it go. Brother an Sister. Give thanks. A de four wings a de earth (pointing in each direction)... anywhere on de earth will do! Anywhere you a livity... anywhere you live by righteousness, a dat be Heaven! Yes man! De Rastaman... I appreciate him dat a praise Africa. I appreciate it! But, I no get dat der fullness from Jah dat say everyone gonna bail out an jus go over a Africa. I say, anyWHERE on de earth will do... for de earth is I Law an de Fullness der of! All a de sed earth, so anywhere you wan... a to LIVE! For you hav Life to Live! A de Father, a Him a de earth you know. So I will Live it! An if who wan to go... I wouldn't say dem not to... but who wan to stay... Babylon cannah stop you again! NO!! Enemy cannah overtrow!!"  


bless be ALL the good people who come to seek a higher level of being through the living life and love of RASTA!!l
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Bantu_Kelani
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« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2003, 03:07:54 AM »

ROOTSWOMAN one more time your words are so POWERFUL!

I's funny how white so called 'rastas' (like most whites in general) live in this Utopian world where they believe people of this world are the same and equal. They say we are all brothers and sisters, One love and the rest... But if they were sincere with themselves they will SEE that people in this world are not treated EQUALLY and the reality of this world is based on prejudice, racism, oppression of Blacks by the whites who control ALL, rule ALL, subjugate ALL and destroy ALL!
Conscious AFRIKANS/ Black Rastafarians KNOW this harsh Reality very well! We are the LAST of the last, the bottom in every hemisphere, in every country of this world, reduced to beg, our dignity (our humanity) long gone...

White so called  'rastas' do not want to face REALITY and Responsibility. They keep fantasizing about a world where all is pink and blue. Surely these are the colors they see from their privileged/high tower. But for us Blacks/ oppressed people at the bottom of the tower life is gray, ENEQUAL, harsh, terrible. Sure we all breathe, eat but for us Africans life is ENEQUAL, terrible!

They do not comprehend Rastafari, they just emulate Rastafari by pure fantasy, fashion, or trickery.. White and Rastafari imo do not match, cannot be linked. White 'rastas' fight against NOTHING, they are not struggling for our liberation certainly not with action! Jaymz is the perfect example of why they want to rallyRastafarism. Because they fantasize about our culture, our people, our skin, our lips or whatever. Do not Join us for trifle reason but for our SURVIVAL and DIGNITY! Show us how much you care about the Black Race, our cause, show us how you are true RASTAFARIANS by fighting the oppressors!! True Rastaman/Rastawomen do not waste their time defending whether or not they should be accepted as 'Rastaman /Rastawomen' because of their race. They only come with words and testimonies of ACTION and PLANS of Struggle experiences of crushing BABYLON that's all!

But how whites (rastas) will be willing to fight when they are so privileged? How will they be willing to destroy something they conformably live in and refuse to see? Do not mock our Cause by your idleness white people (rastas). Crush Babylon now YOU HAVE THE POWER form the HIGH tower where you are and where the oppressors also dwells! If you do not, indeed you are deceivers, imposters.

Jah Almighty is TRUTH, POWER and STRENGTH!!

Siskelani-
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We should first show solidarity with each other. We are Africans. We are black. Our first priority is ourselves.
Princess Tracey
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« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2003, 05:27:50 AM »

sistren Kelani...let me ask you...do you also feel that there is absolutely NO place for a white man/woman to enter into the gates of Rasta?..albeit through a different door?

do you not feel that through reasoning and Ivine process that one can come to understand (though not directly) the trod of African peoples...even though not insperiancing to the depth and scope?

...and thus be more 'effective' in working TOGETHER to break down the barriers of ignorance...and change the systems???

how does one break down the barriers of ignorance if not to 'start' right where one is at?? (albeit in a place of ignorance and unawares)

people do not change in a blink of an eye...there is a 'process' of transformation that must be undertaken..

but fist one must be 'willing' to see..

I see many who come...avail themselves to a willingness..
otherwise why them here?

their truth will surely be seen for what it is...for RASTA will 'check' them truths!

