I usually don’t do things like this, but I had bacon this morning and thus am in a giving mood, so. Here you go: Alex’s Guide to Being a Somewhat Decent White Person, in 30 Quick, Easy Steps! (If you can’t handle sarcasm, turn away now)
Note before we begin: This guide is nowhere near all inclusive, and my PoC followers, please feel free to add more, if you’re feeling inclined to do so.
Also note that I do not speak for all PoC.
1. First things first: Recognize that if you’re white, you’re going to fuck up. 100% money back guarantee. Even if you don’t want to, you will. There’s nothing you can do about that. You could be the most anti-racist white person ever. Great. You’re still going to fuck up. Don’t let this discourage you, though! The good news is this: Nobody expects you to be perfect and nobody expects you to not fuck up. We just expect that when you DO fuck up, you take your call-out like a fucking adult, recognize your mistake, apologize, and then move the fuck on, and try your hardest to not make that mistake again. Maybe learn something in the process. That’s it. No, really. That’s it.
2. Recognize that as a white person, you have white privilege whether you want it or not. You have it. Recognize that you benefit from your white privilege, whether you want to benefit from it or not. It’s not a choice. Recognize that because of your white privilege, you benefit from the oppression of PoC, regardless of whether you think that’s fair or not, regardless of whether you want to or not. You don’t get a choice in it any more than we get a choice in not having those same privileges. That’s not something to feel guilty over, it’s something to be conscious of.
3. People of Color are human beings. With actual feelings! And actual lives, and concerns! We feel physical pain! We feel joy! We break our arms, and do silly things, and do serious things, and like leisurely activities! W O W Z E R S
4. Racism is privilege plus power. White people can’t be victims of racism. You have the most power. PoC have no power over you whatsoever. We can discriminate against you. We can be prejudiced against you. We can’t be racist against you. We don’t have the power to oppress you. The end.
5. Approach everything critically. Nearly everything is built upon white supremacist ideals.
6. If you find yourself calling out PoC for how they handle racism, yet have nothing to say to the actual racist, it’s time for you to go the fuck away.One thing I’ve noticed both on Tumblr, and in real life, is that when a white person starts acting racist, other white people will remain silent, but the second a PoC says something against that white person, other white people will come out in defense of that white person’s racist behavior (“You’re being so harsh!” “Strong language like that will get you nowhere!” “How are they supposed to learn if you won’t educate them?” etc etc etc) . That’s unacceptable in ways that even Lemongrab can’t articulate.
7. When your skinfolk are acting out, it’s on YOU to call them out, especially when you see them harassing PoC. If a PoC wants to speak up, let them. But there’s a difference between collecting your folk (always welcome) and flat out talking over us/speaking FOR us (big no-no). Learn the difference.
8. It’s not our jobs to educate white people on their racism, so don’t expect us to. There are PoC who do like to educate, paid or unpaid. Go see them. For an alternate option, open Google and you’ll have all that shit at your fingertips within seconds. But when a PoC is calling you out, they might not feel like giving you an in depth history lesson on the background of that particular act of racism, and to act like they owe it to you is entitlement. If we feel like educating, we will. In fact, there are plenty of Tumblr blogs created with the sole purpose of educating you on racism. Racismschool is a perfect example.
9. That being said, listen to PoC when they talk about racism. If you prefer listening to white people talk about the racism PoC face, rather than listening to PoC, there’s a problem. Tim Wise and other white people say something about racism, and y’all act like this is brand new information and omg he’s BRILLIANT wow so insightful. No, bitch, we’ve been saying this shit for CENTURIES, and white people are just regurgitating what WE said. It’s just that when PoC talk about our experiences, we’re seen as ~reverse racist~ and emotionally biased, and somehow, white people are able to talk about racism objectively even though they have no experience with racism aside from fucking people over with it.
