The Origin of White Fear Is Rooted In Slavery
Not only is the origin of white fear rooted in slavery but for many, it’s been a necessity in maintaining white supremacy through the ages and today. White fear is built into white America’s DNA and is deeply entrenched in stereotypes of the black man as an angry, vengeful predator which relate back to slave rebellions. Unlike Kanye “sunken place” West, the rest of us know there were slave revolts because slavery was NOT a choice. The 1831 rebellion led by black slave Nat Turner in Southampton County, Virginia, was the bloodiest example. Turner led a group of slaves and freed blacks to plantations around the county, killing more than 50 white people. In the rebellion’s aftermath, the state executed 56 blacks while white militias murdered at least 100 more blacks. The uprising also inspired legislation which made the education of slaves and free blacks illegal. The ultimate goal of white supremacy has always been to control black mind and bodies. This has largely been a success in my opinion. The dates have changed but the thought processes and behaviors as inspired by white supremacy have not.
Subconscious and implicit bias, play an important role in white fear, particularly for a very large segment of white Americans who would reject the notion of being a racist. Whether it’s instinctively calling the police on two black men at a Philadelphia Starbucks for not purchasing a product and quickly leaving the establishment, or calling police on 4 black women for using Grandview golf course too slowly. We see this bias and fear at work when two black men working on a stalled car get the policed called out. The same police officer posted on Reddit that basically white people are wasting police time with these bogus calls. Or when a white person calls the police reporting a suspicious person that’s actually their new black neighbor. Most recently, a Colorado mom called police on two Native American boys who were removed from a campus tour because she felt threatened by the boys being “too quiet”. Seriously? After what the white man has done to these people, Native Americans should be the ones calling police every time they see white people. I even recall an incident as new nurse where as a result of a professional dispute( no yelling, cursing, threats) with a white female nurse colleague, I had security called on me while on duty caring for patients at a local hospital. This wasn’t the 1960s but around 2003. Fortunately, the hospital security rightly didn’t take the bait and it’s very important members of law enforcement not use their authority to validate bias, bigotry and racism, either. If police wish to began to gain the respect of minority communities, start here.
These subconsious & implicit biases develop in young children based on the information, signals and impressions they’re being provided by others. As a young, southern black kid in grade school, listening to random comments from white classmates, it was very apparent they were taught to fear black people and black neighborhoods. It’s long past time to “raise better white people”. You can’t tell black people to get over stuff that really hasn’t ended. Further, the past isn’t really the past if you’re still using your great grandpappy’s playbook in dealing with black people.
I’ve long felt racism isn’t a black issue, as much as it is a white American issue in which white America must be willing to own, address, and dedicate themselves to progress with regards to race relations. If they aren’t willing to do this, maybe it’s time to start tickets or fines people for making false reports to police especially if these incidents lead to injury, deaths, unlawful arrests, lawsuits, boycotts, job/business losses etc. I find it very unsettling people will choose to call police only on certain groups of people in the absence of a crime and not care that it could mean injury or death for them. America has a lot of work to do and we’ve yet to scratch the surface.