The Ignorant White Man.

Man with his head in the sand.
The Ignorant White Man

The definition according to the Cambridge Dictionary of Ignorant; not having enough knowledge, understanding, or information about something.

With that in mind, let’s move on. I was an ignorant white man for most of my life. Studying history at university and then teaching to the young minds of America, I thought I had a grasp on what reality was. I wasn’t prejudiced against anyone. I didn’t consider myself racist either, nor sexist. Not a bigot, or homophobic.

Thus, I was ignorant. I was all of them.

No, I was not them intentionally, nor are the vast majority of the white men of the world, and America specifically as a subject here. We were born into it. We were born into ignorance, racism, sexism, and so forth. Why? How? Because most of our parents were. Our country has been born into it for decades if not centuries.

In the coming weeks I plan to share some specifics about certain topics I’ve been exploring as I examine who I am, but for today I want to share this; white man America either doesn’t realize or chooses not to recognize, that things have been built in this nation from day one with White Man Privilege in mind, which in just a few generations became White Man Ignorance. Our nation has oppressed first the woman, then the Native American, and then the African. This is why people say racism is Institutionalized in America, it’s part of the framework.

As generations come and go they fall further down the hole of ignorance until we reach today. Today we Ignorant White Americans say let things be equal, but we, the majority, do not actively do anything to make a change, or we say things are already equally available to all and thus we show our ignorance by thinking equality is a reality.

Many years ago, Atlanta was home to something called Freaknik. It was like the Spring Break for young Blacks. Man did they go wild, just like the young people did at the beaches around the country, but were less reported on. There were news reports of cars being stolen, other thefts, attacks, and even defecating in people’s yards. I, however, did not let this deter me from attending the Atlanta Braves baseball game that I had tickets for. This was during their dominating years. (Sigh, those were the days.)

There I was, on the bus that was returning fans from Fulton County Stadium to the MARTA train station. All of us blissfully Ignorant White Americans, and one young black man. The bus was surrounded by Freaknik partiers. But you know what? I didn’t feel afraid. Not one ounce of fear came over me, even with some of the threatening gestures made toward us and the words shouted about us. I looked at the young man and he looked afraid but at the same time he was shaking his head at what was going on outside the bus.

Thinking back on that moment now, I reversed it all. What if that was an all-white crowd going crazy and that bus was full of Black Americans? Do you think they would not have had an ounce of fear? I can’t bring myself to think that. For one thing, we’re in Atlanta and the South in America still has that reputation from all those years of slavery and then the KKK during the Civil Rights Movement. So, I get it. (More on the truth of racism in the South and the US another time.)

The first step to shaking off your ignorance, and I am looking at you White Man, and yes, you too White Woman, is to realize equality does not exist outside of being a white man. And don’t begin to talk about affirmative action. What some companies consider a token position here and there just to avoid a law suit or to look good to others does not make a change, nor does a half white/half black President without the support of his Congress.

It’s time for each person to examine their own lives as well as the society they live in, wherever they live, and come to the truth. The Ignorant White Man might then be able to understand why Black Lives Matter is such a powerful and needed movement and why the #MeToo one is as well. But there is also an opportunity for the other side to realize the Ignorant White Man does need to learn, needs to realize the truth, but has a lifetime of ignorance to overcome. It all takes time, but as long as we move forward, always, then we are moving in the right direction.

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The Flyby.

“Hey, Rob. You with me man?” I focused my attention, a return trip from lost in space.

“Sorry, Phil. Not all here at the moment.” An understatement if ever there was one.

Understanding showed in my friend’s eyes. “No worries. I was only talking about plans for after we land. These conventions are great for connections and a few The Flyby by Ronovan Hesterbook sales but I like hitting a few spots not on the agenda.”

His smile made it evident to me his spots and my spots would not connect to form a picture of Central Park and the historic apartment buildings adjacent. “I plan to tour the city and get a feel for some of the architecture and people, take some notes, get the atmosphere of it all for a book idea I have swirling around in this old brain of mine.”

“Rob, you need to have some fun, and I don’t mean with buildings and tour guides, unless the tour guide is a little blonde.”

Friend is not the right word to describe the affiliation Phil Marks and I have. We both belong to the same writing group in the area. And when traveling, we did so together to have company and sometimes to split costs of rooms and fees. Colleagues, that’s the right word to use.

“Not quite up for that.” I didn’t smile. I was not in the habit of encouraging things I didn’t like. Why placate?

“I get it. It takes time. It took me almost a month after my split before I got back in the game.” Phil turned and focused on the security process of the busiest airport in the world.

He did not get it. It was not about recovering from a divorce, it was my not being a party guy. I liked my quiet time, visiting historic places in the cities I traveled to, and taking my notes for future books that might never happen.

Phil wrote books to get one thing, I wrote to get something else. Those two things were about as far from each other as one could get. You could tell from our books’ topics what those reasons for writing were.

Phil passed through and it was my turn.

~*~

“Mom, we’re fine. You enjoy yourself.”

John hugged me and stepped back. “You take care of your sister, understand?” I attempted a stern look. I failed.

