Published on July 21st, 2021
I sat for quite some time pondering what to say about this topic, my heart remains heavy with the recent pain caused by the blatant attack on our democracy here in the United States. The actions witnessed of the “supposed” patriots on our nation’s capital during the certification of the electoral votes, it dawned on me that this was becoming the podcast I never thought I’d be having. I focused intently on the composition of the crowds that surrounded the Capital building during the protest. I completed this study in much the same way I studied the crowds in the multiple riots throughout the summer of 2020. Originally, I thought I would be expressing anger at the nations willingness to label me as a “WASP (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant)” including all those negative connotations, eternally endowed by birthright with some “white privilege”. I thought I would be ranting about how groups like BLM (Black Lives Matter) label me as an enemy, and classify me as a racist, just because I’m white, or the feminist’s party label me a sexist because I’m a man born in the ’60s and enjoy being a man with masculine habits. I thought I’d be mad as hell because I see myself as being a target just because of the skin color (damn, shoe is on the other foot), and gender I was born with. I started to question myself about how my actions could be dictated by this life-long societal programming, but, much more dangerously, was how society perceived me, based on these same facts, because we know perception is reality. The violent protests of those morons in Washington DC have galvanized the principles defined as “white privilege”.
Greetings my friends… family members, fellow Alaskans, and all Americans wherever you are. Here we are, having just witnessed the inauguration of the 46th President of this 245 year-old idea called the United States, and yet I feel as if I just watched James Buchanan, who was our 15th President in the early days of 1857 who preceded our 16th, President Abraham Lincoln. We are again, at a pivotable time here in the country, and I believe that these next four years will dictate as to whether this experiment, we call America, will continue or not.
But, before we get after it today, I’d like to make sure that, for those of you who seek peace of mind and harmony with the world we find ourselves in today, or just need help in making sense of life, be sure to check out the Alaska Outlaw Forn-sidr podcast at http://forn-sidr.akoutlaw.com. After 30 years of spiritual searching and discovery, I have arrived home. Home to the ideology of of my ancestors. Home of a proud Germanic-Dane heritage. Some really good stuff for you there. Also, another second just to give a shout-out for our sponsors and affiliates:
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With all the tinder boxes we talked about still burning brightly, I really question if Francis Scott Key could put together such a well formed thought that could become a national anthem in this day and age. Welcome to the Alaskan Outlaw podcast, I am the Alaskan Outlaw, and this week I would like to take a minute of your time to vent a little. This week I want to talk about this “white privilege”. In the whole premise of being prepared, we really need to know what we’re up against from a mental stability perspective. Now, I’ve always considered myself to be pretty fair, believing that I fully supported the immortal words of Doctor Martin Luther King Junior, “I have a dream that one day out in the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slaveowners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood”, and “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by their character”, finally concluding that “When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every tenement and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old spiritual, “Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty, we are free at last.” Without a doubt some of the most exquisite words ever spoken, and yet, words that expressed how it should have always been.
Let me explain that, by no means, have I ever seen a “silver spoon” much less, was I born with one. I was born to an alcoholic father who, quite often, resorted to the same discipline that his father used, violence. Growing up we moved all over the country, starting in Ohio, then Indiana, Pennsylvania for a short spell, then New Jersey. About the time I arrived at the second grade we moved to Pierre Part, Louisiana, where we stayed until the sixth grade, arriving in Tucson, Arizona. During our time in Louisiana I attended schools in the corridor between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Once such school was Donaldsonville Elementary, which was a converted prison in the small town on the East Bank of the Mississippi River. With only vague recollections, I remember being able to spot my little brother in the sea of other children, as he was the only, other Caucasian in the school. I do believe there is still some mental scarring from the English teacher, who had to be a former catholic nun with rulers across the knuckles, and kneeling on broomsticks. Hence I digress. All along this journey my progressive, liberally thinking mother worked as a nurse wherever we lived at the time. At age 14, my mother decided enough was enough, and she divorced my father, essentially enlisting me as the “man of the house”. However, there were many nights spent sleeping in the car parked in the hospital parking lot, because we didn’t have a home.
This meant that I needed to continue my school work, then, off to a job to help pay the bills with my mother, as well as look after my little brother. So, from 14, until now 55 I’ve had to work, minus a tour in the Marine Corps. Honestly, over the last 15 or so years I’ve done a much better job at having steady employment. So, the material things I now have, I’ve earned, with blood, sweat, and yes, sometimes tears. I’ve worked until I was so exhausted, I barely made it home before collapsing, so the “white privilege” label had always irritated me. By no explanation can anyone say, I was privileged. But, as I pondered this podcast, it occurred to me, that I was missing the point of what people meant by “white privilege”. The events of the stupidity at the capital opened my eyes a little as to the real understanding of what is meant by this phrase. What was even more stunning, was that it was all about the psychology behind this nation’s population.
