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Spiekerman

Zackery Spiekerman
K. E. Allen
CSP 105
28 July 2016
White Racism; The Darker Side of Racism
Dear Black Lives Matter Protesters,
I would like to applaud your efforts to eliminate racism towards blacks. It takes a
lot of courage to stand up to your oppressors, and to fight for what you believe in. You
have brought a lot of attention to black lives and black racism, and for that I would like to
congratulate all of you on your success. #BlackLivesMatter was and still is trending
worldwide. It takes a very strong and willing group of people to get a hashtag to go
global. Very few efforts have been able to reach out to all parts of the world, and to show
the world just what is happening. Again I would like to congratulate you on your success.
The Black Lives Matter (BLM for short) movement has changed a lot of peoples
opinions about the treatment of the black population. Your group has brought up many
different issues such as the police shootings, where officers have shot and killed several
members of the black community. You have also brought up the unfair treatment of
blacks in the workplace. However, with all of the chaos that is happening in the media,
there is one thing that I have yet to see pop up anywhere: racism towards whites. While I
know your group is trying to end racism towards the black population, I believe that in
order to truly eliminate one form of racism we have to eliminate all forms of racism. I
have heard many arguments that there is no racism towards whites; however, I beg to
differ.

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Racism towards whites is a very touchy subject that a lot of people really dont
consider talking about. To some, I may be another white male who is just flashing his
privilege; however, as you read, I would like for you to keep in mind that I truly struggled
while writing this letter. Time and time again I would read over a paragraph saying to
myself is this racist? I have to carefully word my sentences so that I am not offending
anyone in the black community. Like most white Americans I have a fear of being racist.
However, I feel that my words need to be heard, so I am hoping that you will take the
time to read over my letter, and consider the fact that blacks and whites go through the
same struggle, and to truly eliminate racism we must unite as one.
I truly believe that in order to extinguish racism entirely it is going to take
working together. The entire population- white, black, Mexican or any other minority
group- has to stand together, to work with one another, to understand each other. One race
cannot simply be told to stop being racist while the others carry on. One cannot simple
extinguish one log on a bonfire and expect the rest to stop burning. No in order to put out
a flame all parts of the fire have to be extinguished.
I am going to take a step back and explain to you exactly what I mean by racism.
Whenever I am talking about racism I am talking about discrimination or hatred towards
a person or people outside of your own race. This hatred can come in many different
forms, whether its calling a person a hateful name, or attacking someone because of their
race. Although it may not seem like it most whites are walking on egg shells whenever
they are around a member of the black community.
Each and every day I have to carefully watch every sentence I say. I never truly
get to let all of my feelings come in discussions, in conversations, or even in writings.

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There is a reason that I sit silently in the corner listening but never talking, in much the
same way that the black population has been throughout history. Like most of the whites
in the world I have a ferocious fear, a fear of being singled out, of being called out, of
being spit at and targeted. I have a fear of being racist. I am not alone. Everywhere there
are white people sitting silently fearful that they might come across as racist. But why am
I afraid of becoming a racist? A perfect example of this is in a recent discussion amongst
my peers (a very diverse group when it comes to their background and race). We were
having a fascinating discussion about what is black culture and what is white culture.
While my classmates were chatting on and on about what they felt were the customs of
the white and black cultures, I was sitting quietly in the corner secretly trembling inside. I
sat silently the entire class period, listening but never speaking. In this class discussion
while talking about what is white culture, I heard a lot of things that truly hurt; for
example, the stereotype that all whites speak without emotion, or in proper English. This
comes from the stereotype that all whites are educated, and are financially set. While it
may seem that these simple stereotypes are harmless, they are actually a form of white
racism. Think about it for a second, when a white person jumps to the conclusion about
the black population they are considered a racist for grouping all of your population into
one group, now my question for you is what makes it different for your group to group
my population into on big group? Both of these are a form of racism, and both of these
need to be eliminated. While sitting silently I noticed something very odd, I was not
alone. There seemed to be about three other white people in the room who were also
sitting silently. But why? I was usually fairly comfortable around my classmates and Id
imagine so were the others. I was scared for my image, much like you I have worked

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hard to build up my image into the person I am today much the same way each and every
one of you do. I know I am not alone when it comes to having a fear of being a racist, so
lets come together and work our way through this fear to create a safe environment for
everyone to be who they want to be.
Image has always been a big factor in anything that a person does. And
stereotypes really destroy a persons image. And while it may not seem like it but, these
stereotypes have been around for as long as whites oppressing blacks (Petroni). So white
stereotypes are not a new thing yet we still continue to push them under the rug. For a
very long time now whites have been viewed badly upon by the black population. While
it may not seem like it but blacks and whites are not very different we have both been
through the same struggles. If you dont believe me, then consider this:
Before 2008, my family was going great. We were financially set, we never had to
worry about paying bills, and my dad owned and operated his own business. However,
this all changed when the economy crashed, and my family lost everything. We were
homeless; my dad lost his business; we had one family car that was falling apart. At the
time I had no hope of going to college much less a university. I can remember there were
nights where I would lay on my bed just hoping and praying that tomorrow was going to
be better. It is a feeling that I would never wish upon my greatest enemy. It was truly
devastating. But, my family and I were able to push our way through. My dad spent day
and night working his butt off in order to get us back on our feet. And it worked. Today
my family has managed to pull ourselves out of this recession, and now we are back to
being financially stable. My dad has a decent paying job again. I have been through the
struggle that many of you have. I know what its like to worry about where my next meal

