A White Guy’s Primer On Racism
By Marc Kohler
This Pamphlet is Dedicated to my father,
Who taught me about stubbornness
Character, and racism
To Randall Ashe.
Who taught me more than I could learn About Black, White, and all between,
Brought me to where I am today.
And to all those who Have come before me
Who have guided me to where I am
With their actions, thoughts, speeches, poems,
Ideas, suffering, determination, and guts.
Contents(Page numbers refer to pamphlet)
Introduction. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
What Does History Say?. . . . . . . . .6
What Does Science Say?. . . . . . . . .10
What Does God Say?. . . . . . . . . . . . 12
How Did We Become Such a Racist Nation? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
What can a White Guy Do?. . . . . . . .15
What can You Do Today?. . . . . . . . .16
Footnotes and Other Books. . . . . . 20
Introduction Over the past year, I have been fighting racism, incompetence, and fraud in the Providence School Department. Up until now, I have not been active in this “social/political” world. I was declared disabled in 2000 due to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Clinical Depression, and a history of being fired from seven jobs because I objected actively to their immoral and illegal practices. Some would say that I am just a spoiled wealthy White Guy who has used the “system” to his advantage. Others might suggest that my maladies are real, and that
they have helped me become the person that I am today.
A friend challenged me recently about this struggle saying that it was “arrogant” for a “White” person to speak for any minority population. She said that it offended her if I said, “African-Americans will do X…” So, in most cases in this essay, I am repeating what was said to me by
specific people in specific places at specific times.
If I overstep my bounds, then you will have to accept my flaws, but if I hit any bull’s-eyes, then the “misses” would have made it worth the effort.
NOTE: In this essay, I use “Black’, “Black Americans”, and “African-American” interchangeably, but these are odd words. For instance, there is an established population of African-African Americans who were born and raised in Africa, and have dark skin. So, if you bear with me, most of the words that we all use to deal with the problems of racism are, in fact, out-moded and in many ways corrupt. The term “Caucasian” was invented when a sociologist stated that ALL the races of the world were contained in seven categories before 19001. Science has since proved that his distinctions were completely inaccurate, unscientific, and racist. Despite this, we continue to use the term “Caucasian” as if it meant something, when it expresses nothing. For the purposes of this essay, I prefer to use the term, European-Americans to describe people with light skin. Of course, this, too, is a limited term, since “light-skinned” people come from all over the world, too. So, granted my own confusion, I hope this adds to yours.
My suspicion is that much of what I am writing here will offend many people. For that I am sorry. My intention is to plant the seeds to change our racism which has been with us forever, must to come to an end, has been supported by our selective history educations, a drag on our nation’s ability to move ahead, been debunked by science, and obliterated by my personal experience over these last 54 years. You see, I am working for reconciliation, harmony, and the end to Racism in America. Still, you will probably see me attacked and criticized.
The point is that what or who I am is of little importance. The only thing important is my message which is that prejudice, racism, and active racism is over.
As a puppeteer, I have worked in every imaginable environment—Catholic Schools and Churches, Temples, Synagogues, Jewish Community Centers, Hispanic Centers, Inner City Recreation Centers, suburban and inner city schools, and the homes of the rich, not so rich and the poor. What struck me was that I met no one who did not have problems with their parents, or their lovers or spouses, their neighbors, their pasts or their futures. In fact, everywhere I went people worried about the same things with sometimes different names (For example: The Rabbi, Priest, Minister who is “right”, “wrong”, “lazy”, “careless” or “wonderful”) We are all much more alike than different, more similar than dissimilar, and more the same then you know. It is our very similarities which make racism pointless and counterproductive for us as individuals and as a nation. Marc Kohler, January 2002.
What Does History Say?
If I told you that you know nothing about the history of the world for the past two hundred years, you would most likely be insulted, but let me ask you some questions in order to discover the areas that your education has failed you:
- How many people did Hitler kill in concentration camps?
