Why are White People so Angry?

Why are White People so Angry?

You’re living on food stamps, and paying your bills with extensions. You’ve sold everything you can sell on Craigslist, and you don’t know what it feels like to struggle because you’re not ‘black poor.’

Why are White People so Angry?

I remember when I was young, in our back yard, my dad had an old door. It wasn’t doing much, just sitting there, out on the yard. One day, I lifted it up. Suddenly, I was accosted by all manner of creepy-crawlies. There were centipedes, cockroaches, snakes, a few other things I’d never seen before (or since), and as soon as the light was shined upon them, they all scrambled away.

Let’s be honest. Hillary Clinton is a terrible candidate for president. Ironically, she’d probably make a great president, but she’s a terrible candidate. The relative ‘success’ of a clown like the one on the Red ticket is proof of that; this year’s election should be a deep, blue sea. But it’s not, because alas, Hillary Clinton is a terrible candidate.

But there’s more.

Somewhere in the divisive, narcissistic, misogynistic, xenophobic, rhetoric being vomited out by the Red candidate on a daily basis, where his supporters laud him for such grand achievements as being coherent for once, is a brutal reality of what’s going on all across the US: White people are pissed off.

Now, to be sure, one of the most difficult things for a human being to do is to step outside of the little box one lives in and see the world through someone else’s point of view. In truth, black people ask us to do this all the time. We don’t always listen. In fact, most often, we don’t. And so, we get to the point where the Red pawns have nothing to do but find fault with #BlackLivesMatter, and act like ‘politically correct’ is a bad word.

But these ARE human beings, and this IS a two-way street.

I still remember the first time a student accused me of being a racist. Because she got a zero on her homework grade. When she didn’t turn in her homework. I hear it every semester, in fact: “It’s obvious Chris is your favorite student; you gave him an A.”

“Chris did his homework, and studied for the test; that’s why he’s earning a solid grade. You didn’t do your homework, that’s why your homework grade is a zero. You didn’t study, and so that’s why you failed the test.”

“You’re still a racist.”

“How do you explain Kevin, who earned a higher grade than Chris, despite being the same color as you? Maybe it’s because he did his homework and studied.”

“He’s just trying to be white.”

“Thurgood Marshall did his homework, studied, and had a profound respect for education; so did Martin Luther King, George Washington Carver, Benjamin Banniker, Annie Easley, Frederick Douglas, Maya Angelou, Oprah Winfrey, and Barack Obama. Were they trying to be white?”

“I have important things to do; I don’t have time for all that!”

“That’s why you’re failing my class.”


Now, to be fair, we all do this. It’s easier to blame someone else than accept responsibility for our own failures. But some black people to use this particular vein as an all-purpose crutch to be lazy assholes. Didn’t get that job you wanted? Racism. Pulled over for speeding? Racism. Didn’t like the way the clerk looked at you when you cursed her out over the movie ticket prices? Racism. And while the very real existence of actual racism compounds this problem a hundred-fold, white people always have to answer for it, directly, or indirectly. And even though most black people DON’T do this, enough do to leave a permanent scar.

White people don’t get to use this excuse. Some try to blame their failures on affirmative actions or some nebulous quota system, but for most, it doesn’t really stick (because the truth is, there IS racism, and it’s NOT against white people).

Along the same track is this idea that white people don’t know what it’s like to struggle. Imagine if you will, the economy is down. You’re fighting for a stable job because you have a family depending on you, and you’re losing. You’re living on food stamps, and paying your bills with extensions. You’ve borrowed from everyone you can borrow from, and you can’t think of anything else you can sell on Craigslist, and there’s someone in your face screaming you don’t know what it feels like to ‘really struggle’ because you’re not ‘black poor.’ You’ve got no excuse to be unemployed because you’re white; people will just hire you because you’re white, and so… what, exactly?

Newsflash: No, they won’t.

And let’s talk about #BlackLivesMatter. Yes, there have been systemic problems in the police forces across the country. But what many white people see is a different picture than the blanket notion of police racism. What many of us see is confirmation that some police (again, few, but enough to leave a scar) are brutal, unthinking bullies on a power trip who seem to think there’s a law saying we have to obey anything a cop says (there isn’t). We see cops act with impunity, often throwing their badge and gun around, and fixing up a crime scene to make sure the story they tell is the correct one. We see a general disregard for public service that comes with nationwide lax recruiting and training programs that throws dangerous criminals on the street charged with enforcing the law, when most of them don’t even know the law.

And to suggest that our policing problems might not be, universally, racism, that’s racist.

Makes you wonder why white people are so angry.

Michael Patrick Lewis is a teacher, and bestselling author of Edge Of God, and Preferred Rewards. He also has a cat.

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