It is sweet and even a part of what I believe that love can conquer racism. But to respond to racism with a direct appeal to the emotions, alas, actual disguises racism. Because racism isn’t just personal expression: it is personal expression congealed into historically rooted structures. And blind love, love that is not informed about those structures, just becomes denial.
Let’s start this out personally. A couple of days ago, I was walking Adam home. He took my hand, which he has been doing lately (probably because he is anxious about the fact that we are soon going to move). We passed by this black guy who said, approximately, that white people always grab the hands of their children when they meet black people.
I wanted to say, not me! No, I’m different from other white people.
But I have to admit, I’m not that different. I live in a society structured to advance people with my skin color. This is why sentiment – love and hate – must be adjusted by statistics – photos of how our society is en masse. The statistics present a very different picture from the one in which white people say, not me! I’m full of love, not hate. Because my pockets, my career, my education, are legacies of a considerable amount of hate, transformed into an economic hierarchy that continues of itself. The structure can “hate” so I don’t have to.
Until we realize this, the love and hate talk is just sentimental garbage. Until we do something about it, the love and hate talk is denial in the classic, Freudian sense.