- a) Six million
- b) Six million Jews and one million others
- c) Six million Jews and three million others
- d) Six million Jews and four million others
The answer is D)2. Yes, four million “others” were murdered as well. Why do we not know this? I do not know. My guess is that there was not one racial, national, or ethnic category that represents these four million people. That is, they were Christians, blacks, socialists, democrats, republicans, nationalists, pacifists, Greeks, Slavs, Italians, French, Spanish, Germans, Russians, women, men, children, homosexuals, heterosexuals, educated, uneducated, and…and…and, well you get my point—four million people. In fact, all of these distinctions also apply to those six million who were called “Jews” since this term was often applied to people whom the Gestapo just did not like. So, if anyone asks, Hitler exterminated ten million human beings.
- How many people did the Japanese kill during their invasion and occupation of Korea, Manchuria, and Chinafrom 1930-1945?
- a) 500,000
- b) One Million
- c) Ten Million
- d) Thirty Million
The answer is D)3 again. “Thirty Million”—no, you did not know that. Why, most likely because to this day historians have hid this fact, Japanese educators drop it out of history books, and because there has been lots of reasons why we “good old Americans” have not wanted to bring up this “problem”.
So, get the picture, millions of people died under Stalin, Moa Tse Tung, in Cambodia, and many other countries. Mass Murder based on race, creed, or any other excuse has been part and parcel of world history.
Was mass murder a new idea in 1930?
Hitler has been quoted as saying that the mass murder of Armenians gave him his excuse for thinking he could “get away” with it, too. This is not true. Yes, Hitler may have mentioned the Armenians, but mass murder was intrinsic to the colonial empires of the late Nineteenth Century on a scale that you simply will not comprehend.
2.How many people in the world died from 1860 to 1920 as a result of colonialism, the El Nino droughts, and Europeans hatred of other men, women, and children who were “different”, “in the way”, or “nor working fast enough”?
- a) 30 million
- b) 50 million
- c) 75 million
- d) 65-120 million
It’s D)4 again! Now, when were Hitler and Allen Dulles born? 1889 and 1893, respectively. Therefore, as teenagers, they were aware of these massacres, genocides, and horrific crimes because the atrocities were reported in the press throughout the world. It was not only general knowledge; it was considered “no big deal”. Why did Theodore Roosevelt ask what we should do about the “White Man’s Burden”? 5 First and foremost, he knew that suffering was occurring on a scale never before seen in the world, and he thought mistakenly that his skin color actually made the difference. The only difference was that European and American colonial powers had the technology for lethal force, and used it with abandon, entertainment, and genocidal success throughout Asia, South America, Africa, North America, and any where else in the world where they wanted to—ultimately against their own people!
For every dollar that King Leopold spent in the Congo, he (not his nation or national treasury since he “owned” the Congo in the same way that you own your clothes) received back five dollars—a 500% return on investment. Oh, there were costs. The population of the Congo dropped from twenty million people in 1880 to ten million in 19206. Civilizations that had existed for thousands of years were literally wiped off of the map in a mere forty years. Have amends been made for this? No. Will they ever be made? No, but this pamphlet’s purpose is start a discussion of making amends. This pamphlet is about describing what is real, how we got here, and what the heck we are going to do about it.
What if Hitler had only paid “lip service” to his “Final Solution”, and kept the people he wanted dead alive and well enough to contribute to the economic and intellectual life of Germany? Germany would have won the war, and we would be speaking German. You see, his destruction of such a large amount of human capital destroyed his very chance to succeed. So, if you want and need to oppress a people for economic success and security, here is we can learn from Uncle Adolph:
- Keep them alive (barely), keep them housed (minimally), and create the illusion that they are participants in your society even though they are prevented from owning property.
- Stigmatize them with images, which you know a false and misleading, that you “feed” to the public with every form of communication possible.
- As the sufferings of this oppressed group continues, make drugs and alcohol readily available to alleviate the stress and secure their image as “ne’er-do-wells”. Let prostitution flourish.
- Figure out a way to contain the oppressed people in limited geographic areas in order to provide you with the maximum of control with the least investment of resources.
- Like Hitler, you will have to use “Lethal Force”, “Extreme Prejudice”, “Executive Action”, or whatever term you want to use for officially condoned murder. Mix in riots, lynchings, maiming, starving, and other physical distress just to keep the pot brewing in your favor. Kill not only their leaders, but the man on the street as well. Use the young oppressed against the old. Pit workers against students—make sure, no one finds out what you are doing—then, you will out-do Hitler—no, you won’t need gas chambers when you have thousands of acres of red-lined neighborhoods are available to you.