I agree sis...the scope of one's livities are quite unequal on the scales of justice...yes..it is a DISGRACE!...but be mindful how you throw dem stones ..lest you stone the very ones who are working to achieve a new way...a new day

are YOU willing to look through another lenz and see that not all white folk are your enemy?..not all white folk are ignorant of the black struggle?

are you willing to see that not all white people live in this Uetopia white tower that you so enthusiastically throw around?

are you willing to see that some of us fight the same system??

are YOU willing to hold YOUR own 'stuff' up to the light and check it??

what are YOU doing in your OWN livity to HELP forward the cause besides sight what the white rasta are NOT doing to contribute anything worthy of contributing??

are you even willing to consider that some of us ARE DOING and WORKING TOGETHER WITH  some our black bredren and sistren in the fields to help CHANGE the whitewashment thinking and bust down dem barriers??

who are you to point such a finger?

you are so quick to condemn

I do agree that many youthful whites come to this board AND to RASTA quite unaware of the reality of LIFE that many black and oppressed bredren and sistren LIVE day to day

but far be it a better place for them to BE so that they can in reality SEE who they are...thank JAH for RASTA show dem the WAY!!

for how else can they transform their thinking unless they avail themselves to walk through the gates of the black man and woman..to hear to see dem struggles, and learn and grow
from LISTENING

many have just embarked on their journey

TRUST in the power of divine intervention Kelani

of the power to work through our own ignorances

to transform the mind through exposing one to the realities of the the black man's livity

can I tell you...many whites REFUSE to even LOOK
they don't even want to SEE...let alone change how they think!

those that come avail themselves at least to LOOK and start the process of transforamation

can you not see the process that IS taking place??

to them that seek...let them find knowledge and learn and grow from ALL things...lest they keep unaware and ignorant inside the thick walls of this white tower that you speak...
where white is unto white and black is unto black..NO MAN!!!...re-read Father James Jah Lightning sis Kelani

what do think of him words???

fireball love
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Bantu_Kelani
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« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2003, 06:17:43 AM »

warriorPrincess I appreciate your reponse. I have to go to work now (it's currently 7:20am Texas time) but I will come back later on during the day with a lengthy response to you. All (or most) of the points in your post addressed to me will be analyzed and replied.
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Princess Tracey
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« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2003, 09:05:53 AM »

blessings sisKelani )))...please note that I come from a place of deep rootical love...and extend as much to thee

I have walked through many fires to get here

it is not an easy road...but trod I and you and we must

let us look at ourselves...reason...and grow to the fullness of our depths...

I hold out much respect to you...I hope in return..you will offer the same

bless
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ROOTSWOMAN
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« Reply #9 on: May 15, 2003, 10:37:13 AM »

Greetings Ras Mandingo.

Do not go by my opinions/words bredren. LOOK AT THE HISTORICAL PATTERN of how Europeans have dealt with Afrika from the day they crawled out of the Caucas Mountains!  We as chidren of JAH, all share similarities, yes.  But bredren, OUR NATURES (generally speaking) couldnt be as different then day and night.  Look at historical patterns.  Therein lies the answers to your questions.  And yes, I stand by the FACT that ONLY Black People can uplift/teach BLACK PEOPLE.  This does not mean NO ONE else can contribute to our learning, but as Garvey did teach us, let us learn to sight the world from behind the spectacles of ETHIOPIA.  This means that we must learn to sight the world, ourselves and JAH through the PERSPECTIVE OF AFRIKA, which can only truly be taught to us BY OUR OWN.

AFRIKA FOR THE AFRIKAN.

ROOTS
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SANKOFA!
ROOTSWOMAN
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« Reply #10 on: May 15, 2003, 10:40:52 AM »

Greetings Warrior-Princess,

Permit me to quote your words here and respond:

my sistren...dear sistren...we are ready and willing to stand firm and build along side of you...respecting African Roots and Culture...we fight the very system YOU fight...but because of our skin color and what THAT represents...and IT"S legacy ...
we are now judged on the basis of our skin!...you seem to dismiss any valid contributions that whites may have to offer to Rasta....sometimes I might be honest Roots...it even seems that you no want ANY white people hangin around...

No sistah, you are not being judged by the color of your skin.  That racist phenomenon belongs strictly to your people.  Like brothah Malcom X did say, when we call the white man a devil, we are speaking of one particular individual, but addressing the COLLECTIVE DEEDS of a people/nation.  We are looking at HISTORICAL PATTERN and PRESENT DAY REALITIES.  We are looking at the fact that this EUROPEAN SYSTEM benefits its people with another racist phenomenon called WHITE SKIN PRIVILEDGE.

