In his recent L.A. Weekly column, Henry Rollins spoke about the deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling. One thing that Rollins made evident in this article, was the privilege that goes hand in hand with being a white male, as well as the fact that white people couldn’t handle the ish black people go through on a daily basis.
“The despicable litanies of willfully ignorant denial and misinformation I have heard spouted in the last several days by pieces of [s–t] like Rudy Giuliani all but ensure that things will get worse,” he wrote. “The mainstream media outlets allow this utter crap to slide by unchallenged and, by doing so, legitimize falsehoods that could get people killed. Ratings-based, 24/7, for-profit media is the complete death of true journalism and a catapult for propaganda.
If White America experienced a fraction of what Black America deals with regarding law enforcement, incarceration, the court system, employment and countless other facts of life, they would immediately and collectively lose their minds.
There are at least two different Americas. They have existed in an environment of almost unbroken mutual exclusivity. That’s over now.”
Rollins went on to describe how he realized at a very early age that he was living in two different worlds, being treated differently than how he saw the black kids were being treated. He then went on to describe an incident involving Ice-T during a concert tour.
“I learned another lesson many years later, in 1991. I was on the first Lollapalooza tour. It was one of the best summers of my life. I spent a lot of time hanging out with Ice-T. We talked almost every day. He is one of the most articulate and intelligent people I have ever met. I wish I had a teaspoon of what he’s got. I also spent time with his bandmates and crew.
On days off, or when our buses would pull into the same place, we would eat together. All his guys wore gold. I have no idea what a necklace is worth, but it all looked expensive to me. When we went into places, white patrons and staff tripped on these guys. This is when I understood one of the reasons for the visible display of wealth. My whiteness assured them that I could pay for my meal. Ice-T and his guys had to demonstrate their ability to pay by literally wearing a show of wealth,” he wrote.
He concludes the piece with, “Equality, tolerance and decency are not inherently American or human traits. They are values you choose to adopt and use or not.”
Do you agree that White Americans couldn’t handle the way Black Americans are treated in this country?
Visit L.A. Weekly to read Rollins’ piece in its entirety.