Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Patterns, Responsibility, and Gaslighting

For those times when you're asked if (or told that) Black Lives Matter is responsible for violence against police, including the two cops killed in New York City last year and the recent death of a sheriff's deputy in Texas, this is the response. It's from Brittney Cooper, writing for Salon:

How is it that two mentally ill Black men targeting police officers constitutes a pattern, but the killing of Walter Scott, the killing of Samuel Dubose, and the killing of Jonathan Ferrell, all by police while they were clearly unarmed and committing no crimes, add up to a collection of unrelated, isolated incidents?

How is it that the random acts of two mentally unstable Black men who had no formal or informal relationship with the Black Lives Matter movement constitute a trend, but the two dozen police killings of unarmed Black citizens again remain a collection of unfortunate but isolated incidents?
Cooper goes on to discuss the concept of "gaslighting," which I confess I was unfamiliar with. And shows how it fits the all-too common white response to Black Lives Matter.
Such accusations, whether stated or implied, are designed to put Black people on the defensive. We are then supposed to prove that we are both human and humane, non-violent, empathetic, and non-dangerous. We are supposed to prove to white people that we are good people, that we are not a threat, that we mean them no harm. Never mind the harm that many of them have caused us. More than all that, we are not “reverse racists.”
 Lots more to think about in the links.

1 comment:

Gina said...

I've not been able to write about this subject yet. It upsets me way too much right now. I first became truly aware of my parents' racism when I was in high school and they tried to stop me from babysitting for a Black family -- both parents were college professors. I remember telling them that their money was worth just as much as anyone else's and it was my babysitting business, not theirs. After that, I began to wonder if I were racist and concluded that I must be if my parents were. It's very subtle, I think. My father preached always: "Treat everyone with the same respect no matter who they are" while at the same time insisting that we could have only WASP friends. Over the years I've worked on my own attitudes and beliefs, but I still catch myself on occasion. Although I have to say, I recently saw an unsavory White guy on the bus and sat as far away as I could. Unsavory or threatening can know no color or be defined by skin color in my mind. I still think I have a long way to go to dig out all my parents' racist attitudes and beliefs that they passed on to me.....