Also, and forgive my bluntness, your accusations are rather typical of white rastas when in the face of AFRIKAN TRUTH/FIYAH. The first thing to come out their mouths are accusations of us being too militant, and oh so angry.  The first to cry REVERSE RACISM, and pout because we are NATURALLY suspicious of a people who have PROVED BEYOND THE SHADOW OF A DOUBT (as a collective) that the destruction of AFRIKANS is their priority.  This is not our opinion but our EXPERIENCE, both ancestral and present day.  Again, it is due to your not EXPERIENCING this, that you would accuse me of not wanting white people hanging around.  Not once have I uttered such a thing.  I have merely pointed out HISTORICAL FACT and voiced the COLLECTIVE AFRIKAN EXPERIENCE.  If that TRUTH is too emiotionally difficult for ones and ones to accept, I cannot bear that responsibility, as I will NEVER APOLOGIZE for speaking TRUTH.  

Did I not clearly say that we feel that the BEST position for white rastas to take is the same one Malcom X suggested?  That they are to WORK IN LIASON with us.  How did you read that and interpret we dont want whites hanging around.

One thing I will make CLEAR right here and right now.  Any white rastas MUST be able to STAND IN THE FIYAH OF AFRIKAN TRUTH.  This is an INNITIATION of sorts.  If you can stand in this FIYAH and not get burned, well give thanks.  But if EMOTIONAL REACTION based on WHITE GUILT comes out, we would just assume that our FIYAH is PURIFYING the RACIST POISON lodged deep within peoples SUBCONSCIOUS.  If you are going to enter our village, do so humbly.  Dont be so quick to emotionally react with accusations of us not wanting you around.  OVERSTAND that we will ALWAYS speak upon our REALITY and EXPERIENCES.  IF these make you (or other white rastas) uncomfortable, then we would respectfully suggest that entering an AFRIKAN VILLAGE is perhaps not for you.

RasTafari is not about singing Cant we all just get along.  Or Kumbaya.  It is not about wearing Tie-dye T-shirts with a spliff hanging out our mouths.  Remember His Majestys words:

UNTIL THAT DAY (when all men under the sun have equal rights and justice) WE AFRIKANS WILL FIGHT FOR WE FIND IT NECESSARY AS WE ARE CONFIDENT IN THE VICTORY OF GOOD OVER EVIL.  That day has not yet come.  So prepare yourself for Afrikan Rastas CONTINUING THE FIGHT, without concluding that we hate you or dont want you around.

ONE AFRIKAN LOVE

ROOTS
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SANKOFA!
Princess Tracey
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« Reply #11 on: May 15, 2003, 11:51:54 AM »

bless UP Roots!!  Yes...I sight with the truth wherever I hear it...and I have no arguments with what you say...NOT ONE!
and do indeed acknowledge it as TRUTH well SPOKEN

but I would like to elaborate in more depth some of the reasonings behind my feelings

I must do so later when I have more time to elaborate

I sis DO come humbly..yes...to the African village to seek truth and teachment from a nation of peoples that has revealed TRUE spiritual WISDOM and LIGHT...yes, I come humbly, and with deep respect...but I come sis, not on my knees

let the FIYAH burn away all that is false

may we break bread soon and reason more

fireball love
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ROOTSWOMAN
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« Reply #12 on: May 15, 2003, 05:16:21 PM »

WHITE PRIVILEGE SHAPES THE U.S.

Robert Jensen
Department of Journalism
University of Texas
Austin, TX 78712
work: (512) 471-1990
rjensen@uts.cc.utexas.edu

copyright Robert William Jensen 1998
first appeared in the Baltimore Sun, July 19, 1998
by Robert Jensen

Here's what white privilege sounds like:

I am sitting in my University of Texas office, talking to a very bright and very conservative white student about affirmative action in college admissions, which he opposes and I support.
The student says he wants a level playing field with no unearned advantages for anyone. I ask him whether he thinks that in the United States being white has advantages. Have either of us, I ask, ever benefited from being white in a world run mostly by white people? Yes, he concedes, there is something real and tangible we could call white privilege.
So, if we live in a world of white privilege--unearned white privilege--how does that affect your notion of a level playing field? I ask.

He paused for a moment and said, "That really doesn't matter."

That statement, I suggested to him, reveals the ultimate white privilege: the privilege to acknowledge you have unearned privilege but ignore what it means.

