White Racism | The Exclusivity of White Freedom

In Europe, the most renowned symbol of hate is the Swastika. In America, that position belongs to the Confederate Flag. Whereas Europe has stamped down on its use in public spaces, Americans have full freedom to fly whatever racist flag suits their fancy. In some states, they can even get away with racist custom plates giving tribute to the Nazis.

The greatest irony to me is how much White racists are in love with personal freedom. Liberty is their most prized possession. Yet, they fly a flag that symbolizes the lack of freedom for an entire race of people and pretend they do not understand why it’s offensive. They then create these inventive excuses for why there’s nothing wrong with being racist — and why being racist … isn’t racist.

If your heritage and pride hinge on taking away the freedoms of others and fighting to retain that right, is it really worth being proud of? And, if wearing a mask so offends your personal liberty, what do you think wearing shackles feels like? Similarly, if you hate the discussion of racism, what do you think it’s like to actually experience it?

Yes; it’s been hundreds of years since it was the norm for Blacks to wear physical shackles. But, America has spent centuries perfecting the art of enslaving people without physical chains. Whether it’s making it more difficult for Blacks to advance or making it easy for everyone to become complacent in the capitalist rat race, it has it all figured out.

Personal Freedoms

I’ve been thinking a lot about personal freedoms lately.

I realized that I have more freedom now than I ever have in my entire life. I can go wherever I want to, whenever I want to, with no chains attached. There’s no husband telling me I’m only “allowed” to be gone for two weeks at a time or a child waiting for me to return. In fact, my home can go where I go. I wake up whenever I want to and go to bed when I feel like it. I decide how much work I do every day, who I complete assignments for, and the days I take off.

I have full control over my personal life and it is one of the most amazing experiences in the world. Yet, I am not immune to the systematic shackles America has perfected.

Social Freedoms

Recently, I saw a forum discussion for people of colour. Someone mentioned that being Black made it difficult for them to promote veganism because it wasn’t the expected niche for a Black person.

It really gave me pause, because I always assumed I didn’t pick up traction in the offroading and adventure community because I’m a woman. However, shortly after she posted that, I fell down a rabbit hole of White women with their trucks on IG, doing nothing more than posing in front of them and getting tonnes of engagement. The same men who couldn’t be bothered with answering my questions about their rigs were all over their pages.

I started to look back through my notifications and my DMs and I noticed a pattern. Every single off-roader who reached out to me over the past few months fit into one or more of the below categories:

  • They are also Black or another non-White race — usually Asian.
  • They are also immigrants from another country — usually Latin America.
  • They are American but spent a significant amount of time living overseas — usually in Europe.
  • They are not American and do not live in America — usually Canadian.

All your everyday Tonka-truck driving ‘Muricans were nowhere to be seen. I’m not saying none of them has ever spoken to me. I am saying that not a single one of them has done so often enough that they caught my attention. And, all the ones I thought did do so, ended up belonging to one of those groups above.

It’s insane to think that race can affect even such a trivial experience as the frequency of online interactions. It doesn’t help that the RVing and offroading communities are incredibly conservative, which is the ultimate breeding ground in America for racism.

White Freedoms

In the midst of my ruminations on race in America, a 21-year old White man targeted three Asian-owned businesses and went on a shooting spree. If a Black person had done this, he would have been branded as a thug and we would have heard of every crime he ever committed. If a Muslim person had committed the crime, he would have been immediately branded as a terrorist. A Hispanic would have been deported to Mexico without ever even checking their paperwork or finding out where they’re from.

But, it was a White man, so you know, he was just having a bad day.

As a collective group, White men seem to be able to get away with anything and everything in America. Nothing they do ever really earns the ire of the media or law enforcement. Law enforcement only ever seems to care when they start bashing them in the head with fire extinguishers and beating them with Blue Lives flags.

On any other day of the week, they can storm the Capitol and be hailed as heroes instead of terrorists. They can mow down protestors in the streets and be called “very fine people” by a sitting President. They can rape drunk women behind dumpsters and the judge will be more concerned about their future Olympic career than the victim.

So, does America really provide freedom for all or just White freedom?

It blows my mind to think that a set of people can value liberty so much, but believe they are the only ones who should have it. Is liberty really in such short supply that there’s not enough to go around? How can people who talk about community values so much have zero respect or empathy for the desires of people who want the same thing they do? The freedom to live a decent life and pursue their dreams.

