Race: why do black people feel that white people want to ‘keep them down’ ?

I often hear black people say, usually with a lighthearted smile, that the ‘white man is keeping the black man down’.

To me this is interesting because:

  • I, personally, have never met a white person who has expressed a desire to keep black people down;
  • and even if a white person did want to keep black people down, it is highly unlikely that they are actually in an authoritative position to do so anyway ( after all, probably 99% of white people are simply workers themselves );
  • and what exactly would a white person gain? Is it not true that for any position that is denied to a black person there will inevitably be someone else trying to acquire that same position?

I make this point not to be inflammatory, but because I just think that it is an interesting point. Of course now with Obama being elected ( which includes my vote ), hopefully this point is outdated.

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13 responses

  1. Black people believe that white people want to keep them down because, for so long, it was true.

    That was a long time ago, though. Here’s the rub: there are a bunch of black “leaders” such as Al Sharpton and Louis Farrakhan, who earn their livings by keeping their flocks solidly inside their own corral. To do this, they preach about how “the man” won’t let the blacks succeed. Since the blacks believe the preaching, they don’t try to succeed. Since they don’t try, they fail. Self-fulfilling prophecy.

    I don’t like Obama the least little bit, but he does seem to be even-handed about the victimhood agenda. He wants it for everybody, regardless of race, color, or creed.

  2. The reason black people say or feel that is because it is true. Oppression is systemic and does not need individual acts of meanness to thrive. It exists in institutionalized norms and standards, of which we are not often conscious. Individual white people don’t have to be oppressive because the systems are. White people might not actively, individually, keep black people down; it is not unintentional, and for the most part, white people remain oblivious to it because they don’t have to think about it.

    Here is a link to a good article about white privilege from one woman’s perspective. http://www.case.edu/president/aaction/UnpackingTheKnapsack.pdf

    Unfortunately, Obama is not the cure. He is one man who represents a step in the direction towards equity. Until the systems and norms evolve, black people (and other races) will be oppressed, as will women, homosexuals, people with disabilities, people living in poverty, etc.

  3. Blah Blah Blah. The responses are exactly as expected. “White people do hold black people down.” Blah freaking blah. Get over yourselves. And guess what…I’m NOT white!

  4. The “White man” trying to “hold me down” is more a generic metaphor for oppression than it is a descriptive statement. Just like when someone says “The man” he or she is not literally talking about every single man.

    There’s some truth behind the generic saying but your question assumes the phrase is meant to be literal and so it misses an opprotunity to discuss the real meaning.

  5. Well, I do not think that Obama being elected makes racism go away. The US has racism as a big part of it’s history; however, the election of Obama shows that there are more people who do not share that sentiment anymore.
    First of all you need to look at the person who is making the statement. Is that person, a lazy bum who wants things handed to him/her or s/he is sprouting “hand me down” racist views.
    I know that as much as American has made strides in the racial department, there is still the closed door racism in certain places ie. school, certain jobs etc: the glass ceiling effect where a person will be overlooked repeatedly and therefore will not progress beyond a certain point due to colour of skin.
    Overall, I do not believe the statement that blacks are barred by whites to be true. I say pay attention to the person making that statement and you will have a better understanding that most times (not all)they are just wanting an excuse for their failures. PS that is not a statement most working black people use.

  6. The media wants to keep them blacks down. See, they have created multiple TVs and Radios and stores on which they make a profit out of making black people look worthless and teaching every other white skinned to keep them down and the government does nothing about this type of media. The same media they say that it works closely with the government and they highlight their involvement in evil religions to harm people and control the industries. That’s the American government the best government on the planet ???!!!! When you report this to the government they will ignore you cause they know that they are the ones making things like this happen. EVIL AND THE DEVIL ARE THE KEY WORDS. THEY ALSO BLAME THE AFRICAN ILLUMINATI.

  7. Michael Jackson said it. History points it out and they always wanna keep you occupied with entertainment and be like a jew heading to the land of promise in the same boat whose captain is the devil.

  8. The people who always deny that the whites are trying to keep blacks down are usually white. The truth is that it is exactly what they do. Ignorance makes one blind to those who refuse to observe and see. Whites intentionally do things to impede blacks progress. If a black person opens a restaurant, whites will not patronize it because blacks are running it, but the same people will go to a restaurant that is owned by whites, but food cooked by the same people that cooked at the black store. This is just an example! I’m black and can not even begin to tell you about all the things that whites do to get ahead and stay ahead crook, steal, or borrow. I’ve had supervisors that were such only because they were white. Many have less training and knowledge than I do on every job I’ve had. I’m not talking about something that I haven’t experienced. No! It not just in my head! Even in school, teachers did whatever they could to make sure that white students came out ahead on test.

  9. I have read all that was written here about this subject, and unfortunately some have valid points, but the reality of it is we are responsible for ourselves, black or white. The subject of race,who is oppressing who will unfortunately go on even after we’re dead and gone until we as black people say,Hey! Enough is enough we are responsible for our destiny and the only one that can keep me down is ……. ME. Yes there are some bad and often misguided white people just as there are black people, and those minority are making the majority of all human beings who populate this world look bad know that’s who is doing the oppressing. Take it or leave it the choice is always yours

  10. I had to get to root canals this past year. I have abnormal canals and my dentist, a white man wasn’t confident in his ability to treat them. He then recomended me the endodontist he refers all of his patients to ,a dr specializing in root canals. Dr. James c moorison. A black man in Houston tx an hour away from where I live. The walls of his office were littered with plaques that noted him as being voted the best in the district consecutive years in a row,Houston has big districts might I add. So you see. A white dr., recognizing his inferior abilities to the aforementioned black dr sends his patients there for better treatment of teeth he deems to hard for him. Willfully. Sang his praises to me the whole time. And dr James Morrison was a specialist indeed. Not to mention played Rick James and other good music the whole time which I appreciated. Didn’t seem like the white man could keep that black man down. This is in Texas by the way..a ” really racist state” Kenneth

  11. I am so sick and tired of black people crying about how whites have held them back! I am white… and I have recently started some research on where blacks and whites come from as the Bible states. I have found and acknowledge that the first people were black…but I do not understand how blacks became so poor, uneducated, and oppressed when their numbers are so dominant in the world. I am getting tired of white people having to take a back seat to other races that are not qualified to do things just because they are not white. I don’t owe anyone anything. I bet you have never been a slave and I have definitely owned one. I think people of any color other than white think they can come to USA and take over because they think they are owed something. Its not whites fault that ya’ll come from a country that will not take care of their own people. As a matter of fact …slavery still exits in a lot of countries..

  12. As many white people work hard to show their acceptance of all cultures and to replace the disgrace we feel from our history, other formerly oppressed cultures are now perputating the cylce that keeps racism alive. It is really sad to see that this country cannot make progress on truely ending the racial

    To end racism, everyone should take personal accountability for their sucesses and failures. Even when oppression may exist, failing to fight against or rise above it is cowardly, imo. If you want to suceed in this country, be up early and ready to compete everyday, and don’t use any excuse for getting where you want to be in life.

    Racism does exist and that is undeniable, but those who believe in equality need to all come together as one, regardless of who they are, to continue to eliminting the diminishing group of true bigots.

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