10. If it seems to you that “no matter what white people do, there’s no way they can interact with a PoC without offending them,” then that says a lot about how you view anti-racist discourse, and it’s time for you to take a step back and try again. Instead of reading it as, “white people fuck up everything” try reading it as “I’m frustrated with white people/white supremacy, and here is why…” Most of the shit you read from us flat out GIVES you the answers you’re looking for in one way or another. It’s really not that hard. Stop looking too far into shit.
11. Instead of getting defensive and trivializing issues because you don’t think it’s a big deal why are you so offended by this you’re being over sensitive the world is so PC omg bawwwwwwwww …… LISTEN. And even if you don’t get why what you did/said was offensive, understand that it WAS offensive, period, and just don’t do it again. Sometimes, understanding isn’t necessary, and sometimes you won’t be able to understand, no matter how hard you try. You don’t have to; just stop.
12. Stop saying “nigga.” This goes for white people AND non-Black PoC alike. It’s not cool for you to do it. Black people say it to reclaim it. White people say it, why? Y’all have nothing to reclaim with that word. Non-Black PoC have no business using it either.
13. Yes, that means in songs, too. Y’all can’t sing it just because it’s part of the lyrics. Either mute yourself for half a second, or stop listening to the song until you can gain enough self control to shut the hell up for one word.
14. Seriously, if you aren’t Black, you can’t say it. Ever. EVER. EVER.
15. While we’re at it, when you use a racial slur and PoC who fall victim to that slur call you out on it, for god’s sake, stop saying it.
16. Recognize that the world doesn’t revolve around white people, despite the ways in which the world will try to tell you it does. (For instance, don’t call us non-white, because that makes, once again, white people the default human and everyone who isn’t white becomes a niche or subtype. You probably didn’t even realize that’s what you were doing, did you? Which is what I mean when I say that this shit is subtle, and engrained in us to the point where it’s hard to detect. Which is fine; sometimes, you just don’t know. It happens. Just be aware that you can only use “I didn’t know” as an excuse once. After you’re informed, you have no excuse. By the way, for future reference, “PoC” will work just fine.)
17. PoC don’t owe you shit and it would behoove you to not act like we do; when you’re ignorant, we don’t owe you niceness. If you did something that dehumanized us, why would you expect us to be nice to you anyway? That’s abuser logic, racism, and fucked uppedness all rolled into one disgusting package, and if you expect us to swallow it either whole or in pieces, you need to get slapped with a cactus, to be frank.
18. Don’t appropriate. If PoC walk around in our own things, we get harassed, assaulted, told to go back to our countries, viewed as suspicious, and at worst, killed. But when white people wear them, it’s cute, trendy, and omg, you’re so worldly. Our cultures are not costumes, fashion trends, or objects to be picked over, the pretty parts taken and the rest discarded. Even if you’re wearing it to appreciate our culture? Don’t. Appropriation isn’t appreciation, it’s disrespect. Period. (And if you think that “Well then maybe you should take off your jeans since those are from white culture and you’re appropriating har har” is an intelligent response then please dip your lips in hot wax, because no no NO.)
19. “NOT ALL WHITE PEOPLE—” Shut the fuck up.
20. Just because one PoC doesn’t find something racist to be offensive, doesn’t mean that it suddenly isn’t offensive, and that it’s okay for you to continue on with whatever you’re doing. For examples, see 15.
21. If you’re being called out for something, recognize how much energy this person is out right now. Seriously, calling people out isn’t fun, because we KNOW how it’s likely to be received. We KNOW what people are likely to think about us. We KNOW how people are likely to take a call out.We KNOW that nine times out of ten, we’re just going to be shut down. We have to pick our battles; if we called out everything, we’d be calling shit out every second of our lives. (And it’s not fair that we have to let some things pass silently, because that gives the impression that what was said/done is okay and not problematic, which isn’t true) It’s not fun. It’s not something we look forward to doing. So when we DO do it, please just listen. Please recognize that it’s not us trying to kill your fun or ruin your day, or us hating you or thinking you’re a terrible person. We’re just trying to gain back the piece of our humanity that you put your foot all over.