The longer I’ve been on the road and the more rednecks I encounter, the more pessimistic I feel about America. I don’t believe I will ever find another country where I have this much personal freedom and this much room to roam. But, that personal freedom is always checked by racial restraints I have never experienced anywhere else. There are so many places White RVers can go to that I am advised to steer clear of, so many social groups they can join that I’m not welcome in because of the colour of my skin.

Freedom feels very much exclusive to White people in America. The rest of us are just on borrowed time.

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52 thoughts on “White Racism | The Exclusivity of White Freedom

  1. Racism is still here in all its ugly forms. When I would go out with my grandkids (pre-pandemic) I would often get “looks” from strangers. I have difficulty understanding why people can’t just accept everyone and want the best for everyone. We need to talk openly about the inequalities offered to our citizens in every way, shape, and form. If we don’t expose the ugliness it just grows stronger.

    I am sorry you are dealing with this on your lovely adventure. I am even sorrier that people are using your blog to spew their ignorance and hate.

    I hope you are staying safe while enjoying the sights on your journey.

    1. Racism has certainly tainted my journey. The more time I spend on the road, the more racism I see. I am disappointed to find that all the warnings African Americans gave me about White America are true. There are certainly exceptions! But, as the saying goes, exceptions confirm the rule.

      I’m trying to spend some time rethinking my approach. My hope was to use social media for community building and finding others to off-road into the sunset with. But, it looks like I’ll mostly be going it solo. Luckily, being on the road has only deepened my love of my own company, so no loss there.

      Even so, off-roading isn’t really something you can do safely solo. So, I’m not really sure what my options are. As always, staying safe is the number one priority!

    2. Also, I’m sorry to hear about your grandkids and your experience with them. It’s shameful!

  2. I was deeply upset by the tragic event this past week in Atlanta, especially for me growing up Asian-American in a country which has a serious race problem. It angers and saddens me that the nation in which I was born would have this issue, especially since it’s essentially the land of immigrants; even the white folks are technically not from the US, having their ancestors arrive in the 17th century to as recently as the early 20th century in NYC. “Liberty” should not be inclusive to just a specific group; I truly believe it’s possible that all groups can have access to liberty without being threatened by each other.

    Whilst it’s tempting for me to jump on board the band-wagon like my peers and blast Story after Story, article after article, on social media, I’ve come to realize that it’s all but fruitless if we don’t actually take action; otherwise, it’s just performance allyship, which rubs me the wrong way. I am quick to believe that this will simply devolve to what had happened last year with the BLM movement, in which we protested for a month or two and then it fell off; in fact, I believe that our Asian-American protests will end even sooner. Call it fatalistic or pessimistic, but throughout history, our movement has been less-documented and taken less seriously, perpetuated by the “model minority” myth. President Biden might be giving speeches on the egregious hate crimes happening to us, but I don’t have faith he nor his administration will do much about it. While I don’t have answers to how to solve the country’s issue of racism towards minorities, I can only hope that we can remain safe and ride this out over time. Thanks for your words.

    1. I’m sorry to hear how much it left you shaken, Rebecca. I can only imagine what that must have felt like.

      Ironically, what stuck with me was the customer who died. She was getting a couple’s massage with her husband. My parents get couple’s massages at Asian establishments regularly. I kept thinking, wow….they could have been there. That could have been me getting the phone call, Asian or no.

      When I first arrived in America, I criticized BLM for the same concern you’re sharing. I felt like okay….White people know all these things. The problem is clear. What are the solutions? The longer I’ve been here, the more I’ve realised that’s not true. They don’t know because they refuse to know. I can’t tell you how many White persons have told me they understand what racism is because they had a White friend that didn’t like them and it sucked. I was standing there like…..what….?? They are clueless, WILLFULLY. Because no matter how much I explain after that, it’s like rocket science to them.

      That said, I don’t know what the solution is either. I’m doing my part by continuing to show up in spaces where I am unexpected and, apparently, unwanted. Maybe I’ll help pave the way for more POC to safely follow suit into communities that would rather put a noose around our necks.

      That’s all we can do is hold ourselves accountable. We can’t wait for the government or anyone else to come to our rescue. Sad, but that’s the reality.

      1. White people who “understand” racism when they aren’t liked by other white people?? I…where’s the logic in that? That’s wild. Like you, I’ve found that traveling solo as a female minority to far-off places where I definitely stick out like a sore thumb has been very rewarding. People tell me that I’m so “brave” and “inspirational” for doing so, to some extent even politicizing it (i.e. being a solo, female Asian-American traveler breaking down barriers in the travel industry). However, I don’t see myself as some kind of martyr, and I never consider my travels to be political…but if people say that about me, then I guess I’m flattered…

        We’ll have to see what happens. I personally think to let time take its course and to hopefully have all of this hate die down. Thanks for your response!

