Five Important Things To Keep In Mind Before You Protest The Reaction You Got From A Person Of Color
A lot of would be white allies freak out when people of color start using hostile language. This is nothing new.
But it occurs to me the why is something I’d never realized before.
I’ve said before People of Color are angry and they have every right to be angry.
But when a Person of Privilege is on the receiving end of that anger, they don’t understand it. I mean they literally do not comprehend it. So in trying to figure out why the PoC is angry if they didn’t do anything wrong [in their own minds], they conflate it.
They can’t deal with the cognitive dissonance of realizing that their well-intentioned intrusion or attempt to privsplain is only upsetting those who already have a whole hell of a lot to be angry about.
So they perceive it instead as “bullying” and “mockery” and “hate” as opposed to the justified anger it really is.
So, white people, a few things to keep in mind.
1. Slavery being over does not mean racism is over. The far reaching effects of using people of color as slaves still affects modern society. This is why you see that people of color are usually still maids and chauffeurs in the media. This is why there is such a thing as “driving while black”. This is why there are harsher punishments for people of color than for the privileged for the same crime.
While yes, there are classes, the classes are not the be-all, end-all. They do not know everything. Most textbooks are written by the people in power. Which is to say, the privileged white. And there is not a lot of research done on the experience of People of Color. So it is a very, very bad idea to presume your book learning in the classroom beats the real life School of Hard Knocks, because your book learning is incomplete by design.
Denying the experiences of people who have been through this is disrespectful, so when they get angry at you doing it, understand what you have done to bring it on yourself.
2. Having a black president does not mean racism is over. In fact, President Barack Obama has had more death threats than any other president before him. There have been more lynching effigies since he was elected. And more overt racism. Denying the experience of people who know this has happened, and can prove it is not only disrespectful, it’s willfully ignorant. So this is not merely something that makes people of color angry — it’s infuriating because these things have been on the news, and prove their statements true, and privsplaining them away is an insult.
3. Equating any other ism to racism is an insult. Sexism is bad, yes. But it is not the same as racism. Women may have been stolen at marriagable age to be brides, but people of color were stolen at birth to be slaves. Or born into slavery. So being a person of color and being a feminist mean there are two fights. And the feminism fight is not automatically more important than the fight against racism. So when you say you expect solidarity but do not reciprocate what you’re asking for — you will offend people of color, and they will react with anger. Do not act surprised or hurt.
4. It is not bullying when a person of color becomes angry with anyone who privsplains, denies their experience (especially when there’s proof), or tries to force the person of color to teach them (when there’s a whole, vast internet full of information out there that can easily be retrieved in a few keystrokes). It is a reaction. Bullying is unprovoked cruelty to a weaker or more vulnerable person by a stronger person. By definition, people of color have been provoked and are not in the position of strength.
In fact, you may want to bookmark this site: http://justfuckinggoogleit.com/ and use it before you ask a question. That way you are less likely to needlessly enrage a person of color and still get your question answered. Oh, and by the way? This one is a particularly bad one because it hearkens back to slavery and servants. ”I don’t want to do this work, do it for me.” That’s the message you send to a person of color when you demand they take time out of their lives and educate you to alleviate your ignorance about racism.
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