Friday, March 13, 2009

Re “Panthers vow to shut down ‘Negro Head’ cookie baker” (news article, Feb. 4):

Cookie’s just tip of iceberg: The Villager

To The Editor:
Re “Panthers vow to shut down ‘Negro Head’ cookie baker” (news article, Feb. 4):
Racism has real impact on people’s lives; it kills, it hurts, it spoils our world. If you’ve ever seen the face or been the face of someone who gets targeted that way, you know. You know you don’t want it anywhere near you or the people you love or hope to love.
Good for the Black Panthers for standing against it. Good for the neighborhood for acknowledging those cookies as sheer racism and for not patronizing a business that would profit from it. No excuse avoids our responsibility for the racism we carry. But belittling the guy who wears his overtly, begs the question. It may feel easier for those of us who are white to point at this individual, distancing ourselves from his version of racism, harder to face our own.
You don’t grow up in this culture and not absorb its lessons. Whether you are the one “privileged” by racism or the one who is dealt the blunt force of it, you get the message.
Racism isn’t caused by “stupidity,” though it makes us act stupidly. It is caused and kept in motion by unaware or deliberate misinformation, enormous hurt and institutionalized policies. No one escapes its effects.
It is essential that racism be interrupted, but raining down condemnation on any one person who carries it masquerades as respite from its poisonous effect on every one of us. Really, the place to start cleaning house is in our own minds.

K Webster

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