White people are PISSED.

April 5, 2012 ginginbonbon

I have, at times, embarrassed the people around me with my casual complaints about white people. It is true that I often complain about white people, and that I do so in a casual manner. It is also true that I try to surround myself with people who are moderately aware of and generally on board with ideas pertaining to social justice and cultural critique, and/or people who prefer not to identify as white.

A big part of the backlash against ever daring to mention race while in polite company is that (not just white) people find it alienating. It’s true that you’re not going to win allies by making people feel awkward, or worse still, bad about themselves, they’re just going to stick to their guns, whatever guns they have lying around, with even more conviction. I just find the idea of walking on eggshells around the existence of white privilege or racism is a slippery slope; we need more honest, frank communication, not less. Not to mention, I have no idea how that kind of hand-holding would even work. I don’t need permission from people who have never given the issue a moment’s thought to have a conversation about it. I’m certainly not asking these hypothetical people to frame the terms of the discussion or decide what kind of language is appropriate. (And anyway, people who want to pick apart how or when you approach white privilege are never interested in talking about white privilege. They want to change the subject as quickly as possible, or maybe make it seem like you were wrong about something one time and therefore nothing you have to say about anything has any value whatsoever. Apparently this is how argument works in 2012.)

I wish I could say things in a way that made everyone feel comfortable enough to really give it some thought. But for now, if my white mama doesn’t get it, or it makes me unpopular at parties or something, so be it. I’m working on it. If someone gets offended, I don’t think there is a whole lot I can do about it. It’s bigger than you and me and our delicate sensibilities and our social circles and and and. I do wonder about how I must come across, as a white-looking person complaining about Shit White People Say. Mostly I think it’s probably something I can live with. And because I try my best to consider this, the notion of perception, I’ll have to remember to ask someone playing devil’s advocate* in a conversation about marginalization what they think they look like.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. ginginbonbon&hellip  | 

    As for “reverse racism” or “racism” against whites, well, it doesn’t deserve more than a postscript. Did I make some horrible, damaging generalization about white people by pointing out white privilege? Am I perpetuating a system where white people are denied jobs, housing, the opportunity to thrive with equality and dignity? Didn’t think so. I know, it’s so sad and unfair.

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