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is coming from, to throw furthering my education out the window. But thanks to hard
work, dedication, and a lot of elbow, grease my family and I managed to turn ourselves
around much the same way members of the black community are turning themselves
around. Having gone through this predicament, I have gained a respect for the black
culture. I and many of my white colleges really do care about the black cultures.
However sadly the same cannot always be said in reverse.
I have recently talked with a young lady here at the University of Michigan, who
has gone to a candle light vigil, for the death of Alton Sterling. For privacy reasons I am
not going to name this young lady, but rather I am going to call her Scholar A. As you
read this I would like for you to keep in mind that Scholar A is a white American girl,
from Michigan. Now Scholar A told me that she wanted to go to this vigil for the
experience, as well as go for Mr. Sterling. While she was there she had a small group of
black friends around her. One of her friends received a candle, so she naturally she
wanted to be included. When her and her friend asked if she could get a candle the black
lady -who was handing out candles- said, that the candles were for the black members of
the community only. As I was talking with Scholar A I could see that this experience has
changed her, in fact, during our conversation she told me that she now knows what it is
like to be a black person in America. But I was a small bit confused about this. I know
that your group is trying to get equal rights for black people across America, which again
I applaud your success and efforts. But if you are wanting equality why could this young
white girl not get a candle? If you wanted equality, then a person who is at a vigil should
have been able to get a candle despite what color their skin is. Now I know that
throughout history there have been many cases where blacks have not been separated

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from whites. I know what my ancestors did was wrong, but I am not my ancestors. I am
me, living in the same world that you are. And times have changed. No longer is there
segregation throughout the country, no longer is there open discrimination towards blacks
and whites, no longer are blacks being forced to work in factories, and out in the fields.
Now I know you are going to say that blacks are still working the lower income jobs
because whites are taking all of the higher paying jobs. Well this is not necessarily the
case.
The work places have become much more diverse in the past few decades, which
is great. But with this diversity comes tension. Many blacks believe that whites are the
ones sitting on the top, or that whites are taking all of the jobs. But this is far from the
truth; in fact, whites, especially white males, are losing their jobs. Whenever a company
has to make cuts, that company resists cutting minorities and instead cuts whites (mostly
males) (Nemko). Because of companies being afraid to be racist, they are cutting white
males. One of the toughest jobs in America right now would have to be being a police
officer.
It seems that every time I turn on the news I am hearing about another police
officer killing a black community member. My heart always goes out to those who are
affected. But I couldnt help but hear your justification that police are targeting the blacks
and that this needs to stop. And while I do agree with the fact that this needs to stop, I do
not agree with the statement that police are targeting you. Law enforcement officers are
actually slower to shoot an armed black individual than they are to shoot an armed white
individual (Fridell). Now I know what you are going to say: that police are not just
targeting the armed individuals but they are targeting the unarmed individuals. And my

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response is that an unarmed white individual is more likely to be shot than an unarmed
black individual (Fridell). This research is quite shocking, isnt it? I truthfully did not
believe it myself. Much like most of you I felt that police officers were discriminate
towards the black communities and that a black individual was more likely to get shot by
a police officer. But this research is suggesting that police take more time to react when
they are dealing with a black individual than a white individual. Perhaps there is another
reason as to why the media is exploited with images and videos of the innocent killing of
black lives?
Social Media has influenced our lives on a day to day basis. Not a day goes by
that I am not checking my Facebook account. I am always hearing on television about
some form of social media-whether its Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or so ondoing something that affects our daily lives. In fact, social media is your strongest form
of communication. Every time I am on my Facebook profile I am always seeing
#blacklivesmatter. However, while social media is a great invention I feel that it is slowly
but surely tearing apart our cultures. Whenever I look in the comment section of a post I
am always seeing two people or two groups of people clashing with one another, and I
feel this is wrong on a multitude of different levels. First, we should not be fighting with
one another at all. It is fine to debate a topic, but debate and fight are two totally different
things. In a debate the two people (or groups) are respectful to one another. In a fight they
are not. Another reason that this is wrong is because there are no limits as to what a
person can say. Online people feel invincible because their opponent cannot physically
get to them (in most cases) so they feel as though they have nothing to fear. When it
comes to racism the social media is just pulling and tugging our two cultures apart.

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I would like to take a minute here to say thanks to all of those who have continued
reading up until this point. I want to say this because I know there are a lot of readers
who have just quit reading because I am just another white guy who is flaunting his white
privilege again. If I come across that way I am truly sorry, but I am just restating my
experiences and expressing my thoughts. One side cannot end racism; it takes
cooperation amongst both sides. We cannot simply say to whites Quit being racist,
while everyone else looks down upon them. Both cultures must learn to understand and
to except each other for who they are, not what color their skin is. Both cultures must quit
deteriorating each other, so their own culture can grow. We must stop harassing members
of the opposite culture and above all to truly end racism, we have to work together. Stand
shoulder to shoulder, hand in hand. Im ready to eliminate racism. Are you?

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Work Cited
Fridell, Lorie A. "Racial Aspects of Police Shootings." Criminology & Public Policy 15.2
(2016): 481-9. ProQuest. Web. 5 Aug. 2016.
Nemko, Marty. "Are White Males Getting Shortchanged?" Are White Males Getting
Shortchanged? N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Aug. 2016.
Petroni, Frank A. "'UNCLE TOMS': WHITE STEREOTYPES IN THE BLACK
MOVEMENT."Human organization 29.4 (1970): 260-6. ProQuest. Web. 6 Aug.
2016.
Scholar A. Personal Interview. 6 August 2016