2 weeks ago two black men in Philadelphia were arrested at a Starbucks for basically being black. 3 weeks ago, Brennan Walker, a lost 14-year-old black student approached a house with a neighborhood watch sign and knocked on the door looking for directions. He was then shot at by a white man wielding a shotgun. 15 months ago American whites who voted twice for America’s first black President voted for a candidate who spoke white nationalist rhetoric. All of these scenarios are the result of the 3 types of fear that rule white America.
Merriam-Webster dictionary defines fear as an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger.
Fear, not racism best describes how most American whites feel about American blacks. It’s the fear, not racism that causes most American whites to display irrational, discriminatory and sometimes violent behavior towards people of a different skin color. If it was just a matter of American whites having racist feelings about American blacks, most American whites would not feel threatened to the point of irrationality or violence. After all who loses sleep over something that’s inferior and that can be easily dominated?
For the majority of American whites who fear American blacks, and not all American whites fear American blacks, but for those that do, the fear falls into 3 categories: prejudice-fear, guilt-fear, and demographic-fear.
The arrest of 2 black men in a Starbucks while waiting to meet someone was a blatant example of prejudice-fear, prejudice-fear on the part of Starbucks, not the police. Specifically prejudice-fear by the white store manager whose fear of black males caused her to act irrationally by both asking the men to leave and then calling the police on them.
The two black men, dressed in urban attire, walked into a Starbucks and sat down waiting to meet an arriving 3rdperson. They asked to use the restroom but because they had not bought anything were refused the request. Eventually, they were asked to leave and when they declined the manager called the police. The police and the 2 men both did the right thing here, the police were called to the scene by a business that said 2 men were trespassing because they would not leave when they were asked to. The police arrived knowing the law allows any business to ask anyone to vacate its premises. When they asked the 2 men to leave as well and they refused the police rightfully arrested them.
The men refused to leave as an act of civil disobedience because they knew they were being mistreated based on prejudice-fear, fear by a white store manager that racially profiled these 2 black men. Starbucks does not have a companywide policy on asking members of the public to leave a store, it leaves safety and customer service protocol decisions up to its store managers. Managers may leave restroom doors unlocked or add key-code entries if they feel the store is more at risk of criminal behavior a company official said. The Starbucks official acknowledged that the incident is at odds with a common practice at Starbucks. The stores are “community” hubs, the official said, where people often drop in to use the WiFi or chat with friends without necessarily buying anything.
In this case, the store manager’s prejudice-fear clearly affected her decision to call the police. By all the eyewitness and video accounts the 2 black men at no time acted in a criminal or disturbing the peace manner. To the contrary they sat quietly the whole time waiting to meet a 3rdperson, they did not even complain when they knew they were unfairly denied access to the restroom, but all the prejudice white manager saw were 2 black thugs that needed to be thrown out for fear they would do harm.
Fortunately, justice prevailed in this instance and the 2 men were released from jail with no charges brought against them. Starbucks realizing they have a prejudice-fear issue with some employees is closing 8,000 stores for a day of “racial-bias education” training. Nearly 175,000 employees will participate the company said in a statement. The fear of the store manager was based solely on a bias preconceived notion about black males, in other words, a false fear created by a prejudiced mind.
The close call with death that Brennan Walker experienced definitely had prejudice elements, but also if one looks close enough you can see the guilt-fear. That oh my God what went around is now coming back around guilt-fear that some American whites feel, the fear that black people will do to white people what white people did to black people.
14-year-old Brennan missed his school bus to school, got lost while walking for the first time to school, noticed a neighborhood watch sign and approached the house for directions. After knocking on the door Brennan, who is black, told WJBK TV a woman opened the door and started yelling at him. “Why are you trying to break into my house?” Brennan says “I was trying to explain to her that I was trying to get directions to Rochester High. And she kept yelling at me. Then the guy came downstairs, and he grabbed the gun, I saw it and started to run. And that’s when I heard the gunshot.” Fortunately for Brennan when the white retired fireman attempted to fire the first shot at him the safety was still on, giving him time to escape possible death.
American Whites traditionally have a strong special relationship to land and home ownership. It’s what inspired the founding fathers to flee Europe, it brought the first few free Africans that made here on their own because America offered the opportunity to own land. Land ownership and the notion that its owner is king or queen of land that they own was so key to American citizenship, that it’s embedded in the 4thamendment of the American Constitution, where it states:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
This bedrock American principle is second only to America’s first diehard principle of the right to own a gun. Owning a home is what made American whites feel like kings in their own homes, a place where they felt secure, secure enough to simply tell anyone leave my house, get the hell off my property, even to a policeman who didn’t have a warrant and all of this without the thought of a gun much less actually having one in their hand while doing so.
Brennan is not the only victim of guilt-fear while knocking on a door for help. In nearby Dearborn, Michigan Renisha McBride an unarmed 19-year-old woman knocked on the door of a home after having a car accident looking for help. After knocking she was shot through the screen door, hitting her in the face and killing her. In both cases, the white homeowner shooters claimed they were in fear of their lives.
It’s unnatural for American whites to feel so insecure in their homes unless what they fear is the guilt of karma and association. Because the only people in America who never felt that sense of security that American whites felt in their homes were American blacks. Before the 1960’s Civil Rights Movement American blacks lived in fear that a white mob at any point could invade their home, legal warrant or not, and take them away to certain death. This fear of possible home invasion was not limited to black homes in the south, but to all black homes in America.