- Pit Blacks (Who you hate) against Jews (Who you hate) against homosexuals (Who you hate) against workers (Who you hate) against Teachers (Who you hate), and then you can change your name from Adolph Hitler to Allen Dulles.7
What Does Science Say?
Science? Yes, how does science describe, explain, and define human existence and race?
Again, since this is a pamphlet, so this is going to go by real fast. How are human beings made? Well, the sperm from a male human fertilizes an egg of a woman human. In fact, we have become adept at not even requiring bodies for this process. Still, what is the “it” that happens in this union—well, the DNA from the woman merges with the DNA from the man to create a “new” independent creature—a fetus. This “fetus”, if circumstances allow, will “grow” into a human being. Again, what determines what this fetus will become? First and primarily, DNA. Alter the DNA, and you alter the future person. Remove the DNA, and you have no person. Certainly pre-natal care, nutrition, and health of the mother will impact on the health of the child.
Now, please sit down, ‘cause this is the thing science has proven—all humans are 99.999% exactly the same8. Only one one hundred thousandth of our DNA determines our sex, skin color, facial structure, hair color, skeletal size, foot size, etc.etc.etc. I am suggesting that declaring that humans are “different” would be like claiming differences in two houses built exactly the same way from 100,000 bricks each, and making the observation that one of the bricks (one and only one) was different from one other brick in the other house. Even an unreasonable person could see that what we are as human beings has nothing to do with what we see, but has everything to do with how we are built..
Let’s look at “seeing” itself for a second. Hinduism teaches that the world is all “Maya”, not real and only an illusion of God’s expression into our world of the senses. These Hindus might be right. Rub your thumb and finger together; you think that the thumb touches the finger. Such is not the case, though. According to science, what is happening is that the atoms in the thumb have the same electrical charge as those in your finger. Therefore, they push away at each other. You “feel” it only because the electrical/nerve path from your hand to you brain “tells” you that touch is occurring. Therefore, when you see an object, you can see only within the limits of the light being reflected from the object that you are looking at. So, what is real is not, it is just an incredible arrangement of atoms and molecules.
It sounds absurd, but we are nothing more and nothing less than beings that convert heat and fuel into energy and electrical impulses. All of this occurs at a level that you and I cannot see, cannot touch, and least of all, cannot judge. Who is to say that the electrical/biological activity in one human body is better or superior to another human being? The fact is that “better”, “superior”, and such refers to only what we can see and touch, not anywhere near what we really, actually, and scientifically are. Our actual selves are nothing, and they are everything. Anything else is window dressing. Skin, material goods, housing, clothes, restaurants, sports events, grades, schools, offices, hair fashions, deodorant are all irrelevant to who and what we are. Why? Because if we accepted the truth about ourselves, we would give up this insane civilization, make apologies to millions of “primitive” people that our ancestors and we (3 million people have been murdered in the Congo over the past five years, and you and I have heard NOTHING about it) murdered and start everything all over.
Science is unforgiving on this point: We are not our brothers’ keepers we ARE our brothers and sisters except for 001 %!
What does God Say?
This one is easy. All religions that I have studied teach that hatred and rage, if tolerated at all, are worthy of God, but not of man. Judaism, Christianity, Islam, BaHai, Mormonism, Catholicism, Zen, Hinduism, Wicca, and many that I cannot think of teach that peace and harmony are the goals of human life. Jesus, who was a Gnostic Jew9, said, “You should love your neighbor”, the exact words from Leviticus (19:18). He said “Love”—not “like”, not “tolerate”, not “understand”. The commandment is uncompromising. I would add, “Love first, and ask questions later”.
The White Aryan “Christian” Identity Movement represents the antithesis of everything that is holy, and if you sit and do nothing about it, then you are their ally, and that is why racism grows every day in America—not because of those idiots, but because of our silence.
How Did we Become Such a Racist Nation?
