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  1. #1
    Senior Member TexasCowgirl's Avatar
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    Why White People Are Afraid (Have barf bag ready)

    Can you believe this guy is a professor at a University? In America????


    Why White People Are Afraid

    By Robert Jensen, AlterNet. Posted June 7, 2006.


    What do white people have to be afraid of in a world structured on white privilege? Their own fears.

    The Heart of Whiteness, by Robert Jensen (City Lights, 2006).


    It may seem self-indulgent to talk about the fears of white people in a white-supremacist society. After all, what do white people really have to be afraid of in a world structured on white privilege? It may be self-indulgent, but it's critical to understand because these fears are part of what keeps many white people from confronting ourselves and the system.

    The first, and perhaps most crucial, fear is that of facing the fact that some of what we white people have is unearned. It's a truism that we don't really make it on our own; we all have plenty of help to achieve whatever we achieve. That means that some of what we have is the product of the work of others, distributed unevenly across society, over which we may have little or no control individually. No matter how hard we work or how smart we are, we all know -- when we are honest with ourselves -- that we did not get where we are by merit alone. And many white people are afraid of that fact.

    A second fear is crasser: White people's fear of losing what we have -- literally the fear of losing things we own if at some point the economic, political, and social systems in which we live become more just and equitable. That fear is not completely irrational; if white privilege -- along with the other kinds of privilege many of us have living in the middle class and above in an imperialist country that dominates much of the rest of the world -- were to evaporate, the distribution of resources in the United States and in the world would change, and that would be a good thing. We would have less. That redistribution of wealth would be fairer and more just. But in a world in which people have become used to affluence and material comfort, that possibility can be scary.

    A third fear involves a slightly different scenario -- a world in which non-white people might someday gain the kind of power over whites that whites have long monopolized. One hears this constantly in the conversation about immigration, the lingering fear that somehow "they" (meaning not just Mexican-Americans and Latinos more generally, but any non-white immigrants) are going to keep moving to this country and at some point become the majority demographically.

    Even though whites likely can maintain a disproportionate share of wealth, those numbers will eventually translate into political, economic, and cultural power. And then what? Many whites fear that the result won't be a system that is more just, but a system in which white people become the minority and could be treated as whites have long treated non-whites. This is perhaps the deepest fear that lives in the heart of whiteness. It is not really a fear of non-white people. It's a fear of the depravity that lives in our own hearts: Are non-white people capable of doing to us the barbaric things we have done to them?

    A final fear has probably always haunted white people but has become more powerful since the society has formally rejected overt racism: The fear of being seen, and seen-through, by non-white people. Virtually every white person I know, including white people fighting for racial justice and including myself, carries some level of racism in our minds and hearts and bodies. In our heads, we can pretend to eliminate it, but most of us know it is there. And because we are all supposed to be appropriately anti-racist, we carry that lingering racism with a new kind of fear: What if non-white people look at us and can see it? What if they can see through us? What if they can look past our anti-racist vocabulary and sense that we still don't really know how to treat them as equals? What if they know about us what we don't dare know about ourselves? What if they can see what we can't even voice?

    I work in a large university with a stated commitment to racial justice. All of my faculty colleagues, even the most reactionary, have a stated commitment to racial justice. And yet the fear is palpable.

    It is a fear I have struggled with, and I remember the first time I ever articulated that fear in public. I was on a panel with several other professors at the University of Texas discussing race and politics in the O.J. Simpson case. Next to me was an African American professor. I was talking about media; he was talking about the culture's treatment of the sexuality of black men. As we talked, I paid attention to what was happening in me as I sat next to him. I felt uneasy. I had no reason to be uncomfortable around him, but I wasn't completely comfortable. During the question-and-answer period -- I don't remember what question sparked my comment -- I turned to him and said something like, "It's important to talk about what really goes on between black and white people in this country. For instance, why am I feeling afraid of you? I know I have no reason to be afraid, but I am. Why is that?"

    My reaction wasn't a crude physical fear, not some remnant of being taught that black men are dangerous (though I have had such reactions to black men on the street in certain circumstances). Instead, I think it was that fear of being seen through by non-white people, especially when we are talking about race. In that particular moment, for a white academic on an O.J. panel, my fear was of being exposed as a fraud or some kind of closet racist.