That exchange led me to rethink the way I talk about race and racism with students. It drove home to me the importance of confronting the dirty secret that we white people carry around with us everyday: In a world of white privilege, some of what we have is unearned. I think much of both the fear and anger that comes up around discussions of affirmative action has its roots in that secret. So these days, my goal is to talk openly and honestly about white supremacy and white privilege.

White privilege, like any social phenomenon, is complex. In a white supremacist culture, all white people have privilege, whether or not they are overtly racist themselves. There are general patterns, but such privilege plays out differently depending on context and other aspects of one's identity (in my case, being male gives me other kinds of privilege). Rather than try to tell others how white privilege has played out in their lives, I talk about how it has affected me.

I am as white as white gets in this country. I am of northern European heritage and I was raised in North Dakota, one of the whitest states in the country. I grew up in a virtually all-white world surrounded by racism, both personal and institutional. Because I didn't live near a reservation, I didn't even have exposure to the state's only numerically significant non-white population, American Indians.

I have struggled to resist that racist training and the ongoing racism of my culture. I like to think I have changed, even though I routinely trip over the lingering effects of that internalized racism and the institutional racism around me. But no matter how much I "fix" myself, one thing never changes--I walk through the world with white privilege.

What does that mean? Perhaps most importantly, when I seek admission to a university, apply for a job, or hunt for an apartment, I don't look threatening. Almost all of the people evaluating me for those things look like me--they are white. They see in me a reflection of themselves, and in a racist world that is an advantage. I smile. I am white. I am one of them. I am not dangerous. Even when I voice critical opinions, I am cut some slack. After all, I'm white.

My flaws also are more easily forgiven because I am white. Some complain that affirmative action has meant the university is saddled with mediocre minority professors. I have no doubt there are minority faculty who are mediocre, though I don't know very many. As Henry Louis Gates Jr. once pointed out, if affirmative action policies were in place for the next hundred years, it's possible that at the end of that time the university could have as many mediocre minority professors as it has mediocre white professors. That isn't meant as an insult to anyone, but is a simple observation that white privilege has meant that scores of second-rate white professors have slid through the system because their flaws were overlooked out of solidarity based on race, as well as on gender, class and ideology.

Some people resist the assertions that the United States is still a bitterly racist society and that the racism has real effects on real people. But white folks have long cut other white folks a break. I know, because I am one of them.
I am not a genius--as I like to say, I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer. I have been teaching full-time for six years, and I've published a reasonable amount of scholarship. Some of it is the unexceptional stuff one churns out to get tenure, and some of it, I would argue, actually is worth reading. I work hard, and I like to think that I'm a fairly decent teacher.

Every once in awhile, I leave my office at the end of the day feeling like I really accomplished something. When I cash my paycheck, I don't feel guilty.

But, all that said, I know I did not get where I am by merit alone. I benefited from, among other things, white privilege. That doesn't mean that I don't deserve my job, or that if I weren't white I would never have gotten the job. It means simply that all through my life, I have soaked up benefits for being white. I grew up in fertile farm country taken by force from non-white indigenous people. I was educated in a well-funded, virtually all-white public school system in which I learned that white people like me made this country great.

There I also was taught a variety of skills, including how to take standardized tests written by and for white people.
All my life I have been hired for jobs by white people. I was accepted for graduate school by white people. And I was hired for a teaching position at the predominantly white University of Texas, which had a white president, in a college headed by a white dean and in a department with a white chairman that at the time had one non-white tenured professor.

There certainly is individual variation in experience. Some white people have had it easier than me, probably because they came from wealthy families that gave them even more privilege. Some white people have had it tougher than me because they came from poorer families. White women face discrimination I will never know. But, in the end, white people all have drawn on white privilege somewhere in their lives.

Like anyone, I have overcome certain hardships in my life. I have worked hard to get where I am, and I work hard to stay there. But to feel good about myself and my work, I do not have to believe that "merit," as defined by white people in a white country, alone got me here. I can acknowledge that in addition to all that hard work, I got a significant boost from white privilege, which continues to protect me every day of my life from certain hardships.

At one time in my life, I would not have been able to say that, because I needed to believe that my success in life was due solely to my individual talent and effort. I saw myself as the heroic American, the rugged individualist. I was so deeply seduced by the culture's mythology that I couldn't see the fear that was binding me to those myths. Like all white Americans, I was living with the fear that maybe I didn't really deserve my success, that maybe luck and privilege had more to do with it than brains and hard work. I was afraid I wasn't heroic or rugged, that I wasn't special.