22. Being called a racist isn’t worse than whatever racist act you just committed/racist thing you said. So save your boo hoo hurt fee-fee tears for somebody who gives a fuck because I guarantee it won’t be us. Also, being called out for doing something offensive doesn’t mean we called you racist. It doesn’t even mean we think you’re racist. It means you did something problematic and we’re trying to correct you on it so that you won’t do it again.
23. So you got called out and it upset you. Go cry me a god damn river. Guess what? Being called out isn’t SUPPOSED to feel good. It’s not supposed to feel like a pat on the back. Expecting a call out to feel good is like denying somebodies humanity and then expecting them to give you hugs and cookies in return. No, it’s not LIKE that, it IS that. In the same vein, if you get called out by more than one person, and choose to listen to the one who you think was nicer about it? Then fuck you. Both are people expressing their hurt and both are valid, and for you to ignore one in favor of the other—and especially to praise them via “Thank you for being polite/carrying on an intelligent discourse rather than screaming incoherently/etc etc etc” is tone policing as well as trying to set up a Good PoC, Bad PoC dichotomy, and fuck you very much if you engage in that.
24. Whatever racist thing you did or said, you’re not the first white person we’ve dealt with who has done/said it. You’re probably somewhere in the thousands. Know what that means? We’ve dealt with others exactly like you, several times over. That gets annoying the second time around. By the time you strike, we’re fed up with it. So if we just tell you to fuck off, please respect our wishes and do so. We deal with micro-aggressions and blatant and subtle racism day in and day out, every single day, from the day we are born until the day that we die. So if we aren’t the nicest to you, don’t get mad at us for not being polite enough. Be mad at yourself for having done/said something racist and making our day just a little bit shittier with your ignorance. Your racist acts are your fault. You did em. Don’t get mad when you have to deal with consequences for them. If we’re old enough to deal with racism at fucking two years old, then you’re old enough to deal with the consequences at 15, 16, 20, 30,56, 89, 314.
25. Keeping all of the above in mind, remember that we’re all individuals. The best way to deal with PoC is by treating us like the human beings we are, and being constantly aware of your privilege. When you fuck up, apologize, try not to do it again, and move on. It’s not that hard.
26. Cracker isn’t a racial slur. Neither is honky. Neither is curdled milk, cottage cheese, mayonnaise, or white bread. Let it drop. Sorry you aren’t oppressed for your skin color, white people. It must suck not having to deal with racial oppression. Truly. I’m sorry for your misfortune.
27. Intersectionality or shut the fuck up. PoC come in all flavors. We’re queer. We have mental health issues. We have disabilities. We deal with sizeism, misogyny, ableism, and so on. If you think bringing up race in conversations about other oppressions is inappropriate, then take a long hard seat and stay down until summoned.
28. “It’s just a word, it only has as much power as you give it.” NO.
29. Having a PoC spouse, S.O., family member, acquaintance, co-worker, doesn’t mean you can’t be racist or do racist shit. You can, you have, and you will again. And if you make that argument and use them as your get out of jail free card, you’re being racist in that moment because you’re turning them into an excuse to combat being called out for acting like a fucking fool.
If the above is too difficult or too much for you, then there is an alternate solution:
1. Stay away from all PoC, and don’t engage with a single one until you’ve changed your attitude because the last thing PoC need is to be exposed to your ignorance and lack of consideration for their humanity.
Remember that there’s way more than what I’ve listed. Anything here that upset you or made you feel uncomfortable, you should go back and read again, and question very carefully why it made you upset, and then confront your issues. And if I somehow pissed you off, just remember… you asked.