All of white America were aware of this threat even though the majority of American whites would never personally commit such hateful acts. American whites who stand behind bolted lock doors and shoot first at the mere sight of a black person standing at their front door, then ask questions later, are obviously suffering from guilt-fear. Fear that American blacks might be looking for payback for all the years American blacks feared the knock at the door of a white person. Since American whites didn’t and in some places could not by law socialize with American blacks if one showed up at the front door, American blacks knew it could only mean trouble.
Conversely, when these shooters saw a black person at their front door, people who they don’t socialize with, the fear was they must be here for the same reason why a white would be at a black house, to do harm! They feared their worst nightmare had come true, that the guilt committed against American blacks by American whites was now about to be committed against them! So they shot first and asked questions later.
Demographic-Fear by a vast amount is the type of fear that rules largest number of American whites. It’s the only fear not motivated by racial prejudice but by genuine human emotion making it the only legitimate fear, and it’s the one fear unlike the other 2 that can make or break a future America. Fortunately for America, the other 2 fear types just don’t have the population numbers to make fundamental change. The power of demographic-fear was seen in 2016 when it and it alone elected Donald Trump President.
Demographic-Fear is fear generated by the changing demographics in America. The population in America is shifting from a racial majority of Caucasian or White people (American Whites) to a blend of Hispanics, American Blacks, and Asians constituting the future majority. The 2014–15 school year marked the first time that minority student enrollment in public schools surpassed that of white students. The Pew Research Center reports that Census Bureau 2015 figures show that just over half — 50.2% — of U.S. babies younger than 1-year-old were racial or ethnic minorities. Since America is a democracy built on the foundation of one person one vote majority rule, it is normal and non-racist for American whites to be concerned about the future direction and principles of the country that they will no longer be the majority of.
One of those legitimate concerns is the language we speak in America. Most people assume English is the official language of America, they are wrong America does not have an official language like most other countries do. So what does it mean for America that the new majority population will speak a 2nd non-English language? Will the new majority decide that America should designate a non-English language as America’s official one?
A legitimate question in American whites mind is the double standard of the N-word use. A white person can be charged with a hate crime if they call a black person the N-word under certain circumstances, Paula Deen rightfully lost millions of dollars for her use of the N-word, but black rappers make millions of dollars for the same N-word use. This societal double standard raises a legitimate question in the minds of American whites. If this type of unfair double standard exist while we are in the majority what will happen when we lose control and are no longer the majority population?
Both these things are legitimate non-racial, non-prejudice questions that any right-thinking people would have, but yet most American whites don’t feel comfortable publicly raising them, or any others like them, for fear of being labeled a racist or politically incorrect. When they looked around they didn’t see a politician or political party they felt comfortable or safe raising their demographic-fear with either. In walks Donald Trump and the majority of American whites who make up the demographic-fear group, the same American whites who voted for the first black president twice voted for Donald Trump as their President.
Not because they bought into his campaign’s dog whistle white nationalist rhetoric, but because they saw within the extremeness of that rhetoric, the possibility of a moderate new conversation on race and culture that the changing demographics dictate that America must have. The new race and culture conversation must not revolve around the old truthfully established paradigm of American whites being the bad guy oppressors, it must revolve around how we deal with race and cultural issues under the new population realities.
This must happen so we can move on to eradicate the remaining systemic racism that all Americans, red yellow black and white, are guilty of. Because after 200 plus years of inbred racism you can only eliminate the surface conscious racism in the 50 years since the passage of the Civil Rights Act, the systemic unconscious racism that doesn’t rely on any individual or any institution because after 200 plus years its part of the system itself, still has to be eradicated.
Just as it was for the eradication of surface racism, the buy-in of American whites is needed for the eradication of systemic racism. Until the demographic-fear issues of American whites are addressed, their buy-in will not be forthcoming! While it’s true after 2050 American whites will no longer be the majority population, they will become America’s largest minority group whose numbers will dwarf America’s past traditional largest minority group, American blacks, significantly. So any continued societal racial progress toward eliminating systemic racism requires American whites’ approval and participation.
During the 1960’s American black riots of Detroit and Watts Martin Luther King Jr. told America that the violence was the language of the unheard, he said this not to condone the violence but to illustrate that the cries of the masses will be heard one way or the other. The cries of demographic-fear by American whites will also be heard as demonstrated in the 2016 election. All bets such as America providing its unique leadership of the world, America acting as the last line of defense of all the world’s democracies, America being a safe haven for refugees fleeing political persecution and America continuing to eliminate racism within itself, are off until the cries of demographic-fear are addressed.
Now is the time for Affirmative Action for American whites, something that has successfully been done for all of America’s other racial, ethnic, cultural, female gender, sexual orientation and religious groups. American whites are the last ones standing, its time they are welcomed into the club. Because American whites’ issues are different than those of the traditional American minorities, the Affirmative Action for American whites will also be different, but the principle of taking affirmative steps to address a societal need is the same. Come on in out of the cold American whites, into the American house that Affirmative Action built, where it’s nice and warm and many seats await you!
Isaac Newton Farris Jr. is the nephew of Martin Luther King, Jr. and serves as Senior Fellow at the King Center. Growing up in one of the most socially and politically active families has given him a unique perspective on current events. Drop by his website for straight talk free of one-sided political spin.
Originally published at isaacnewtonfarris.com on April 23, 2018.