For starters, there are a LOT of white people out there who speak up against racism. I see it just about every day. You’ve had enough of racism against people of color happening, for one, but you’re also sick of you fellow white folks creating excuses for it, especially in this day and age where it is more blatant than ever, thanks to the person who calls himself the president. People are being caught on video and straight up about their racism. Not even hiding it anymore. For some reason, these people feel as though Donald Trump and his supporters are cool with it, so they carry on. But I truly feel the majority of decent white people out there are of the variety to call out racism, not by masking it, making excuses, or the infamous “NOT ALL WHITE PEOPLE!” nonsense. They’re straight forward about being displeased about racism. If that is you, I salute you for it. Thank you for doing what’s right.
Ah, but then there are others. White folks who are “tired” of hearing people of color bring up racism. Yes, you go on social media, you comment on the posts of your friends of color (because after all, you’ve many times announced that “couldn’t be racist because you have black friends” and all) to declare that you are just SICK of hearing people bring up racism. You stomp your feet, cross your arms, make mean faces or whatever else and declare that the talking about racism “needs to stop” and why? Because you have “had enough!”
Have a seat.
I attended probably one of the most white privileged high schools in Baltimore County once we moved out there from the city. Surely not the most, but it was predominantly white to say the least. I’ve had people I went to school try and pitifully do this. They’ve said that I “keep racism alive.” They do the infamous deflecting to crime in Chicago or even Baltimore City when we speak about police brutality. They have been silent on my posts when I talk about positive things, but out of nowhere, they respond to dictate to me that I need to stop talking about racism.
These folks seem to forget that I’ve known them for MANY years. A few wouldn’t so much as talk to black people as they almost never hung around with us. Some would not date black people and probably still don’t (I obviously don’t keep them all around as friends), and they’re trying to tell me about racism and how much it “bothers” them to hear people talking about it. I actually found that to be hilarious. They’ve likely never even experienced racism (surely not where they grew up), and they are the resident experts on how to fix it and it is, of course, by not talking about it.
There was even one woman (another displeased about me bring racism up) who made a comment to me that I believe was meant to be a put-down, including the fact that I was a different person when I “had the crush on her.”
No, honey…it was my older brother who had the crush on you. Honestly, I thought you had the personality of a burnt french fry, but I digress. Moving on.
I don’t know why people out there feel as though being “tired” of folks bringing up racism somehow trumps the fact that people are going through it. Seriously. And I don’t have to experience it all day, every day to mention it. As I said above, people are being caught on video exhibiting these behaviors. This isn’t some dude just rambling off nonsense. VIDEO is out there.
Now I don’t need to say that people want to pretend racism doesn’t exist. Of course they do. That’s no surprise.
People have questioned why I haven’t said anything about people of color when they are racist. Oh, but I do. I’ve even written blog posts about it. Quite a few, actually. So…there’s that.
But this feeling of “STOP IT! I DON’T WANT TO HEAR ABOUT RACISM ANYMORE!” to me at least, screams of White Privilege. That’s it. The thought process and belief that if you shout it loudly enough or declare strongly enough that you are “tired of hearing about it” that people of color will stop speaking about is comical to me, and sad at the same time.
After all, if you are “tired of hearing about it,” imagine how it is for those of us who have to experience it.
That would be like if someone kept setting fire to the house of one of your neighbors, yet you somehow feel that being “tired of seeing it” means more than what your neighbor feels like in going through it each day.
Here’s a news flash for you.
My theory of why it is so difficult for some people to acknowledge racism or why it’s easy to proclaim how “tired” you are of it is because it forces you to look at yourself.
It is much easier to dismiss the notion of racism than to take an honest look at yourself and wonder if you are contributing to the problem with blatancy, or even the constant dismissal of it. I truly believe it is the latter. I’ve had a few white folks tell me that while they were not racist, they eventually realized that certain behaviors and attitudes they had contributed to the problem and they took a good look at themselves. I absolutely salute them for that as well.
Unfortunately, not all can do that.
Burying your head in the sand may work for you. Pretending something isn’t a problem might be okay for you also. After all, if you cover your ears and yell “LALALALALALALALA” loudly enough, you could drown out what’s going on. Great job.
But for those of us in the real world and are FAR more often judged by the color of our skin rather than the content of our character, it isn’t that simple.
So instead of trying to dismiss people of color because you are uncomfortable with the mention of something they experience just about every day, take a second and try to understand why. I made it a point to acknowledge that all white people are not this way. I took the time to understand where some come from rather than putting everyone together, because yes, I know it isn’t everyone and I want to be fair.
Why is it so hard to do the same for us?