Here, the answer is easy—people of color stand out. The darker your skin color, the more you stand out in America. William Glasser10 suggested that to be mentally healthy, a human must be able to love, have the ability to be loved, and must live by a code. Sounds simple, but men like Abraham Maslow suggested that we need more—we need to “self-actualize”11, one of the stupidest terms ever invented. No human has ever self-actualized or actualized alone ever in the history of the world. First, we need air pressure, balanced molecules, gravity, oxygen, friction (Where WOULD we be without friction?), and a billion other particles, molecules, and fellow humans and animals and trees just to stay alive. Does Nietzsche’s Superman where pants? If he does, then in what style are they cut? The clothed person is immediately the acculturated person—they have a past, they have language (which limits their ability to express those things for which their language has no words) they have parents, a history, their forbearers and their forbearers’ choices, and…and…NO PERSON IS AN ISLAND, WE ARE ALL HERE NOW TOGETHER, AND WE WERE BROUGHT HERE BY OUR MUTUAL PAST.
So, let’s learn some more history. After the Civil War, the lives of freed slaves were extremely difficult. Sharecropping was less reliable than plantation life. If former slaves moved, they encountered racism everywhere they went. Violence against Blacks continued just as it had BEFORE the Civil War, or as Southerners insist, “The War Between the States”.
Riots, lynchings, burnings, maimings, and torture, started long before the War and have stayed with us ever since. Just look it up. Our amnesia is no excuse for stupidity. “These (riots) were also acts of outright repression, usually surrounding slavery and abolition…During this time, 70% of America’s cities holding 20,000 or more people experienced major civil disorder. There were 147 riots in 1835 alone…they covered the gamut of mob activity. 35 were against abolitionists, 11 in response to imagined slave insurrections, 15 of them were race riots: 11 against blacks, 3 to help fugitive slaves, and one by blacks…”12
From 1870-1920, though, many Black communities rose up all across our country. The middle class black professional was not an exception. A parallel universe existed. In Wilmington, North Carolina, by 1898, the Blacks outnumbered Whites 14,000 to 10,000, and the city offices were being integrated led by Fusionists, Republicans, and Progressives. On November 10, 1898, a planned “riot” by the Democrats brought flames to the Black community, death to Blacks and Whites, and the Black population dropped to below 9,000. The newly elected Mayor and City Counsel were thrown out of office—no, this was not a riot—it was a coup.14 You probably do not know it, but the depression t from 1895-1905 was, in many ways, worse than the Crash of 1929. Whites suffered tremendously from economic forces over which they had no control. These established Black hamlets became the targets of their frustrations. A whole viable way of life, an American Way of Life, was destroyed and murdered intentionally.11
Then, after the Depression, the banking system was in shambles. One way to rebuild was to prevent individuals from having too much control of any single banking enterprise. This would mean new banking laws, new banking corporations, and a new “thriftiness” The core of this “new thriftiness” was Redlining. Lending institutions all over the country drew red lines around poor and/or marginal neighborhoods. At the time, these neighborhoods were poor Irish Americans, poor Italian Americans, poor French Americans, poor Polish Americans, poor African Americans, poor German Americans, and any other immigrant populations. Red lining meant that no private mortgages could be written to ANYONE on properties within these lines. With the deft
flip of a pen, American banks commercialized thousands and thousands of acres of land without one zoning board meeting, without one legislative act, and without the consent or approval of the governed.13
If a private mortgage cannot be written for a property, then it can either not be sold (vacant properties) or sold for cash (Absentee landlords). Drive around any urban community, and you can tell exactly where these “RED LINES” were drawn. This system of the direct destruction of our neighborhoods lasted well in to the 1970s, over forty years. Today, it still occurs, and even though it has been outlawed, it remains the number one reason why we have segregated poor ghettoes filled with minority and poor Americans.
What can a White Guy like me do?
To me, this is a funny question. If the Genome Project is right, then I am 99.999% human and only .001% “white”. So, we need to truly identify the problem. You see, minority individuals have no real or intrinsic problems. We, the bums on top, create the problems for them. It is sad, but the darker your skin color, the odds of you being in the bottom echelon of your society anywhere in the world is high. No, people should not have to fight for their rights. Rights are rights, and nothing, not skin color, cranium shape, hair color, or any other irrelevant aspect of a persons physiology should deprive a person of their rights. Yes, through the legal process, individuals can “lose” certain rights. Yes, they can be imprisoned. Still, seriously, I have yet to attend the court sessions where it was declared that if you were not a “White American”, you had lost you rights.
