Racism of Indifference? CounterPunch Readers Reply to Cape Cod

Here we find two emails that are a perfect match. First, from a reader who has “no interest in ‘black movies’ “:

You said: “one must choose between racism and

As a business man, I’ll chose economics every time.


A finacially secure white dude from Oklahoma who only
spends my hard earned money on white movies. It’s not that I’m racist, I just have no interest in “black movies”.

Second, from a reader who asks, is there such a thing as racism of indifference?

Hi Greg,

I enjoyed your article in todays Counterpunch & also
enjoyed the article “Reject the Language of White
Supremacy.” in Black Commentator. And I agree with you
that we should not buy into the easy convenient

As you well know, 25% of young African American men
are either incarcerated or under the supervision of
the judicial system at any time. Also, one in every
eight humans in jail on this planet is an African

THE INTENT being, in the name of crime-prevention, as
we are told. No need to re-state here the impact THE
EFFECT on the Black community/family.

Where this leads the Black community over time is
scary to comtemplate as no society can remain healthy
or viable in this condition. In any society
experiencing such a sociological disaster, there would
be massive INTENT to correct the situation. Or the
society would degenerate otherwise.

But there is little or no such intent in this country.

Is this racism or is it not ?

Is this racism via “NON-INTENT” ?

One way to look at this is to study the class
dynamics. America has come a long way from when Blacks
were treated as a sub-human class. African-Americans
now enjoy a place (sometimes priviledged) in the
mainstream American class tree. But our nominal spot
is still at the bottom. We can rise above it but loss
of priviledge (or plain lack of it) drops us right
back to the bottom faster than any other ethicity
because the bottom remains our nominal in this
country. The White being the normative against which
we (like all other ethnics) are measured.

The reason I mention class is two-fold. First is to
explain why there is little or no intent to correct
the over-excessive incarceration of the Black-class
young male. And we as African-Americans are well
guilty of apathy/neglect (or even self-loathing) on
this one because we have also bought into the
“SELF-EVIDENCE” of the class structure. In other words
we have bought into the White Supremacy that makes
this an acceptable outcome of the comtemporary class

Also on class, the original ideas behind the great
epic saga of Western Civilization was not geared
towards creating a class system that included
non-Whites. The class re-oragnizations that occured in
Europe were primarily internal, native & indigenous.
We (African Americans, Africans, Native Americans,
Asians …) just got roped in along the way. And the
notion of White Supremacy & Manifest Destiny were
concocted along the way to provide justification.
Today the “SELF-EVIDENCE we see in the media & other
monuments (both mental & physical) serve to sustain
the status-quo.

Sometimes I wonder how well Whites understand or
perceive the nature of their class re-organizations.
It may be difficult as it challenges the notion of

Fortunately, the rest of the world including the
Chinese, Africans & South Americans are gradually
seeing through. The SELF-EVIDENCE of the Western saga
is being scrutinized, and we are learning that we as
non-Whites have many choices.

Please keep up the good work.


Beyond the obvious answer provided by email number one — that there can be a racism of indifference — email number two suggests that it is the indifference itself which must be categorized as racist, regardless of the skin color of the believer. The usual term for such racism on the darker side of the color line is “internalization.”–gm

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