So there’s been some pushback, sometimes on the blog, sometimes on twitter. I don’t catch it on Facebook, probably because I’m one of those weirdos who has friends from real life there, and I find people tread more carefully with what they say to me when there’s potential for run ins afterward. Well, except for that one acquaintance who posted Muslims are taking over public office across the country and we’d better watch out – I unfriended that mess ‘cuz nobody’s got the bandwidth for next level crazy.
Anyway, the pushback falls somewhere along the lines of “I’m sick and tired of white people getting blamed for everything. Black people are racist, too!”
White people getting blamed. For being racist. You gotta admit, it takes balls of steel to complain that white people – the ones who dropped onto North America, displaced Native Americans using everything from balance of power to violence, and enslaved an entire race of people to build and fortify this great country – are getting a raw deal. Yeah, tell me again that whites are the aggrieved party.
“It’s not like all white people are the same. I’m IRISH, for God’s sake. They were slaves, too.”
We’ve been taught “white” isn’t a race. That instead of a collective identity as those white folks we’re a delightful array of quirky individuals – Irish, German, French, athletic, intellectual, creative, old, young, and everything in between. If I bounce a check, I made a mistake. But if a black woman bounces a check? It’s “They’re always trying to scam the system, I told you we shouldn’t take personal checks anymore, Becky.”
“That black cashier didn’t even ask if I was ready. She was racist to me.”
First of all, white people have for real got to stop whining about someone being mean to them. A) You’re not five. B) Being mean and being racist aren’t the same thing. C) This right here is the fallout of so many white people being shitty to people of color. You stop attending PTO meetings because the group seems cliquey, but you’re surprised black people might be reluctant to engage with people who consistently treat them as less than?
“My cousin/niece/neighbor’s kid didn’t get into college because of damned affirmative action. How is THAT not racist against whites?”
Let’s start with the fact that the incoming students of color might very well have had a more impressive application than your white applicant. Maybe their GPA was higher, their AP scores better, their extracurriculars more well rounded. Maybe they were just a better fit altogether. But by all means, let’s continue to assume that the ONLY thing they have going for them is melanin. Presume much?
“Stop acting like whitey is the only racist in the house!”
Except whitey IS the only racist in the house. Listen. Your black coworker might be prejudiced as hell. He might be convinced whites can’t dance, our potato salad sucks, and it’ll be a cold day in hell before his daughter dates a white boy JUST BECAUSE – but that doesn’t make him racist. Neither does calling you “white”. Okay, maybe he’s prejudiced, but to be racist your black coworker would have to be part of a power structure that can negatively impact your life. And no, being uncomfortable with #wypipo doesn’t count.