“That’s Uncle Drew’s job. I’ve got a game to focus on, not some princess. Ow!”

“Don’t call me princess!” Lena uncurled her fist and hugged me even tighter than her brother had. “I want a T-shirt, okay?”

“I knew there was something behind the ferocity of the hug.” I smiled and looked at the beautiful girl, almost eye to eye with me. A few more months and I would be the shortest in the family.

“No, but a shirt would be cool.”

“I know, dear. Drew, are you certain these two will not be a trouble?”

My younger brother shook his head. “With my brood, who’s going to notice two more?”

“If this had only been next weekend their father would have them and no imposing on you.” There were still a few sorting pains over the managing of situations such as this. The divorce was going along fine, but the little things still popped up that were new and caused brief headaches. Precedents could not be set to undermine the plans put in place. This weekend was my responsibility.

“Just go. You’ll miss your flight.”

Drew and I hugged the quick hug of adult siblings, and with a smile and wave, I turned, pulled my bag behind me, and joined the queue for the security check. My mind went to the sites I wanted to see after landing. Traveling alone had its advantages. There would be no biggest whatever store in the world for me.

I looked up and caught the security people looking at me. Great, I was going to get extra attention, again. And then there were the disadvantages.

~*~

“Mind me taking the window?” Phil sat and stared through the small glass panel.

“No, I’ll most likely take a nap.”

“Awesome, thanks.”

They do not make planes with people my height in mind. Not even seated yet, my knees hinted at not being able to stretch when needed. I glanced up to the other passengers making their way to their seats. Now that, is the height I would like to be for flights.

Dark hair swirled around and I could see the woman’s face. Pretty. I’m glad Phil was looking out the window, I knew what he would say, and I did not want to hear it. She was classy looking, intelligent. Phil would spoil it with some vulgar suggestions.

She glanced up before turning to sit down. A weird feeling went through me.

~*~

Do I know him? He has that look on his face as if he knows me. Something about him is familiar. But I’m mistaken for someone people know all the time. So many Americans cannot tell the difference from one Asian nation to the next. But he does look familiar.

~*~

This is going to drive me insane. Where do I know her from? The headache was beginning. It would be a migraine before New York. Why couldn’t I let mysteries stay mysteries?



My entry for the Friday Fiction with Ronovan Writes Prompt Challenge. Also a continuation of a story begun last week in The Library Date. Also visit Using Proofing To Help Your Fiction Diction & More! for some tips in regards to tools to assist you in improving your writing.



Ronovan Hester is an author, with his debut historical adventure novel Amber Wake: Gabriel Falling due out in December of 2015. He shares his life as an amnesiac and Chronic Pain sufferer through his blog RonovanWrites.WordPress.com. His love of poetry, authors and community through his online world has lead to a growing Weekly Haiku Challenge , a Weekly Fiction Prompt Challenge, and the creation of a site dedicated to book reviews, interviews and author resources known as LitWorldInterviews.com.

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Do your best…or not at all…advice from success.

Do your best…or not at all…advice from success.

by: Ronovan

 

In my previous life I was in the business world, if only that were meant as reincarnation.

Sympathy Stuffed Bear

 

 

Yes even stuffed animals give me looks of sympathy and pats for comfort. But it wasn’t a complete waste of my life. After all you can learn from every experience, whether it is a good lesson or a bad lesson. This is a bit of a good one.

Coke Can

I attended a business luncheon in Atlanta, GA and there was a very much respected business woman there as the guest speaker. She was a self-made woman who not only had her own business but was also an executive with Coca Cola.

 

 

I’m sorry to say there were no free Coke t-shirts but a lot of free and excellent advice, as was the food, although Nuvo Mealexpensive to my company, and miniscule in size the food not the advice.

 

Now back to our program. The lady spoke of two things that day, one of which I will talk about here and the other another time.

 

Being Your Best at What You Are Doing When You Are Doing It

 

The lady had not come from a silver spoon background. She fought her way up including obtaining her education. One reason the lady said that she had become such a success, and this was not ego speaking, was that in everything she was doing at a given moment she was giving it her all, trying to be the best at it.

 

She felt she had to try harder than anyone else for two reasons; 1) she was a woman in the business world, and 2) she was African American.

Female Executive

At no one point could she be focusing on two things. If she were in school and working on a research paper, that would be the only thing she was focusing on. There was no other class in her mind at that time, no boyfriend in her mind, no TV show, nothing.

 

If you are writing an article about dogs then write the best article you can even though you might want to watch a movie instead, or be working on a manuscript. You chose to write an article and made a commitment. At that moment you are to be the best dog article writer in the world. Why do anything unless you are going to do the best? What you put out is what people see you as so why put out garbage or half attempted material? And why put out something that isn’t you?

 

This translates to editors and literary agents as well. If they see that you put everything into whatever you write then they have confidence in signing you. They know they can depend on you to get the job done, that you will not turn in a half effort or be late.

 

Use this in every job you have. It doesn’t matter what it is, do your best, and be the best.

 

Read her second piece of advice ‘Don’t ALLOW people to control you’.

 

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