I’ve been a bit frustrated with the discussion of race lately, largely because on Tumblr it seems as if a person is required to express outright hostility for all white people if they want to validate themselves as an opponent of racism, and I fail to see how that is a constructive way to further progress race relations. It makes people sound like supremacists rather than proponents of racial equality.
Criticism of white maleness is also a pretty popular tactic for people trying to weasel their way out of responsibility for being an asshole. (Case in point, the person who was making fun of a white guy for having cross racial attractions and another person complaining about a white person with dreads. Both told me I was ignorant and had no right to comment on the matter for being a white man, though my only comment was to point out that they’re being assholes.)
I’m never going to know what it’s like to be a person-of-color or the extent of your struggles, and therefore, I don’t make authoritative statements on race. Nor do I really have an opinion apart from trying to treat people equally in life. I also get that there have been big reasons to be pissed off this week as well. (Billy Crystal’s blackface, among others.)
But, I see people on my dash making authoritative negative statements on white people as if all of us are to blame for the problem of racism in the world. In my life I feel I’ve lived in a manner that makes me undeserving of unmitigated, baseless hostility. I’ve spent thousands of dollars and half of my life helping my mother and father raise six special-needs children who are people of color. One of these kids was born addicted to cocaine, and she’s grown into a young woman that as a freshman in high school is already being scouted for college basketball programs. She’s also won several national championships in cheer and her team placed 16th at worlds. Another of these children had a half sister that was set on fire by their birth mother. My six year-old brother was born with a heart defect due to his birth mother’s drug abuse, and I spent every moment I could at his bedside when he had open-heart surgery at age two. All of our kids were exposed to drugs, and most experienced heartbreaking abuse and neglect.
Not only have we helped our kids succeed by giving them a loving, supportive home and family, but I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say we helped save lives, given the environments they lived in prior to their adoption.
I don’t ask for much, but as much as people of color, LGBT people, women, and others don’t want to be lumped in and stereotyped, is it too much to ask that you pay me the same courtesy?
Holy shit, dude. White savior much? You actually admitted that you have no idea what it’s like to be a PoC and then criticized PoC for distrusting or disliking white people? There are some things you need to realize.
- 1: You are just another white dude. I am just another white dude. When you criticize a PoC (who’s been shit on by white dudes since they were born) for having a problem out of the gate with white dudes, you’re just perpetuating your own stereotype. If you went to Canada and 99% of the motherfuckers you met in Canada tried to steal your laptop, you’d probably get the impression that 99% of Canadians are laptop thieves, and you might also get the ridiculously paranoid notion that the 1% of people who didn’t try to steal your laptop are probably just trying to be your friend to prove what incredible non-laptop-thieves they are. This isn’t a difficult concept. You are just another white dude. Say that in front of the mirror.
- 2: Part of your loss of perspective comes in at the point that you believe you’re personally resolved of all wrongdoing because of ‘good’ things you’ve done in the past, or associations you’ve had. I hear a couple dozen violently racist people a day talking about their Black friend or they dated a Black person, or their mom is married to a Black dude, etc etc etc. It doesn’t matter. You’re white. You have always been treated like a white person, and you think like a white person. Your privilege allows you to think (because you’ve done good things for PoC in the past) that a justly defensive mentality among PoC toward white people is unjustified. It’s not. It’s just not.
- 3: This post might as well have been titled Good Guy Ryan and the Mean Ol’ PoC. You have it in your head that for people to be opposed to whiteness somehow negates the actual effects of whiteness, which are extensive and ghastly. Again, this is privilege. You’re mildly annoyed by PoC expression their displeasure of white people and of continuous systematic racism. This, itself, is racism. You are being racist. If somebody calls you racist, you’re not being lumped in. This is something that you very much need to understand.
- 4: I yell at white people constantly. I blame white people for racism and for systematic racial oppression. My entire blog is dealing with white people, and I’m white. This necessitates that I partially take responsibility for whiteness. I don’t hate white people (for me, that would be a little bit counter-productive), but I do hate whiteness, and this is another distinction that you need to make. Start with admitting where you are to blame (like… re-read everything you just typed) and do better. So far, you’re pretty much another white dude who responded to an accusation of racism by being extra racist.
- 5: Everything I just told you, I tell myself every day. Everything I just said was very easy to say. It’s when you start to change the way that you think that it gets harder, but I’m still of the mind that it’s easier to be white and have to learn some shit about racism than it is to be a PoC and constantly experience it.
I thought you knew better than this. I really did.
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