"Blacks are not likely to number themselves among the forty-six million Americans today who can trace the origins of their family wealth to the Homestead Act of 1863, because almost all of that land was allocated to whites through restrictions expressly designed to deny access to blacks.’ They cannot include themselves among the major beneficiaries of the trillions of dollars of wealth accumulated through the appreciation of housing assets secured by federally insured loans between 1932 and 1962 because 98 percent of FHA loans made during that era went to whites via the openly racist categories utilized in the agency’s official manuals for appraisers.’ Most blacks know that past discrimination continues to influence contemporary struggles to accumulate assets because wealth is inherited and passed down across generations.
In recent years, moreover, changes in the tax code have further skewed opportunities and life chances along racial lines by giving favored treatment to those forms of income most likely to represent the fruits of past and present discrimination like inheritance income and capital gains, while lessening the value of income gained through work. The living legacy of past discrimination combines with the impact of contemporary discriminatory practices in mortgage lending, real estate sales, automobile credit financing, and employment to impose artificial impediments against asset accumulation among African Americans."
George Lipsitz (via wretchedoftheearth)
For all those white people who like to think that their ancestors bootstrapped themselves out of poverty without any reliance on government assistance.(via downlo)
"Lee Siegel’s essay, “Rise of the Tiger Nation,” [drawing parallels between Asian American and Jewish American experience] will undoubtedly provoke sharp reactions both within and outside the Asian American community. The fact that I was mentioned as an example of Asian American success (I won “Survivor” during the controversial thirteenth season when the contestants were divided by race), combined with the shirtless photo of me that accompanied the article, has already caused me some consternation. […] My friend, Jeff Yang, has written an excellent response explaining why blanket assertions about Asians and Asian Americans are misguided, so I won’t try to articulate the same points here in less articulate fashion.
However, I do think it’s worth highlighting one critical difference between Jews and Asian Americans that Siegel’s essay doesn’t touch upon. In general, Jews are more easily able to assimilate into American society because of the absence of easily identifiable physical traits that distinguish them from other “white” Americans. For example, Jon Stewart is Jewish (he was born “Jonathan Leibowitz”), but most people would never know this If he didn’t make reference to his Jewish background. By contrast, one of the drivers of the enduring “perpetual foreigner” stereotype for Asian Americans is the fact that we obviously look different from whites (as well as blacks). Consequently, it often doesn’t matter if we were born in the US, educated here, work here, or even Americanize our names – the immediate presumption that many people make upon seeing us is that we’re foreigners because we don’t look conventionally American."
Yul Kwon, shirtless or not, makes a point that’s so obvious — literally in your face — that it really doesn’t need to be said: Asians don’t look white and can’t pass for white. Asians will never be seen as “fully American” in our lifetimes; that’s just the way it is. It doesn’t bother me one bit. In my view, it’s not something we need.
"Apparently, to newscasters, Blacks vote for Obama because he’s Black. But Whites vote for Obama because of his policies."
IKR but when white ppl vote for someone because their white, which is all the time, that’s totes ok!
My sister told me something really interesting she learned at school. Race actually doesn’t exist. It’s simply a human-made perception. Think about it like this: do humans come in different species? No. Just because one person is Japanese and the other is American, that doesn’t mean they’re both different types of humans. We’re all human. Nothing divides us. Just keep that in mind.
I wish people would stop saying this.
I get what you’re trying to say, and I’m sure it comes from a sincere place, but statements like this are incredibly dismissive.
I’ll explain why.
Just because race isn’t a biological reality, that doesn’t invalidate the fact that race is a social reality.
Positions like this, “There’s no such thing as race, we’re all just people,” is an incredibly privileged statement to make. And it almost exclusively comes from White People.
And this is because White People aren’t used to having their lives defined by their race. As the default “human” their used to being referred to as a “person” not a “Black person” or an “Asian person”. They never have to deal with having an addendum attached to their humanity.
People of Color are never just “people”. We’re never defined by our common humanity, it’s always about our otherness, our non-Whiteness.
So we don’t have the luxury of saying that “we’re just people” because we never are just “people”.
And it’s not just that we don’t have the luxury of being referred to as simply “people” it’s also that our identities are hard fought.
