The recent despicable racial ranting by Michael Richards of Seinfeld fame continues to reverberate.
It is clear this man spoke the contents of his heart. A man is literally what he thinks and says, his character being the complete sum of all those thoughts and words. If a man is made or unmade by himself, then with a plethora of thoughts and words he forges the weapons by which he destroys himself or builds for himself the strength capable for making the right choices.
Where did this hateful spew of racial venom come from? This is the question that has everyone stunned. Come on people, snap out of it! This is nothing but a case of classical hidden American racism revealed. It will not go away if we keep sweeping it under the rug. This stuff is embedded deeply in our psyche. It is our national wound. It is our original sin. We fought a war over it and after war simply put a band-aid on the wound without ever adding the proper salves; thus never allowing the sore to heal. From time to time we get this painful oozing of this awful sickness.
We are always made aware of the psychological and historical plight of racism on blacks. There are thousands of books and college courses dedicated to the subject of the black dilemma, but actually little attention has been paid in comparison to the debilitating effect that racism has played on whites in this country. Not only blacks, but whites too, are unaware of how racism have destroyed them socially. It usually takes some embarrassing Michael Richards moment to bring us all back to reality. Racism is alive and well in this country!
If blacks suffer the residue of racism in the forms of what I call black rage, black naivete and black self-oppression, whites suffer it in the form of white anguish, white privilege and white denial. Michael Richards experienced all this when he lost it, lashing out against a group of black patrons in that comedy club in Los Angeles.
It was his privilege and his historical pedigree as a white American which allowed him to feel a sense of empowerment and entitlement, as evidenced by his comments on lynching. This kind of racial privilege produces a destructive strain of pride which allows one to only see circumstances, environments and political objects rather than independent individuals. People of lesser political and social status are then treated merely as figments of the imagination, never as full equal human beings, never as real men of substance and being.
White racism also creates a kind of catatonic anguish. Unchecked, it leaves whites forever angered in a way of which they are secretly ashamed. On those occasions they wish the strange symbiotic relationship between blacks and whites never happened. Their refrain is to simply to move on as if historical racism never existed. Blackness reminds them of the pathological parts of their own white history. The only inoculation from this disease for them is to associate strictly with other whites, all while minimizing the whole phenomenon. It is this ubiquitous anguish which created the kind of rage that exploded out of the soul of Michael Richards.
And there is this issue of white denial. Racism is more than just an odious holdover from slavery. It is more than a terrible anomaly that got stuck in our liberal democratic ethos. It is a part of what shapes and energizes the American body politic. It exists because of its foundation historically, and it thrives because as an institution it is allowed to. It can't be denied. It must be properly dealt with.
It is these dynamics of racism white America just won't admit. That's why privilege, anguish and denial intersect at a precise time, erupting into vicious anger, emptying out of the belly of the American soul, spewing forth in the forms of red hot white rage.