      2. I get a similar response when people see me out on the road, from both men and women. Married women are so surprised to see me out here by myself, but I run into a lot of divorcees and widows traveling full-time solo or with another lady. I’m so proud to see them out here as women, even though they’re not minorities. But we’ve definitely had discussions about how my race/ethnicity makes things even more complicated for me. They often tell me about places they’ve visited and will sometimes say whether or not it is POC friendly.

        Let’s keep showing up! That’s all we can do. 🙂

  3. Here is my question, If we want to achieve cultural competency, and have a “feeling” of universal equality, then what needs to happen?

    I hear lots of people rant, and call people rasict, put labels on others and even fight to the death, but one thing I do know is that, at least where I am from, there wasn’t a single kid, did not matter what background, race, theological belief that was privileged or had more than the other perse. The whole white privilege, black unprivileged thing is nothing new, but why is it just black? I have had loads of migrant students from Mexico, Honduras, Costa Rica, Belize, etc. who live in broken down worksite trailers on farms who work themselves to the bone and never say a word. I find myself angry that they are scared to ask the farm foreman for a $5 part to fix thier head in 20 degree weather. We cover all of thier school expenses 100%, we have had people of other races and ethnic backgrounds have the same opportunity, and they piss it away, I won’t list those here because that’s painting a picture with a broad brush.

    I often times reminisce on orwellian type situations, and then I think deeper, is the racial division a manifestation of political strategy? Because it always seems to be the angry, privileged, suburban white republican male and female against the urban, disadvantaged, poor, minority.

    I am willing to have an articulate, non acusational conversation with anyone on race. Yes I am white, yes I am a man, and no I am not going to be sorry for it, because we don’t get to pick who we physically are at birth, just like no black person, aboriginal, asian or other race does. We are people, some are kind, some are jerks, racism is a manifestation of political divide and conquer.

    If we don’t want racism, don’t talk about it, fire the teachers in K-12 education who tell little 5 year old kids that they are racist, hang the politicians who use the darkness of the past to put a political narrative to gain power, shut down the cartel that targets minority communities for drug distribution. There is a stack of reasons why this exists, people are not born rascist, they are made that way in formative development by stupid people.

    1. Thank you for dropping by. However, before writing this very long comment on YOUR opinions on racism (as a person who does not experience it) did you read all of mine?

      If you did, your statement about why is it always Black would have never been typed. I specifically referenced Muslims, Hispanics and Asians in this post. If it is that you haven’t seen anyone else but Black people protesting, you’re not paying attention. AAPI were protesting for weeks before the shooting, which I also mentioned and which targeted Asians.

      You also sound incredibly confused. On the one hand, you say you want to have a conversation about race. On the other, you say the cure to racism is to not talk about it. I have no desire to talk to anyone about racism who believes the cure is to sweep it under the rug and let their Confederate brothers run wild.

      I think you are in desperate need of some introspection. Less talking/typing, more listening/reading. Fewer statements, more questions.

      Good day.

  4. We honour freedom of speech in Canada but draw the line at hate. What people fail to understand is that yes, we have rights, but not if our rights impose on those of others. All this talk of right, while so much wrong is happening. Argggg. I noted, while we travelled in our RV south of the border, the distinct absence of colour, and also the racist rhetoric. At one campfire we were invited to, when asked about my family, I said: “I cannot safely talk about my family in this setting as I have heard nothing but derogatory things said against them.” The woman next to me said: “Oh nevermind that, we all have friends of colour. We don’t mean nothing by it”. Really, America!

    1. Ha! Wow. That’s the kind of mindset they have for sure. I wasn’t expecting it to be like that at all.

      RVing taught me that travel doesn’t change everyone. Some people travel and become open to all-new experiences. Other people travel and take all their prejudices with them, everywhere they go!

  5. America is built on white supremacy from the very first Pilgrims that landed on these shores who immediately wanted to change the Native Americans to their way of life and considered them savages. Sadly, nothing has changed since that fateful day except now it is much more blatant and is applied against all races of a non white ethnicity. This “Land of Opportunity” is for the very few and they are not people of color. Enjoy reading your blog and following your travels. Stay safe.

    1. I cannot wrap my mind around how America is the most diverse First World country, but continues to act like only Whites live here. What’s even more amazing is that they came here and saw people of colour, “imported” more people or colour who didn’t ask to be here. And then, throw their hands up in their air and complain about not seeing White skin everywhere. As someone said on Twitter, cognitive dissonance is central to White supremacy.

