Freedom Rider: Why White People Get Mad

 

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

The Thanksgiving myth teaches (white) Americans that they are the kindest, most generous people on Earth – and, if you don’t believe that, they will tear you limb from limb. “The celebration of the Thanksgiving holiday is not only a celebration of slaughter but it is used to this very day to keep all Americans secure in their love of white supremacy.”

 

Freedom Rider: Why White People Get Mad

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

The Mayflower's cultural heirs are programmed to find glory in their own depravity, and savagery in their most helpless victims, who can only redeem themselves by accepting the inherent goodness of white Americans.” – Glen Ford

Most white Americans can only think of themselves and their country as the pinnacle of enlightenment and civilization.”

In 2003 my Black Agenda Report colleague Glen Ford wrote “The End of American Thanksgivings: A Cause for Universal Rejoicings,“ a brilliant piece of commentary which cast a spotlight on the horror which inspired the holiday that came to be known as Thanksgiving. Mr. Ford documented the genocide visited upon the original inhabitants of this country which is inextricably intertwined with the Thanksgiving myth that is so revered by most Americans. The facts that he presented are easily known to anyone who cares to seek them out. The celebration of the Thanksgiving holiday is not only a celebration of slaughter but it is used to this very day to keep all Americans secure in their love of white supremacy.

Every November Black Agenda Report re-posts Ford’s column and I link to it on my blog, Facebook or Twitter. This year my twitter post attracted some unusual attention. On that hallowed fourth Thursday of November, I began receiving missives like these.

then leave the fucking country if you hate it so much. But leave my Thanksgiving alone.... “

hey moron..if america is soo racist..leave!!i will gladly help you pack”

Yep, you're a good little puppet for black racists teaching hate--you do not punish the children for the sins of the father “

LEAVE THE COUNTRY, I hear things are nice in Africa!”

Good, then go to work today.”

suck it”

LEAVE THE COUNTRY, I hear things are nice in Africa!”

Then get the fuck out”

WHAT??? You can't be serious or is this because you're black and see through a single scope?”

Margaret Kimberley, you have some real problems. Did U speak 2 your doctor & pastor about your hatred 4 anyone not black?”

JUST ANOTHER NIGGA NUTJOB WHO HAYES [sic] AMERICA.I GOT YOUR BLACK AGENDA RIGHT HERE BITCH”

I could go on, but by now you surely get the point. I was “flamed,” targeted on the Internet by someone who disagrees with me and took the time to exhort others to reach out and touch me with their mutual hatred. After a few minutes of investigation I discovered that a right wing website highlighted twitter posts which criticized the Thanksgiving celebration. (The site shall remain nameless because I do not want to give it undeserved attention.)

Can we give the race card a rest for just one day? Liberals’ answer: Hell, no! While many Americans try to set politics aside for the Thanksgiving holiday, it’s too much to ask of a vocal group of Twitter users who are using the day to slam America:”

The writer of those words and his or her acolytes probably never bothered to read Glen Ford’s words. Not that it would have mattered much if they had. The knowledge that someone called their country and by extension themselves racist, was too much for their fragile minds to bear. Of course the irony is that they all proved Ford right.

They see themselves in the usurpers, killers and enslavers and any attempt to call them anything but good must be opposed.”

Most white Americans can only think of themselves and their country as the pinnacle of enlightenment and civilization. Such grandiosity is achieved only by turning the truth on its head. What is good becomes evil, and evil is labeled as good. The victim becomes a savage, and the victimizer, the true savage, becomes a paragon of virtue.

According to the people who used part of their sacred holiday to excoriate me, I committed the ultimate sin. I dared to say that the history of white America is not one of innocence and goodness. It doesn’t matter if their forebears were New England Puritans or not, they see those people as their ancestors and four centuries later cling to them with love and awe. “Slamming America” is the worst thing that one can do to people such as these. They take the Thanksgiving story very, very seriously. They see themselves in the usurpers, killers and enslavers and any attempt to call them anything but good must be opposed. As Glen Ford said, “Thanksgiving encourages these cognitive cripples in their madness, just as it is designed to do.”

So the right wing site is partly correct. I can’t “set politics aside” just because millions of people won’t like what I say. At Black Agenda Report we endeavor to tell the truth, regardless of who loves us or hates us in response. That ethos is something to be very thankful for.

Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well as at http://freedomrider.blogspot.com. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com.