Therefore, if I see a person practicing racism, why can’t I stand up and say, “HEY! THAT’S WRONG.” You see, if the person being victimized is a person of color, a disabled American, or a person who stutters, it does not matter. What is wrong is wrong is wrong is wrong. That’s all there is. Prejudice and racism make our resources as a nation less than what they would be without them. We are a “smaller” society if we stand by and do nothing about the wrongs right in front of our eyes. So, yes, we White Guys and Gals can work seriously for equal rights for all Americans. In fact, if you become aware of child abuse, you are breaking the law if you do not do something about it.
When you and I look at an person who is “not-white”, we cannot help but fall back on all of our trained, conditioned, compulsive, knee-JERK, foolish, short-sighted, absurd, and unscientific ways. No matter what the courts decide, or what the police can do, or any other law enforcement agency can do, it is up to us to change—we are wrong. We are wrong. We have been wrong for centuries and centuries. We are wrong when we get up in the morning, and when we go to bed at night. We sit back and make all-white television shows the highpoint of our week.
What CAN You Do Right Now?
- Stop hating. No, I mean it. Stop hating anyone that you hate. Hate is, in fact, nothing more than the inability to gain perspective and potency in your relationship with your world and the people in it. You hate your sister because she brought dandelions to your wedding twenty-five years ago, but the real reason has do with your mutual and somewhat confused relationship with your drunkard mother-beating father. All hatred is corrupt at the root. Problems are solved, even on the battlefield, without hatred. The best fighters and doers fight and do FOR things, not against others.
- Realize that if you have prejudice or racist feelings, realize that you are being used. By whom? First, by the forces and people who are in control. Reactionary corporate forces to divert attention from what they were doing on a national and international level created both the violent racist movement and the violent anti-abortion. You are being used the same way that Romanian Dictator used the “farmers” when he brought them in to club protestors. The Klan kept the Democrats and plantation owners in power in the South. Remember the mob (disgruntled White Democrats) burned out, and murdered the black citizens of Wilmington, North Carolinabecause the majority of the city was Black, Republican, or Progressive.
- Make a friend who is of a different color than you. That is “friend”, not “acquaintance”, not “neighbor”, and definitely not the “I have a Black friend” friend. Why not adopt people who are different than you.
- Acknowledge the theft and destruction of resources, ideas, creations, lives, hopes, dreams, religions, values, social structures, and ways of life of millions and millions of indigenous peoples throughout the world over the past five hundred years. Support the idea of turning Columbus Day into Columbus-Taino Day to honor the Taino tribe that disappeared from the face of the earth after the arrival of the three little ships. Support reparations and engage those who don’t with the question: How many more millions must die before we make things right? Look, Elvis Presley became what he became because the record companies wanted a “back voice” without the “black skin”. The Charlestonstarted at the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem.
- Patronize local stores. Stop supporting large chains. Realize that small business, locally owned and operated, has been and will always be the rock bed of prosperity for our country. This way, people of every color can pursue their dreams by owning their own businesses. Put McDonalds, Wal-Mart, and all the rest out of business. Pay a bit more to save more over the long term.
- Go live or spend a lot of time in the local “ghetto”. No, it is not so far away either in distance or in style. Find out first hand what it is like to live in a world complete and totally structured against you. Realize that the “ghetto” is not really a ghetto for one color—realize that ALL colored people live in our poor neighborhoods, and they ALL need your help, power, potency, and wealth. They cannot do it on their own. Too much of the deck has been stacked against them. This is NOT their fault. It is our forbearers fault, and here and now, we can start to reverse and make amends for what they have done not to the ethnic populations but to us, and our world—think of the thousands upon thousands of people who could have or would have contributed directly to your life, and your happiness, and your dreams if, if ,if they had been given one chance to do so!
- Take a local person of color to the bank and see if you can help them get a business loan. You will be shocked at what you hear and see. You will simply not believe it.
- Give up your political views, and commit todiscovering
the truth about the history of the United States. Find out that every time Lincoln ordered a Draft, hundreds of Blacks died in riots in major cities in the north—Yes, the Civil War was about and only about about slavery—nothing else is accurate.