Let’s put the cards on the table and seriously have this conversation. While we will look at the realities of this idea of “privilege”. First things first, as a nation, the social media douche-canoes have us spun around the axle about the word smithing. When discussing “white privilege” no one is in reference to our financial status, they are not talking about our desire to be wealthy either, ultimately it is not even about our work ethic. What is being discussed is the societal programming that has been going on for centuries in this country, as well as the rest of the world. The societal view of two men in the park at night. One of the men is white, and has clean clothes on. While the other, has sweat pants, and a hoodie on. If they were to be encountered by other people, or the police, what would be the viewers first impression? If, they thought for an instant that the caucasian male was innocent because of his color or cleanliness, therein lies the problem. This is the exact definition of “white privilege”. In the case described above, I was the caucasian, and my very good friend was meeting up after soccer practice (he’s the coach), to talk about a story I was writing. However, had anyone seen us, and immediately assumed (even inside their heads) that it was anything but two friends meeting up, that is where this starts.
I explored the theory about the whole “big white guy” to several individuals in my community. I asked my law enforcement friend about what they thought when I showed up in leathers on a Harley. What I found out fascinated me. Yes indeed I have several privileges I didn’t even know about. Firstly, I’m a bigger fella. Standing six feet tall, weighing in (heavier days) at about 280, I make an imposing figure. There is an intimidation factor based on some other stereotypes we won’t cover here, suffice to say, they are typically associated with violence. Marry my size with the fact that I’m a man, and the intimidation stretches out into dark parking lots at night. I have a much smaller chance of being confronted, then say, my 112 pound female friend. But more shockingly, is the societal programming that has been placed in my friend’s head. The fact that she will likely be attacked in a dark space at some point because of her gender, and size. Finally, the idea that I’m about as white as they come, honestly my beard is almost pure white now. This fact allows me to be the lone shopper in a convenience store in the middle of the night and not have the clerk watch my every move. I never realized it was even a thing, which again, further defines the underlying principle of this “white privilege”. This is exactly what “white privilege” means. The idea that our genetic code dictates how we act, is an exploration in stereotyping.
Like the many memes floating around the internet reiterate, if there is any color associated with the above statement, there lies bias, which forms the foundations of stereotyping, which then highlights a racist aspect to that presentation.
Over these early days of the newly born year of 2021, I’ve been having quite a few conversations with others, and myself, about what it means to be white in America today. However, it was during these many conversations I’ve been having, specifically the ones with myself, about the many different turmoils within the country, that it dawned on me. The lightning bolt struck my little brain, that indeed, I did possess a microscopic fraction of white privilege. It wasn’t until I truly considered about how I felt as an older white man, living in these times, that I did indeed figure out what is my white privilege. However, given this newly self-discovered psychology, the reality of what “white privilege” was became something that was beyond my control, and really has nothing to do with the way I feel about others, regardless of their skin color or gender. My understanding became that of the manifestation of other’s stereotyping.
Michael Pasterski (pasterski.com) defines societal programming as “Social programming is the sociological process of training individuals in a society to respond in a manner generally approved by the society and social groups. The two most commonly used mechanisms of social programming include reward (reinforcement) – punishment and repetition of the same principle/message.” In my personal opinion, I believe that the pervious term “Societal Conditioning” has become the underlying foundation for what has been developed into what I call “societal programming”. This theory, mixed with the introduction of the high-speed, highly distractive, technology based , internet. This single force, when introduced into the mainstream of the world, became the single largest psychology changing impact of human history. In addition, we watched as the late 2000’s brought a new form of the internet, called social media. I believe that it is this social media that has had a larger impact on human psychology. With its limited interactivity (per conversation) has “taught” humankind how to interact with others.
Societal programming says that white is stereotypically more trustworthy than others. No, it’s not just black, but it includes all others. Take the situation that cropped up at our capital on Wednesday, January 6th, as an example. Had that been BLM, or a Hispanic group, instead of the misinformed (predominantly white) patriots, the outcome would have been dramatically different. Why? As we witnessed on all the national channels, the group that mobbed the capital had opportunistic criminals who incited the crowd to get their end goal, just like during the BLM protests. The outcome here was that there were enough old people in the group to go to bed early. The idea that these two groups of protesters were treated any differently says a metric shit ton about where we stand, as a nation on the racial divide. Simply Psychology (www.simplypsychology.org) defines stereotyping as “In social psychology, a stereotype is a fixed, over generalized belief about a particular group or class of people. By stereotyping we infer that a person has a whole range of characteristics and abilities that we assume all members of that group have.” The problem with this scenario in modern day America is that many American’s have shifted their 140 character limit mentality to only taking moments to quickly categorize and move on. The idea of our high speed brains is discussed by Jyothsna Bhat, PsyD in her article “Attention Spans in the Age of Technology” on the NAMI website (https://www.nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog/August-2017/Attention-Spans-in-the-Age-of-Technology). Ultimately this comes down to the brain having to very quickly categorize a scenario, and everybody in it, to determine if it’s worth being a part of. This leads to the necessity of stereotyping,
While we all say we’re color blind, and don’t see a difference, I say we’re lying, if to no one else but ourselves. Many Americans have been programmed since a very young age that white is good, everything else is dirty. Now having said all that, I can say, proudly, that I get the sense that those who think everything is dirty are now becoming the minority throughout this great nation. Well at least, before the pandemic. The fact that the majority of humans on this planet are beginning to evolve further and further from the whole black vs white argument, and starting to recognize that there is really only one race, human, encourages me to continue to continue. President Joe Biden spoke no truer words when he said “Now is the time to come together…” and “… we are better than this” when he spoke about the events that unfolded at the US capital.