Do you know how much effort, unlearning, and relearning it takes before one says that they’re proud to be Black? For some people it takes a whole lifetime and for other’s not even that.
We had to teach ourselves pride because we needed it in order to survive. So to try and say to a person who has put so much effort in taking pride in an identity that was forced upon them, that their identity doesn’t matter. It’s incredibly disrespectful.
So yes, biologically speaking, we’re all just humans.
But there is faaaar more to life than biology.
I’m sure you meant well when you thought this, but….yeah….It’s not the most conscious statement in the world.
When white actors get roles intended for non-white actors…
Liam Neeson as Ra’s Al Ghul in The Dark Knight Rises. His name in Arabic has been translated in the comics as “The Demon’s Head”. Ra’s Al Ghul is born to a tribe of nomads in a desert somewhere in Arabia, near a city whose inhabitants’ ancestors have journeyed to the Arabian Peninsula from China.
Marion Cotillard as Talia Al Ghul in The Dark Knight Rises. The graphic novel “Batman: Birth of the Demon” explains how she was of mixed Chinese and Arab descent.
Tom Hardy as Bane in The Dark Knight Rises. Bane is Hispanic. There is no getting around it. He was born in the fictional Caribbean Republic of Santa Prisca, in a prison called Peña Dura, and speaks Spanish as his first language. Bane is a person of color.
Is there not one about the war bonnet?
Bringin’ this back.
Not only because Halloween is coming up, but because the lovely golden-zephyr was gracious to make one about Romani “costumes”!
Remember, as this-is-not-native reminds us, there are endless cute, sexy, funny, even offensive costumes that don’t perpetuate racist stereotypes. There is really no excuse.
PSA: patterns are not the same as stereotypes
When people say all asians are good at karate, that’s a stereotype. It is based on some small fact— that karate is a Japanese martial art— but it’s grossly exaggerated into characterizing an entire group of people. It’s a caricature, like saying all asians have slanty eyes and confuse their R’s and L’S. Those things are based on actual facts, but they are blown way out of proportion and made to dehumanize people. That’s a stereotype.
When People of Color talk about being afraid of the police because they’re white, that’s not a stereotype. It’s a pattern. As in, you can legitimately prove that PoC (especially Black and Latin@ people) are vastly, statistically more likely to be murdered, beaten, or otherwise mistreated by cops. This is a proven fact by scientific study and lots of personal experience.
And even more so, believing in a pattern is a matter of survival— a white guy could make a racist joke any day and move on and not face any negative consequences. PoC have to watch how they speak and act around cops because they could actually get hurt and even die. It doesn’t matter that for every 100 cops, there’s 1 good cop. The pattern is there, it’s real, and if you don’t follow it bad shit could happen. It’s survival.
A stereotype is bullshit. A stereotype is a joke made at the expense of other people that eventually snowballs into real world consequences. A pattern is about surviving to see the next day, about a lifetime or repeated occurrences that clearly outline how a group of people is and can absolutely become a threat to you. A stereotype is one tiny thing you decided to harp on until it became an imagined threat, a difference that you could not reconcile with your small worldview. A pattern is about making sure that the people you love don’t get killed.
Patterns =/= stereotypes. It’s nice that you’re an exception to the pattern, but my characterizing all people like you as such is most certainly not a dehumanizing stereotype. Check yourself.
"television taught me to see “white” as simply the default for “human."
I keep having discussions about Disney films and how racist many of the classics are, but the subject that I most fall upon is the 1953 version of Peter Pan, which holds an absurd breadth of racial stereotypes that there are musical numbers and plot sequences directly the product of such racial stereotypes of Native Americans. Certainly, the film’s portrayal undoubtedly permeated into the pretend games of children and their perception of how Native Americans behaved - I know this movie influenced me to wear feathers in my hair, pretend to do Indian tribal dances, and say “how” over and over.
The defense I hear most often from people is that films like Peter Pan “were not racist at the time they were made.”
