It makes sense that White people use completely illogical arguments to derail conversations about racism, because the current racial hierarchy reinforces White dominance and “White privilege”– so they benefit from it. What makes absolutely no sense is large swaths of Black people co-opting illogical and fallacious claims that reinforce stereotypes and the system of racism that threatens Black, and thus their own advancement.
This happens because Black people are not spared of the propaganda used to justify, excuse and even enable racism and White supremacy. Many have internalized these notions, reinforcing self-hate/ Black hate and readily spew these beliefs when discussions about race or racism arise. This undermines our struggle and history in a way so deeply troublesome and destructive to the Black psyche and Black community. For that reason, it is incredibly important to challenge such misinformation and provide both accurate and historical explanations for the current state of the Black community.
Here are some counterarguments to the most pervasive and disturbing arguments raised by Black people in support of racism and White supremacy.
1. “If Black people did not sag their pants or dress ‘ghetto’, they’d be treated differently.”
2. “It is not about race, it is about class.”
3. “Let’s not talk about the past, slavery is over.”
4. “What’s keeping Black people down is talking about race/racism.”
5. “Black people need to stop being lazy and living off of welfare.”
The majority of Black people are not recipients of welfare and are indeed employed. Even fewer individuals are dependent on welfare, because it is nearly impossible to be. President Clinton reformed the United State’s welfare program back in 1996 with a piece of legislation called the “Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act” that imposed a five-year limitation on cash payouts to the poor and created additional requirements in order to qualify as a recipient, including proof of employment search.
6. “The Black community does not have any dignity or self-respect.”
7. “It’s Hip-hop destroying the Black community.”
8. “Slavery saved Black people from African savagery.”
9. “Black people are the number one killer of Black people. When we stop killing one another, we will be respected.”
10. “Black people need to stop blaming the ‘White man’ and take responsibility for themselves.”
When some Blacks were able to break away and form their own independent communities, some of which became very successful like Tulsa, Oklahoma (otherwise known as “Black Wallstreet”), White terrorists destroyed the city including 600 successful businesses, killing men, women and children and burning residences. By the time the government intervened, practically the entire town had been destroyed.
Today, despite attempts to own homes and start small business, Black people encounter roadblocks every step of the way. A study commissioned by the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy, found that even after controlling for credit score, Black and Hispanic entrepreneurs were less likely to qualify for loans– this inequality worsened during the financial crisis. Other studies have also found that Black families were more likely to be offered subprime, predatory loans that are easy to default on because of sky-rocketing interests rates after the first five years, despite qualifying for normal loans.
These examples speak to a system that disallows Black advancement and self-reliance, despite every attempt on the part of the Black community to realize that goal.
This piece was reprinted by EmpathyEducates with the kind permission of the Author. We thank Tiffanie Drayton for another powerful and thought provoking essay.