While the government tried to litigate racial equality within the work force of America with the Affirmative Action policies that came by executive order in 1965 by (then) President Lynden B Johnson, which followed on the heels of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This legislation attempted to force integration of businesses to assist those underprivileged groups. While these policies were woefully unclear as to the actual facts about adherence to the rules, it started an inaccurate trajectory for those it hoped to serve, causing many to be disenfranchised with the system. This policies were written to formalize a process that had just started in earnest within the United States. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 had just been signed into law on July 2nd of that year, which leveled the playing field for many Americans, more importantly, it had some level of teeth to the act, making it illegal to segregate, and enforcing the law with punishable offenses. However, the interesting part of it all remained the idea that the (predominantly) white man had written the laws. There was the creation of the “white privilege” that became the fundamental knowledge for many kids growing up. Many of these children grew up to pass it on to their children, willingly or not. The cycle continues even further with the Affirmative Action the following year, stipulating the equal skill meant equal opportunity for black and white men, and women. The idea about somehow “we gave” these rights to these groups is ridiculous. These rights were denied to those men and women since the enactment of the Emancipation Proclamation by (then) President Abraham Lincoln on January 1st, 1863. For 102 years, some people were unable to see the forest through the trees.
However, I would also say that there are many throughout this land that want to ensure that we stay divided. They use terms like “reparation”, “racial distrust”. They slant every news story so that the proper narrative is perpetuated. However, I would suggest that many Americans are more connected, than divided. Those who chose to remain in this old-way of thinking need to be isolated and left behind. They are attempting to use this medieval thinking to produce a narrative of “easy street”, as many have this idea that they are “owed” something. It is this thinking that creates the situation that we find prevalent across the social media platforms, in a constant attempt to fracture the American society.
Since we’re having this conversation, let’s talk about minority privilege. What? What is minority privilege? I’m glad you asked. There are many different parts of it, but primarily it is the localized, typically smaller patches where the white privilege concept is reversed. Inner cities have become the poster child for minority privilege, forcing lost tourists to shit themselves should they accidentally find themselves lost in one of these areas. Whether the inhabitants are preliminary Black, Hispanic, even Chinese, the non-visual intimidation is real. The other part is the “reverse privilege” is when a group of interracial people are sitting down in a social setting and bullshitting about current events. As the only male Caucasian at the table, there are many things I am unable to say for fear of retaliation. Not from the people at the table who know where I stand, but the eavesdropper are the table next to us.
Where does America go from here? Firstly, and foremost, we need to get away from race. If you filling out medical forms, it really doesn’t matter anyway, the medical community only want to understand your genetic construct, which can then be “… my great, great, great, grandparents come here from…” Race is human. Next, we need to identify by our culture, I prefer to be a Germanic Dane. Who cares if my skin is lighter than someone else’s? We need to put down our damn phones, have conversations longer than 140 characters, and get to know all people. Be a neighbor. We need to recognize the value of every human in the country. We need to take stock in what we have and move forward by turning off the news, unplugging social media, and going out into our communities and life happy lives with on another.
As I said in the beginning, I am not my father, however, it is up to me to make things right going forward. So I will. The cure to this issue takes each of us making a conscious decision to make it better, starting with each of us. This starts with each of us making the choice to vigorously support the community we live in, breaking the cycle of isolation that technology has painted us into. We need to seek out those who are different than us, and accept them for what the are, different. Embrace the differences and build strong communities that can stand together if necessary. Be a part of your local volunteer corps, and help out whenever you can. We have been convinced to isolate away from others, we need to come together. The best way to start helping, is to exercise your right to vote. Demand that our representatives be held accountable for their actions, and inactions. Break the cycle.
As always my friends, I am honored and humbled that you have chosen to spend this time listening to my rant. I deeply appreciate each and every one of you. This sentiment is being echoed across this great nation. Be strong, and know that all paths forward involves our government hearing our voices, and knowing what “we the people” want. So, please do your civic duty by registering, and getting out and vote. Remember to be strong, be safe, and keep your head on a swivel… Peace.