As we possibly descend into complete madness following the election, my fellow white folks may want to consider a set of guidelines or rules to assist us during such a dysfunctional and potentially delusional period. Since we elected a TV personality, I thought we would stay within this relative framework and review some classic rules used on the big screen to help guide us through the upcoming presidency.
The first rule of Fight Club is you don’t talk about Fight Club as seen in this video. So, we will quickly move on. When mediocre screen legend Patrick Swayze took to the silver screen in the biopic, Road House in 1989, we probably didn’t realize at the time we were receiving perhaps the most sound piece of advice ever given from one homosapien to another: “Be nice”. Be Nice sounds relatively simple but nearly 200,000 years of existence tells us, extremely difficult to implement. The movie of a Zen-like bouncer uttered two words that really simplified the Golden Rule for those not who are not exactly the brightest bulbs in the knife drawer. Mr. Swayze was giving advice to his fellow Road House staff members about how to handle unruly bar patrons. It seems to me, that for the past 500 years or so on this continent where the United States now resides, we white folks have been unruly to say the least. As a fellow white person, I suggest we immediately consider “Be Nice” as our motto. I understand there are white folks who aren’t racist and who are in fact, nice, but there clearly needs to be more of us at this point in America. It’s up to us to bring down hate crime statistics and hold all white folks responsible for our actions. For a demographic that loves to proclaim the importance of personal responsibility, we have historically fallen well short of such advice.
I also realize that white folks who are alive today didn’t commit centuries of genocide that was perpetrated upon native peoples over half a millennium ago, but we sure did benefit. How? Well, we live here don’t we? Sure, we didn’t play a part in the kidnapping, enslavement and genocide of millions of people of African descent, but we sure did benefit. How? Free labor over centuries helped establish and built a powerful economy that set the stage for the makings of the wealthiest nation the world has ever witnessed. Sure, we didn’t persecute, exploit, and murder generations of new immigrants during the infrastructure phase of our nation, but we sure did benefit. How? Food shows up to the store doesn’t it? So, maybe it’s time we, the beneficiaries, take a moment to reflect and consider the rule of “Be Nice.”
Tragically white folks today have elected Trump to the presidency. Much has changed, but not all that much apparently, since Andrew Jackson won the presidency in 1828. With Trump dominating the white vote, it’s plain to see that white America is still in denial about its racist, patriarchal past and present. “Be Nice” is still “Be White or Else,” in a nation whose foundation is built upon the bones of those who did nothing more but commit the crime of existence during the birth and era of American white supremacy. Make America Great Again is code for, make America white again. Native folks are still being harassed, beaten, having their treaties broken, and their lands invaded. Black folks are still being murdered by law enforcement and imprisoned at an alarming rate. Immigrants are still being blamed for everything from economic stagnation to the lack of moral fiber in our national narrative. Our foreign policy continues to slaughter people of color in the name of protecting American interests. It seems like “Be Nice” may not be in our blood. Inherent privilege has a price; even for those who benefit from it.
We who are alive today and benefit from centuries of genocidal policies have been like zombies feeding on those who remain under our boot of inherent privilege and the oppression that derives from such privilege. In the film, Zombieland, the first rule of survival is Cardio. To avoid being eaten by zombies, survivors recommend having a healthy cardiovascular system to maintain a good distance from the flesh eaters. People have survived a psychopathic onslaught of American zombies for centuries. If we don’t change our motto from “Be White” to “Be Nice” quickly, cardio won’t do a damn thing to distance ourselves from our karma. We can’t outrun our past or present, but we can surely change our future by becoming more present. In fact, there’s no better time than the present. Hell…that could be rule number two.
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