I let go of some of that fear when I realized that, indeed, I wasn't special, but that I was still me. What I do well, I still can take pride in, even when I know that the rules under which I work in are stacked in my benefit. I believe that until we let go of the fiction that people have complete control over their fate--that we can will ourselves to be anything we choose--then we will live with that fear. Yes, we should all dream big and pursue our dreams and not let anyone or anything stop us. But we all are the product both of what we will ourselves to be and what the society in which we live lets us be.

White privilege is not something I get to decide whether or not I want to keep. Every time I walk into a store at the same time as a black man and the security guard follows him and leaves me alone to shop, I am benefiting from white privilege. There is not space here to list all the ways in which white privilege plays out in our daily lives, but it is clear that I will carry this privilege with me until the day white supremacy is erased from this society.

Frankly, I don't think I will live to see that day; I am realistic about the scope of the task. However, I continue to have hope, to believe in the creative power of human beings to engage the world honestly and act morally. A first step for white people, I think, is to not be afraid to admit that we have benefited from white privilege. It doesn't mean we are frauds who have no claim to our success. It means we face a choice about what we do with our success.

Jensen is a professor in the Department of Journalism in the University of Texas at Austin. He can be reached at rjensen@uts.cc.utexas.edu.


http://uts.cc.utexas.edu/%7Erjensen/freelance/whiteprivilege.htm


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SANKOFA!
c-spot_rasta
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« Reply #13 on: May 15, 2003, 05:39:25 PM »

k i dont no if im only speaking for myself hear but 2 years ago i didnt even know about rasta then i heard about so so i did some reaserch into it and i first learned about the beliefsthen when i decided to become a rasta i learned the culture like the red green and gold and dreadlocks and ganja (even though those are all sort of tied down with beleifs) so i could b able to let people know that i was a rasta. and whenever people ask me well y did you become a rasta i still to this day tell them bcuz i beleive wat it teaches

and someday i actually want to live in africa bcuz i just love all the diversity and different landscapes and the traditional tribes so y do u say africa is for africans r u saying white people aren't allowed, are you saying that just bcuz i was born white and you were born black that i shouldn't b allowed to experience going to a place that not only rastafarians believe is the cradle of humanity but science also prooves it, to me that sounds a bit racist but mabey im crazy.

and i think ive said this b4 but i dont think n e 1 has read it but it makes no sense that rastafarians want to rid the world of racism but we can't even stop fighting amongst ourselves here on this webpage so mabey im wrong mabey all white rastas just want to pose as rastas but if that's the case then its still a stereotype bcuz im not like that bcuz everyday i try to live my life learning about other cultures and accepting them and whenever i have a chance to try to speak out on another cultures behave i do it even if i get made fun of or get my ass kiked it's happened plenty atime b4 ok thats all i have to say now

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ROOTSWOMAN
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« Reply #14 on: May 15, 2003, 07:27:14 PM »

Greetings,

Permit I to quote your words and respond:

so y do u say africa is for africans r u saying white people aren't allowed, are you saying that just bcuz i was born white and you were born black that i shouldn't b allowed to experience going to a place that not only rastafarians believe is the cradle of humanity but science also prooves it, to me that sounds a bit racist but mabey im crazy.

Excuse me, but as a so-called rasta you must have somehow missed the Teachings of the Honorable Marcus Mosiah Garvey who is the CORNER STONE of Rastafari!  He was the one to shout to the world AFRIKA FOR THE AFRIKAN, AT HOME AND ABROAD.  Are you calling him a racist as well?  What about the MANY MANY reggae songs that also sing those words?  Are they racist too?  Well, if that is your (MIS)interpretation, then perhaps you would be more comfortable with hippies?

This is why we AFRIKAN (and ORIGINAL) RASTAS get offended at such nonsense from a people who want the goodies (good vibes, ganga, one love bizzness) of Rastafari but RUN from the TRUE EXPERIENCE (resistance to european supremacy), which as Europeans, they can never feel.

When His Majesty tells the WORLD that WE AFRIKANS WILL CONTINUE TO FIGHT until there are equal rights and justice for all men under the sun, is he racist too?

ROOTS
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