What they really mean is that white people didn’t think it was racist at the time they were made. The film is just as racist then just as it is now. The fact that people can say movies like Peter Pan were “products of their time” negate that actual Native Americans have been vocal about their objections to the homogenization and stereotypical portrayal of their cultures and their race for literally centuries, but white people just didn’t listen to them. The constant apologism that something “wasn’t racist back then” implies that it is white society that deems what is racist, rather than the people of color directly affected and portrayed. Again, if it is racist now, it was racist then.
Also, children buy into these stereotypes, but children didn’t make this film; grown men did. It was a grown man who wrote the original Peter Pan story and its stereotypical portrayals of Natives. People talk about white creators back then as if they were little kids who didn’t know better. We shouldn’t give them an easy reprieve because a bunch of grown men “didn’t know better” to consider that Native Americans were people and not caricatures. If you like Peter Pan, you can like it, but we shouldn’t downplay its racism nor make excuses.
What people forget about racial “preference” or whatever
Is that if love is really rooted in the “personality” they why would you have a need for a preference anyway?
But not only that, when people have these “preferences” (losers it’s a fetish, deal with it.) They’re generally looking for certain racial stereotypes that they idolize, glorify and fetishize.
In Asian women is that obedient, demure “Me love you long time.” idea.
In Latina is the “Fiery Latin”
Like that shits not okay, but some dude is trying to talk to me because he thinks I can help him live his dream of, shit I dunno Sha nay nay from Martin and then he sees I can’t/won’t he’s out.
These people don’t want to get to know us, we’re nothing more than a bragging notch and wish fulfillment. Sorry if I don’t want to be apart of that?
White people KNOW they’re being offensive. They just don’t care.
Let a movie crack a Black joke.
An Asian joke.
A joke about Middle Eastern people or anybody who looks it, being a terrorist.
Let white folk in a film sexualize Native Americans, or exoticize the women (or men in some cases) of any PoC group.
Let a celebrity make a joke or offensive remark about a non-white person, or an ethnic group on a whole.
Let a white person go on national television in blackface, redface, yellowface, brownface, etc.
White folk will laugh right on along and excuse it at every turn.
“Oh, it’s just a joke.” “It’s not meant to be offensive.” “Relax. You don’t have to take everything so seriously.” “Well, but race jokes are funny! Doesn’t make me racist to laugh.” “I don’t see how that’s offensive!” “How is that offensive?”
But let a non-white person—famous, obscure, anywhere, at any time—say the magic words: “white people.”
A full blown joke about the a stereotype that led to the genocide of a people is hilarious. But two simple words—no context needed—will have white folks flipping their lids.
Well guess what, white people?
If jokes about race are fine, so long as you aren’t the butt of it?
If you “don’t get” how a race joke is offensive, but at the same time, tense up when there is a film called, “Dear White People,” or when a PoC anywhere says, “white people”?
Then you need to shut up because you 1. are lying 2. think we’re really that stupid 3. are so far deep in denial about your own racism that there isn’t any hope of you not drowning. Either way, you are full of shit. We been done seent y’all.
But you seriously think ain’t nobody onto you?
Note: Oh, and white folk who are going to comment that “Well, I think jokes about white people are hilarious,” and “Well, this white person can appreciate a good joke about white people,” and “I don’t get offended.” ….yeah, shut up. I know you exist. This isn’t about you. And I don’t need the special snowflake white people announcing their presence; nobody put you on the guest list anyway.
"For Black intellectuals, the bourgeois model of intellectual activity is problematic. On the one hand, the racist heritage-aspects of the exclusionary and repressive effects of white academic institutions and humanistic scholarship-puts Black intellectuals on the defensive: There is always the need to assert and defend the humanity of Black people, including their ability and capacity to reason logically, think coherently and write lucidly. The weight of this inescapable burden for Black students in the white academy has often determined the content and character of Black intellectual activity."
Cornel West (via wretchedoftheearth)