I have been sitting on this for some time following a conversation with a friend. He asked if I knew about a backlash against so-called reverse racism. A recent headline from the Rightwing, race-baiting website Infowars brings the issue into sharp focus “Black Student Assaults White Hippy for ‘Appropriating’ Dreadlocks..” The video is a bit less shocking than the headline. To be honest, in the age of micro-aggressions, a young white kid, sort of cartoonishly “down” with a hip hop demeanor was being bullied by two Black students, one male and one female.
From a historical point of view no one gets to lay claim to dreds. Samson, of the Bible fame had dreds. Hindus and Buddhists have worn dreds. In fact, every culture has some dred history, so give it a rest, everyone. More common, more immediate, possibly more endemic to modern or recent Black culture, but there certainly is no monopoly. But that is just part of this.
The point of that earlier conversation, not coincidentally in the age of Trump, police shooting revelations and neo-Jim Crow racist rhetoric, are anecdotal stories about Blacks and minorities engaged in a backlash against Whites, including Whites who otherwise stand with Blacks and minorities over race, oppression and immigration issues. I know it to be the case. I have felt the sting of being called racist for simply disagreeing with fellow activists. There is a reactionary side to the Left every bit as oppressive and regressive as the Right. I am not in this fight to simply trade one form of oppression for another; to trade one oppressor for another.
That said, White privilege is real, and a certain gut check level by Whites is critical. Revolution isn’t clean or pretty, and it is always painful. The danger is that by over-reacting to the reactionary outrage of allies in the struggle for fairness and equality that we become tools of the very real current and historic system of White oppression. Critical that we all check our innate primitive penchant to dominate others, and that we work to that better far horizon. Perspective and humility on all sides are imperative, and a little understanding and sensitivity as we learn the power of love over hate is what saves us.
What we are finding in all of this media driven insanity is that there is an incredible force here. That force intends to separate us from one another, and it does so with a mixture of marketing precision and pure social pressure. It wants you to believe you are alone, besieged and in the fight of your life. You are in a fight, but not alone. The media, that system of hate and division wants you to be alone. Stand against that.