    Even if I thought I knew what I was talking about and was being appropriately anti-racist in my analysis, I was afraid that some lingering trace of racism would show through, and that my black colleague would identify it for all in the room to see. After I publicly recognized the fear, I think I started to let go of some of it. Like anything, it's a struggle. I can see ways in which I have made progress. I can see that in many situations I speak more freely and honestly as I let go of the fear. I make mistakes, but as I become less terrified of making mistakes I find that I can trust my instincts more and be more open to critique when my instincts are wrong.


    Robert Jensen is a journalism professor at the University of Texas at Austin. He is the author of, most recently, The Heart of Whiteness: Confronting Race, Racism and White Privilege (City Lights Books), from which this essay is excerpted.
    http://www.alternet.org/story/36892/?page=1

    There are comments o'plenty at the link above......
    The John McCain Call Center
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  2. #2
    Senior Member TexasCowgirl's Avatar
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    BIOGRAPHY
    Robert Jensen teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in media law, ethics, and politics. Prior to his academic career, he worked as a professional journalist for a decade. In his research, Jensen draws on a variety of critical theories. Much of his work has focused on pornography and the radical feminist critique of sexuality. In more recent work, he has addressed questions of race through a critique of white privilege and institutionalized racism. Jensen is author of "Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity" (South End Press, 2007); "The Heart of Whiteness: Confronting Race, Racism and White Privilege" (City Lights Books, 2005); "Citizens of the Empire: The Struggle to Claim Our Humanity" (City Lights, 2004); "Writing Dissent: Taking Radical Ideas from the Margins to the Mainstream" (Peter Lang, 2001); co-author with Gail Dines and Ann Russo of "Pornography: The Production and Consumption of Inequality" (Routledge, 199; and co-editor with David S. Allen of "Freeing the First Amendment: Critical Perspectives on Freedom of Expression" (New York University Press, 1995). In addition to teaching and research, Jensen writes for popular media, both alternative and mainstream. His opinion and analytic pieces on such subjects as foreign policy, politics, and race have appeared in papers around the country. He also is involved in a number of activist groups working against U.S. military and economic domination of the rest of the world.
    www.utexas.edu/opa/experts/profile.php?id=210

    Here's a quick analysis, he's a self-hating, closet perv that was rejected by every attractive girl in high school plus he hates his mother.

    Looks like we have found another......

    The John McCain Call Center
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  3. #3
    Senior Member redbadger's Avatar
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    Yeah these are the kinds of people that destroyed my once grand city...the once heart of Texas...dead from Massive Coronary brought on by chonic transplant a-hole disease
    Never look at another flag. Remember, that behind Government, there is your country, and that you belong to her as you do belong to your own mother. Stand by her as you would stand by your own mother

  4. #4
    Senior Member americangirl's Avatar
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    I'm stunned by this man's words. Clearly he has issues....
    Calderon was absolutely right when he said...."Where there is a Mexican, there is Mexico".

  5. #5
    Senior Member IndianaJones's Avatar
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    Why is he allowed to speak for others? By what ability does he know what 'whites' fear? He is speaking for himself and has no right whatever to speak for me or for whites in general. THAT is a big part of what is wrong with his country, imbeciles charading as intellectuals. The guy is a self-loathing WEASEL.
    We are NOT a nation of immigrants!

  6. #6
    Senior Member TexasCowgirl's Avatar
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    He must be one of those extreme liberals who say and write inflamatory things for the sake of getting attention. Plus, he's probably never been laid.
    The John McCain Call Center
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  7. #7
    Senior Member Dixie's Avatar
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    Self-loathing is a terrible thing.

    Dixie
    Join our efforts to Secure America's Borders and End Illegal Immigration by Joining ALIPAC's E-Mail Alerts network (CLICK HERE)

  8. #8
    Senior Member redpony353's Avatar
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    YES HE HAS ISSUES. THIS IS HIS FEAR AND HE IS PROJECTING IT ONTO ALL WHITE PEOPLE. ARENT WHITE PEOPLE ALREADY A MINORITY IN THE WORLD OVERALL? I THINK THAT HAS ALWAYS BEEN TRUE.
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  9. #9
    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    That redistribution of wealth would be fairer and more just.
    Socialist too!
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  10. #10
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    "For a creative writer possession of the "truth" is less important than emotional sincerity." - George Orwell
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