  6. The older I get, the more disillusioned I get that things have not got any better. You would think that with all the education surrounding racism we could have learned to live in harmony by now but it seems to be getting worse, rather than better. I do not have an answer – I wish I did!

    1. I have heard from people who were alive during segregation that it has actually gotten worse. America doesn’t seem to be making any progress.

  7. I think that perhaps nothing so reveals the ingrained blindness of many (most?) white Americans as the response one gets to pointing out a clearly racist statement, attitude, or action on the part of one of us who is not openly and frankly declaring themselves proudly racist. They are offended, even enraged that you could think such a thing of them. If they happen to be “conservative”, it is now fashionable to invoke “cancel culture” to describe the accusation. They are determined not to see it in their own behavior. And the idea that it is structural and fundamental to our social, political, and economic system is simply unfathomable to far too many because it requires that self-examination of its subtle, casual, and unthinking expressions.

    1. I agree with you wholeheartedly. I tried explaining this to one of my Conservative friends and ultimately gave up. I would say the word “African American” just to see the immediate aggression on her face, but she swore up and down she wasn’t racist and “loves everyone”. She was one of those conservatives who liked HER Black people but not Black people, if you catch my drift.

      I’ve gotten tired of explaining race to them. I feel like if I’m coming to someone else’s country, why should I be explaining their own fellow people’s reality to them? Don’t they live here together? Why am I expected to be the expert after five years? It’s exhausting.

      1. I’ve no doubt it is exhausting, especially when so many of us are so dense on the subject, like your Conservative friend. You come to seeing us with eyes not trained to our ingrained kinds of blindness and habits. So, you can see us in ways we cannot, or can only with difficulty, see ourselves. Some of us do appreciate that vision.

      2. Being an immigrant certainly gives me an interesting view. I’m glad you appreciate the vision. Sadly, the people who are the true contributors to the problem enjoy pretending to be deaf, dumb and blind. They’ll never take the time to truly listen, because during discourse, their goal is actually to convince me they’re not racist or that POC are the problem.

      3. Sadly, that is so, but I have some hope in the many younger people who do seem to be more open to learning. Some changes take generations.

      4. I lost hope in them when I realised how many of the Capitol Rioters were millennials. That was really jarring for me. Really makes me question if racism is something America can outgrow.

      5. I’m 31 and I’m of the same mindset. But, there’s still time for me to witness another generation or two. They might surprise me!

  8. Sigh…yes what she up there said!
    I have said it before, and I will say it again, racism is alive and well in the USA. It’s a cold hard fact and I’m sure it will never change which is unfortunate for all of us.

  9. What is the old adage “there are none so blind as those who will not see”. Racism marches down main street in America, yet many people find discussions around white privilege and racism ‘difficult’. I am truly sorry you are experiencing racism in your travels, but sadly I am not surprised. Our country is so beautiful but the blatant racism certainly changes the experience for Americans and visitors of color. It is laid daily in every newspaper and news cycle across our country so how can anyone deny its existence? It is a sad truth which will require action and commitment from the very people who refuse to see it.

    1. Thanks, Maggie. I’m committed to sharing my realities of what it’s like out here. I’m always amused by the fact that Conservatives are more outraged that I would say “bad things about America” than be outraged about the actual bad things in America.

      Liberals can get like that too. They sometimes feel like because THEY’RE not part of the problem, they shouldn’t be subjected to the conversation. But they fail to realize that by silencing my story, they are, in fact, now part of the problem. However, I’ll take liberal naivety over blatant conservative racism any day of the week!

      1. I was raised by very loving but very conservative parents. I remember confronting my mom when I was in high school because I needed to challenge their point of view. Courageous conversations allow us all to grow. I am still learning, but that is better I think than turning away from the conversations. We all have an opportunity to learn and make changes. Thank you for your insight.

      2. There is one idiot under here simultaneously saying “I want to have an honest conversation about race” and also saying, in the same comment, “if we don’t want racism, we should stop talking about it.”

        I’m glad you’re not of that mindset and understand that curing it requires challenging it. Kudos to you for having the courage to stand up to your parents as a teenager and creating your own path.

        It can’t happen without honest conversations and it can’t happen without the responsible parties understanding they ARE responsible and making amends.

        I feel like if you put five Confederates around a fire and asked them to cure racism within the group, they’d be sitting there creating measures for OTHER people to follow. They see no correlation with their own activities and beliefs.

    1. Thank you for confirming that America is a racist country and that if I wish to escape racism, I would have to escape America. Your comment was deleted and was tagged as racist and xenophobic.

      Thanks for dropping by to prove my point.

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