"I understand that language breeds stereotype, but what's the explanation for the malice, for the spite? DON'T CALL ME WHITE."
Of course, what NOFX and most other white people don't acknowledge is history. History explains perfectly the malice and the spite that is directed towards white people. As soon as we try and sit with the conditions that produced racialism and white supremacy - and then, of course, to enforce white power for so long - resentment towards white people will no longer be a mystery.
Given the history of this country, (and the European imperial project worldwide) anger is both justifiable and unavoidable. And while pacifists may hope to redeem humanity without a tremendous bloodletting, there is and will continue to be a great deal of bloodshed as a result of white people and the systems they have created. Disgustingly enough, a great deal of this bloodshed will be oppressed people killing themselves and one another, rather than striking back at powerful whites (witness rwanda, witness the 9th ward of new orleans, etc.). But white folks have never been and can never be totally immune to paying a mortal cost for the choices they have made (witness hamas, witness 9/11, etc.).
For those of us white people who have made a conscious decision to try and break up the club of privilege, wealth and dehumanization that is white society, it is slightly easier to sit with the grim truth of hostility spiraling back towards white people. That is, it's easier for us (as opposed to the "average" white guy or gal) to accept distrust, bitterness and other wounded emotions as inevitable responses to "racism." And yet. it doesn't stop being hard for us to accept such emotions directed at us.
I think often of a story i read about greensboro, nc in 1968. After the national guard was sent in to crush black power organizing at A&T, residents in the black community stood along roadways and hurled stones at any passing car with white folks inside. The image is striking to me because it forces me to remember that i won't always have time to explain my good intentions or all the things i've done to stand against the tide of history.
I carry around with me - sometimes bouyantly, sometimes like a boulder chained to my ankle - the notion that honestly sharing myself with others will allow them to empathize with me and thus accept me as decent. The problem with this, of course, is that i will not always be asked. And furthermore, even if i insist on speaking the truth of my own experience, the other person may not be willing to listen. White people have insisted for generations that their "race" is more important than their commonalities, their humanity. We've done this often enough that some people believe us, and spit it right back in our faces. Why take the time to listen to the subtleties of our alienation or our spiritual impoverishment when whiteness is shrieking in all directions?
Still, someone needs to speak to the great loss we have experienced as a result of living as white people for generations - and who else could do it but us? Who else but us can make the demand to restore white people to the human family? Who else but us can release us from the straightjacket of lies that we have forced ourselves to wear for so long?
And, when we speak to these concerns, do we have a "right" to be heard by those who have been oppressed, enslaved and degraded by our actions? What "credit" do we get for finally coming to terms with the horrific mess we've made?
George Orwell writes,
"Perhaps this class-breaking business isn't so simple as it looked! On the contrary, it is a wild ride into the darkness, and it may be that at the end of it the smile will be on the face of the tiger. With loving though slightly patronising smiles we set out to greet our proletarian brothers, and behold! our proletarian brothers... are not asking for our greetings, they are asking us to commit suicide."