- Start acting color-blind. When you meet a new person look them in the eye. Shake their hand. Listen intently to what they have to say. Think more about them than yourself. Consider immediately not “What can this person do for me”, but rather think: “What can I do for this person.” Soon, faces will look differently to you. Even your friends will look different. You will see pain and joy that you have never seen before. You will, in fact, become responsible (The ability to respond authentically to the people and the world around you.) In this way, you will discover the wealth that you possess in your soul, and the wealth you have in your family and loved ones, the wealth, and potency you can bring to you friends and community. Without adding one penny to your bank account, you will become one of the richest people in the world. Here is a real stretch: If your children are grown, adopt a bright high school student who has no support, and provide for him or her as if they were your own child. (Ghandho sggested this to a Hindu family adopting an Islamic orphan, that they bring hp, up in a Islamic way)
Well, I have more ideas, but I am running out of space. I guess the idea I want to impress upon you is that all the people who you think are different are not different. Know that volunteerism and your personal choices will make more of a difference than any government program. Volunteerism is, and has always been the source of real change for centuries—the first doctors and nurses were volunteers! Racism is just an uninformed, lazy way of looking at the world. Stop racism, and you move towards spiritual wealth beyond your wildest dreams. There are millions of people who have been shut out of America—welcome them in, do it every day, and your children and their children and their children will thank you!
Footnotes and Other Books:
1.R.I. College/RI Committee on the Humanities Project, The Black Experience publishing details not available, approx. 1985.
2.Grun, Bernard The Timetables of History, A Horizontal Linkage of People and Events, p. 524, Touchstone, Simon and Schuster: 1982.
Chang, Iris, The Rape of Nanking, The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II, Basic Books, 1997
- Davis, Mike, The Late Victorian Holocausts; El Nino Famines, and the Making of the Third World, Verso Books: 2001.(Must read)
- Roosevelt, Theodore, “Burden of the White Man” reprinted inThe Life Story of Theodore Roosevelt, His Principles and Policies by Charles Morris, The John C. Winton Co.: 1909.
- Hochschild, Adam, King Leopold’s Ghost, Houghton Mifflin 1999
- Prescott Bush was convicted of acting as a Nazi Collaborator in the 40s, and Allen Dulles recovered all of his money in 1951. John Foster Dulles and Allen Dulles were the two most powerful men in Americain the 50s, and Allen most likely ordered the killing of John Kennedy. There is much for you to read in this area, but if I were you, I would start with The Secret War Against the Jews, How Western Espionage Betrayed the Jewish Peopleby John Loftus and Mark Aarons, St, Martins Press: 1997.
- See: http://www.ornal.gov/hgmis/publicat/primer2001/4.html,Genome Project and Its impact on Medicine and Society: 2001 Primer.
- The Five Gospels, The Search for the Authentic Words of Jesus,by Hover Funk and the Jesus Seminar, Maxwell McMillan International: 1993 10. Glasser, William, Reality Therapy, Harper & Row, New York, 1965
- Maslow, Abraham h., Towards a Psychology of Being,V. Nostrand
12.Smead, Howard, CIVIL DISORDER, http://www.lousiville.edu/
provost/womenctr/civil.htmlRun “race riots” or “Wilmington Riot” on the net. Best: http://chss2.montclair.edu/schwartsl/BN/wilmington.html
- Articles and books about “Red Lining” are plentiful.
- Smead, Ibid.
Other Books of Interest:
Hitler’s Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust, by Daniel Joseph Goldhagen, Vintage Books, 1997.(must read #2)
The Simple Stories in various volumes by Langston Hughes-and any other works by Mr. Hughes.
The Denial of Death and Birth and Death of Meaning, Ernest Becker
Love is To be Happy With by Barry N. Kaufman.
The First and Last Freedom, J. Krishnamurti
I Have a Dream, Writings and Speeches by Martin Luther King, Jr.
Clarence Darrow for the Defense by Irving Stone
Writings and Speeches of Eugene V. Debs, by E.V.Debs
The Speeches and Writings of Harry S. Truman, various editions
Copyright 2002 Marc W. Kohler Stopracism1@aol.com