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The International Writers Magazine: Reality Check USA

White Guy Writing About #BlackLivesMatter
•James Campion
I’m Caucasian.
To double-down, I’m male.
Just to make it completely unfair, I am heterosexual, and for a time awhile ago I was Christian, but for all intents and purposes I do not practice any weird or scary or overtly dismissed religion.
I have a family. I own property.
I am untouchable.


And while I am a ball-busting, radical, wise-ass, instigating piece of shit journalist, I still have it over about sixty-percent of everyone else, except rich white guys. I do well, but I’m no Donald Trump, and therefore there are some white guys who may have it better, but tell it to someone else.
I ride high.

Basically, I can do just about anything I want and not get any guff. And, to be honest, I do. No one seems to notice me much. If I were to say walk down the street in a fairly suburban neighborhood at ten pm, a cop car would not slow down to check me out or stop to ask me where I was going. If I go into a store of any kind outside of a women’s lingerie shop or a children’s Gap, no one would bat an eye. I can even show up to a parade packing several weapons and no one would really care much. Some people might even applaud that I was exercising my Second Amendment rights. And you can bet if I were being pursued by the police, I have a better that 90 percent chance of not being gunned down in broad daylight.
Hooray for me, I’m a white guy.

Now excuse me for a moment while I opine on the #blacklivesmatter movement.
Waxing poetic on a subject I know little about is the inalienable right of the white guy, don’t you know? We have opinions on everything, especially things we cannot relate to in any rational way. We cannot stop telling people what to do and how to do it. We have radio shows and TV shows and blogs and columns in big newspapers. Everyone listens to us. We have white guys that look like us on paper money and there are statues of these and other white guys everywhere in almost every town in the United States. This provides an immutable gravitas to our rhetoric. This is why whenever we’re afraid of progress, inclusion and tolerance we evoke their names, our Founding Fathers. Yeah, that’s when white guys knew the score, right? This is our legacy. We hate it when non-white guys try and tell us what we need to do. This is our gig. Get your own thing.

Face it; you cannot wait to read this white guy’s next paragraph.
Hell, every time we convene a committee on something that has nothing to do with being a white guy, people show up and we grill, say women, on women’s contraception. Even one fat white guy called one of the women testifying a “slut” on the radio and some of us nodded our heads. Of course, we do, we’re white guys. Keep your hands off our stuff, but while you’re at it know this: Whatever is going on in a woman’s body is our business, bub. Damn right. White guys coming through.

This is why we cannot understand what all this #blacklivesmatter stuff is going on about. It is just cop bashing and riling up the bad element. All lives matter, right? Why blacks? Why are they going on and on about just blacks? Don’t they care about racial harmony and how things are better if everyone just accepts things as they are? Shit, the president’s not a white guy, even though six out of ten of us still think he is not American and probably Muslim and is some kind of rigged device to destroy everything. We’re just getting used to the gays getting their rights, now we have this? It’s overwhelming. We thought we were done being afraid of blacks, and had moved onto Hispanics and Muslims. Multi-tasking fear is tough. Wait your turn.

Sure, according to a 2009 U.S. Department of Justice study although 12–13% of the American population is African-American they make up 60% of the almost 2.1 million male inmates in jail or prison. Census data for 2000 of the number and race of all individuals incarcerated in the United States revealed a wide racial disproportion of the incarcerated population in each state: the proportion of blacks in prison populations exceeded the proportion among state residents in twenty states. But that’s because many black neighborhoods are hard and dangerous and there is bound to be a higher element of crime among the poor and desperate, right?

Of course many of these black lives are in prison because of insane mandatory sentencing laws enacted in the 1980s and hardened in the 1990s by white guys, usually old, straight, religious white guys, who had no compunction about sending anyone selling five joints to prison for a dozen years or life for a gram of cocaine. And then all those poor neighborhoods with their descent into drug use turned them all into criminals and the neighborhoods into dangerous and somehow gave the police the idea that killing someone first is better than dealing with it properly.

Because that is one thing the white guys don’t get, apparently; it is not remotely the same for a society to expect a random person on the street to have the same responsibility and stature as a police officer. This is why when a cop is shot it is a really, really big deal. Cops represent the state, law and order, a society of restraint against violence. When some lunatic slaughters kindergarten children we shudder, we weep, we do more opining, and then we go back to whatever we do to ignore the issue with police and people of color in these neighborhoods.

When I was a younger white guy, I decided for awhile to chip at my invisible façade and grow my hair long and wear weird clothes and make-up and sing in a rock and roll band. For that short period, five years or so, I was treated very differently. I was looked at more than once when I went into a store and received judgmental glances from many, and was assumed to be a druggie or a fag or a communist or a thug or you know…an undesirable. I was none of those things, of course – although I did dabble in Socialism for about 18 months in the mid-80s after gorging myself on volumes of Arthur Koestler, but I blame Sting for that, who by the way ironically wrote songs and sang in a band called The Police. (Oh, and yeah, the police’s reaction to my speeding was to ask me to get out of the car, so they can check it for drugs and stuff, you know, 'cause of the hair).

By the end of the 1980s I cut my hair when the band went nowhere and I was back to being a white guy. Admittedly, it was kind of boring at first. I missed having that badge of honor, but it was also nice to just meld into the woodwork. Get back to living a life where I wasn’t discriminated against for the random acts of some who looked like me, despite the actual behavior of my own to the contrary. It was like…I mattered again.
You know, like black lives.
Or #blacklivesmatter.
White guy…out.

© James Campion Sept 4th 2015
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James Campion is the author of “Deep Tank Jersey”, “Fear No Art”, “Trailing Jesus”, "Midnight For Cinderella" and “Y”. His new book, “Shout It Out Loud – The Story of KISS’s Destroyer and the Making of an American Icon” is due out this October.

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