I think I have begun to figure out what is going here. In conflict with white Americans (and oh so many other groups too) there seems to be this missing link for me that I may have recently found. Whenever a topic or issue comes up, and someone is visibly shaken, this person invariably wants to mitigate the feelings in question. They immediately jump to do everything they can to make that person feel ok again. When we put it like that, it sounds very reasonable and in theory it certainly is.
But the truth is that the person in pain has a real problem. The issue they have may be complex and varied; there may not be an easy solution available. It may be that right now there is no solution, but largely there are so many possibilities. When the white person continues to try to manage people’s feelings, they are, quite often missing the point. The person’s feelings were generated based on an issue that still currently needs solving. The issue is not that the person themself is currently experiencing emotion. If that were the case, then managing the feelings would be right in line with reality. Since the feelings are the symptom of a problem that is genuine, feelings are not the real problem.
Solving problems eliminates the need to be upset, at which point it’s a whole lot easier to calm down. Insistently trying to calm someone down in the outset of their problem makes no sense. But the reason it’s done so often is because it’s from a mindset that’s pretty specific. White people are taught to accept what’s in front of them no matter how damaging it is. They are taught early on and continually that almost everything in life is inevitable. When people believe there’s nothing to be done, they don’t have to give up, because they never try in the first place.
It’s not only white people although they are my prime example, it’s also popular throughout most of christianity. People believe it’s better to be complacent than frustrated. They regularly calm themselves and say it doesn’t matter. They put it out of their minds, avoid it if possible, and hope it just doesn’t happen. This deep level of avoidance is built into their lives, their hearts, and their minds. When confronted with dissonance from varying sources of info, they generally shut down emotionally. They withdraw and retreat and comfort themselves with repeating things they are familiar with.
This type of person has been taught no coping skills, and no problem solving skills either. They are disheartened early and they still feel pity, but believe there is nothing to be done. They use concepts like “our lot in life” and “the hand that is dealt to us”, which is funny because their inspirational rhetoric doesn’t act this way, but when they hear that stuff they are inspired in a more general sense. For some reason, they are inspired to dream and desire, but that too is matched with no physical commitment. Whether it’s good bad or neutral, white people are hands-off and don’t end up participating hardly ever.
They spend most of their time re-framing or reviewing, discussing and evaluating. If a solution is obvious, they may throw it out there, but for the most part, folks try first to make you feel better. Their strong desire to smooth things over and sweep them under the rug is a deep-seated form of compliance. These people are taught not to rock the boat or otherwise do much complaining. These are people who have suffered too, but been told they should still be grateful for what they have. The life they were reared in tells them everyone struggles and that’s all there is to it. These people have been told that being a good person means to take what life gives you with aplomb.
It never occurs to them that they have been led to be sheeple without independent thought.