White Ignorance at the Core of Racial Tensions

FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 15:  Demonstrators gather along West Florissant Avenue to protest the shooting of Michael Brown on Augu
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 15: Demonstrators gather along West Florissant Avenue to protest the shooting of Michael Brown on August 15, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer on August 9. Protestors raise their hands and chant 'Hands up, don't shoot' as a rally cry to draw attention to reports that stated Brown's hands were raised when he was shot. Tonight demonstration again ended with protestors clashing with police followed by more looting. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

The recent grand jury decision to not indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for shooting and killing Michael Brown resulted in protests across the country for those disappointed with the outcome. Of course for those who believe Wilson's actions were justified the response was slightly different. There are those, like Ted Nugent, Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck, who chose to react with all the class of an Anthony Weiner Twitter photo. Some, like Sean Hannity,took the opportunity to blame President Obama for inciting violence and heightening racial tensions. Others have decided to use their victory lap as a way to "educate" the African American community.

It is this last category of people that are the most frustrating. They avoided the outlandish talking points offered up by the classic attention hogs but still managed to prove they were completely out of touch with reality. For example, longtime Fox News contributor Cal Thomas opined that the "real problem" for the African American community is that they have "an attitude of victimhood."

This has been a popular narrative for conservatives for a long time. Rather than admit that there are systemic inequalities that make being black in this country inherently unlawful, they bury their heads in the sands of the Aryan echo chamber and trivialize this struggle with patronizing rhetoric. Having said that, the question for Cal Thomas and others like him who believe liberals play the victim is: Have you met the American conservatives?

While protesters try and get people to recognize the racial bias of the U.S. legal system that has resulted in the deaths of numerous black men at the hands of law enforcement the conservative media portrays these men as violent thugs and claim it is the officers who are in fact the victim. There is perhaps no bigger disconnect in the mind of these conservative pundits than suggesting the biggest problem in these cases is a "victim mentality" while simultaneously asserting the murders are the victims.

If you want to see a true victim mentality on the topic of race you need look no further than conservatives. These are the people who whine that they can't say anything about race without being called racist. They also think it is a huge injustice that black people can use the "N"-word but they can't. These poor white folks just can't catch a break.

Of course race is hardly the only topic that conservative play the victim card on.

Despite the fact that nearly every Senate has refused to consider partisan House bills, Republicans like Eric Cantor are acting like this is the first time in history such an atrocity has occurred. Why must Republicans be forced to suffer so?

Despite the fact that the only guns laws to be passed recently have actually expanded the rights of gun owners that doesn't stop the NRA and some gun owners from pretending there is an all out assault on the Second Amendment. Will the persecution ever end for these patriots?

Despite the fact that voter fraud is almost nonexistent and has never determined the outcome of an election conservatives insist on changing the rules and making it more difficult for some people to vote. They're just trying to uphold the sanctity of the democratic process and are being attacked for no reason.

Despite the fact that it cost taxpayers more money than it saved Florida, Governor Rick Scott was forced to test welfare recipients for drug usage before handing out checks because protecting every of penny of taxpayer dollars is of paramount importance. How awful it must be for these people to see any of their money fraudulently used.

Despite the fact that renewable energy costs as much or less than fossil fuels, creates jobs and lowers carbon dioxide emissions -- saving lives, conservatives insist that any attempts to address climate change would be a job-killing move that Americans can't afford. After all, they just want what's best for the country.

Despite the fact that when union membership is highest the middle class is strongest and income inequality is lowest conservatives can't help but be concerned for the poor corporations and the scads of workers who are being forced to accept higher wages and better working conditions against their will. Set my people (and companies) free!

Despite the fact that bans on gay marriage have been found to be unconstitutional conservatives believe that marriage equality weakens traditional marriage. Don't those people realize how tough it is to be straight in this country?

But perhaps most important this time of year are the poor Christians who are being shamed in to considering other people's religious views. Is there any greater indignity than saying Happy Holidays to a fellow American?

The reality is that African Americans and liberals don't hold a monopoly on victim mentality. The only difference is that to conservatives when a liberal claims something is unfair they are playing the victim while when a conservative claims the same it is a fact that proves liberals are ruining this great country.

The "real problem" with Ferguson, New York, Cleveland or any other city where the police have executed black males is not "an attitude of victimhood." No, the real problem is the group who sit in their ivory tower doling out sage advice to people they clearly don't understand about a situation they have no experience with that does nothing but increase the ever widening gap in race relations. Because pretending to know what it's like to be black in America isn't even remotely close to actually being black in America.