Crossposted (with several very interesting reader comments) on Daily Kos.
In response to my article: White African Americans, about a white South African trying to sue for racial discrimination,
I was born in Oakland, blond/blue but practically raised black by my friends mothers and families until my father got transferred to Japan in the 60's and I learned what racism was. All of a sudden, at the age of 10, I was a Gaijin, an outsider subject to the full discrimination and hatred of the native population. We were the only foreigners in town and when we went to a bath house in our neighborhood where we were tolerated the first time. On our second visit there was a sign saying no Gaijins allowed. Hand printed in English. I cried all the way home.
... From Japan we moved to the "great melting pot" known as Hawaii. Finally heading back to the USA where every thing would back to normal I thought. Wrong. No longer a Gaijin, I was now a Haolie. In Japan the racism had been endemic and systematic, but without violence but now the game was about to change. In Hawaii my race put me in harms way, I was dragged behind the school and beaten just out of hatred.I just about gagged. There is no "Diaspora" among blacks just as there is no "melting pot" in Hawaii.
When I see statements such as “A white guy cannot be a black guy, because he does not share our history and present context, with all its beauty and pain, joy and suffering Can a white guy be an African American? “ my response is simple. How arrogant can you be? You don’t own it, you’ve just shared in it. You are not alone.
By the logic you are using, a wealthy white South African, living and working in America, should have his needs addressed by organizations such as:
NSBE - National Society of Black Engineers
The Association of Black Psychologists
National Association of Black Journalists
Such groups exist to address the unique needs of a specific group of people. Since we cannot be defined by a geographic boundary, blacks exist in Diaspora. You would be hard pressed to find a noted scholar of black, African, or African American Studies who would disagree with this. Please let me know if you find one.
The unique experience of blacks is also intergenerational. There are the things our parents shared and experienced. There are legacies from grandparents, great-grandparents and so on. Good and bad, these were passed on and are part of our heritage. The nuances are infinitely more complex than being raised by or around blacks or being beat up in school; then going on to live as a white person in a white dominant culture.
That's why the Urban League, the world's oldest and largest civil rights organization has a State of Black America Report.
By your logic, all of these support groups are being arrogant. And according to your thinking, as is talked about in the article, a white South African can sue for discrimination as a black person.
There is no diaspora among blacks? You make an interesting claim in that assertion.
Please email that argument to The Center for Black Diaspora at DePaul University.
And you might want to contact the National Black Child Development Institute to let them know how arrogant they are being, to assume that this racially defined group of children may have specific needs (at all levels) that should be addressed.
Finally, please share your ideas with the research scholars in the Black Diaspora Review.
I'd be interested to see that discussion.
Thanks for sharing!