I am writing this post to address an issue that has repeatedly come up in the e-mails that I get. Many people tell me that they agree with the point I make until I start to talk about Whiteness. Whiteness makes them uncomfortable it seems, so I suppose I should be quiet and put up with the racism that is directed at Black people. How dare I make people uncomfortable. It feels like they are waiting for a great White God in the sky to come and smote me into submission. I really don’t care about peoples fees fees when I am talking about race, because quite frankly there is too much at stake. It is bad enough that I have to write the same posts repeatedly because someone cannot be bothered to get their 101 on.
What is a poor White person to do — they are after all disadvantaged in conversations about race right? Ummm that would be your privilege speaking loudly in your ear sweetie. If you cannot hold your own in an anti-racist conversation, it is because you have not bothered to learn what it is the marginalized go through every damn day of their life. You get to walk around in your own little White heaven, where everything reflects you and every one thinks that you’re just amazing. Woot freaking hooray for Whiteness. Oh I know you think that you are reaching out, but when you are closeted away in your all White neighborhoods, attending your all White schools, and hanging out with your all White friends, the effort is very hard to see and dude I wear glasses.
But, but, but, what do us darkies want from Whiteness anyway. Poor White people just cannot win. Whiteness has after all come such a long way. Just look – Blacks can vote, there is a Black president — all you have to do is ignore the over representation in the penal industrial complex (can’t expect Whitey to give up its surplus population) the over representation in the military (well someone’s gotta die for the right to be racist pigs), the police brutality (hey, at least they’re not wearing White sheets anymore), the purposeful under education (hey they let us have ebonics, how’s that for a bone), and higher rates of unemployment (But look at all of those wonderful social programs like work fare that keep you from starving) It’s all better than slavery — so why aren’t Black people thrilled?
Oh I know you don’t see colour anymore and that everybody bleeds the same red blood, unless of course it means having real access to power or significant privilege. Things have already gone so far that did you know that White people are experiencing racism? I know..wow…dude… It’s not like Blacks have anything to be angry about, what’s a little slavery, rape, abuse, hate speech, destruction of families, cross burning, racism between cultural friends? Just ignore that not even dogs make friends that way. I would rather have my ass sniffed than put up with the way that Whiteness is friendly towards people of colour. If I wag my tail do you think you can try to stop complaining that it isn’t cool for White people to use the word nigger? A small bone, but really it won’t put a dent in all of the other privileges that come with Whiteness.
So, right about now you are turning uncomfortably thinking about how angry I am. Ooooh beware the angry Black woman. I sho nuff knows boss, that good nigras are calm and takes they punishment happily. Whiteness maybe invisible to you because you benefit from it but to me it is everywhere I look. I can’t even watch the Food Network, without being reminded that Whiteness is what counts. As I walk down the street some White woman will clutch her purse and here on the internet, though I pushed out my children with my woman’s cunt, I still don’t count as a mommy. If I could find one place, besides a room with no television, books, magazines, radio, internet, or White people where I could experience anything close to equality, I would be more than happy to be quiet. Virginia Wolfe once wrote that in order to write one needs a room of one’s own, well in order to be race free one needs an empty room. One leads to creation and the other reminds you of exactly how “othered” you are in this world.
People tune out when I start blaming Whiteness for the problems of POC because they don’t want to own their privilege. They tune out because it hurts to know that everything you take for granted, makes the world unsafe for me and my children. You see, I cannot run away and I certainly cannot hide; I have to face the ugliness everyday. So when you flinch and obfuscate it makes me want to ask where is your courage? If I must stare into the abyss why can’t you? Oh yes, privilege — how could I forget. Talking critically about racism and Whiteness is not easy, but it is not any harder than the racism a person of colour has to put up with every day. And if you truly believe that you are to delicate too acknowledge that, please stop wasting my time and move on.