If I see three or four young black men walking down the street, I have to stop them and check their names. I want them to be afraid every time they see the police that they might get arrested. — Chief Russell Mills to the LA Times after shooting and killing black 89-year-old great grandfather Shawn Monroe at a barbecue unprovoked. Today, he walks free with no charges, despite numerous witnesses and his own admission that he enjoys terrorizing black people. (via writeswrongs)
Discussions about racism should be all-inclusive and open to people of all skin colors. However, to put it simply, sometimes White people lack the experience or education that can provide a rudimentary foundation from which a productive conversation can be built. This is not necessarily the fault of the individual, but pervasive myths and misinformation have dominated mainstream racial discourse and often times, the important issues are never highlighted. For that reason, The Frisky has decided to publish this handy list that has some basic rules and information to better prepare anyone for a worthwhile discussion about racism.
1. It is uncomfortable to talk about racism. It is more uncomfortable to live it.
2. “Colorblindness” is a cop-out. The statements “but I don’t see color” or “I never care about color” do not help to build a case against systemic racism. Try being the only White person in an environment. You willnotice color then.
3. Oprah’s success does not mean the end of racism. The singular success of a Black man or woman (i.e. Oprah, or Tiger Woods, or President Obama) is never a valid argument against the existence of racism. By this logic, the success of Frederick Douglas or Amanda America Dickson during the 19th century would be grounds for disproving slavery.
4. Reverse racism is BS, but prejudice is not. Until people of color colonize, dominate and enslave the populations of the planet in the name of “superiority,” create standards of beauty based on their own colored definition, enact a system where only people of color benefit on a large-scale, and finally pretend like said system no longer exists, there is no such thing as reverse racism. Prejudice is in all of us, but prejudice employed as a governing structure is something different.
5. America has not “gotten over” its race-related problems. In American History class you learned about slavery and Jim Crow, but sadly you were taught that figures like Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks eradicated an entire 200-year history of oppression, discrimination and segregation. Your history teachers and books tried close the race chapter on a high note, however the ongoing history of America’s systemic racism cannot be simply wrapped up and decorated with a “now we all are equal” bow.
6. Google is your best friend. Search: Black/White wealth gap, redlining, “White flight,” subprime mortgages and black families, discriminatory sentencing practices, occupational overcrowding, workplace discrimination, employment discrimination, mandatory minimum sentences and in-school segregation to start. Here are some highlights:
7. Then read some more. Google: Black Wall Street, Sundown towns, eugenics and forced sterilization, and Black voting prohibition.
8. Buy and read a book from a Black author. Some recommendations: W.E.B Dubois, James Baldwin, Frederick Douglass, Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, Ralph Ellison, Alice Walker and Zora Neale Hurston would be a great start.
9. Realize that segregation is still rampant. Step outside and take a look around your neighborhood. Lacking people of color much? That is called segregation. It is not by chance, though sometimes by choice. (Refer to “redlining” Google search.)
- About your neighborhood again: Displacing people of color much? That is called gentrification.
- Think about the schools you went to and the classes you had. Not too many minorities in either? (Refer to school segregation/in-school segregation.)
10. Programs or initiatives that target systemic racism are not “charity.” We do not refer to the 200 years of free labor provided by enslaved Blacks as charity. Or the Black property stolen by Whites during the decades of state-supported terrorism? Or, say, the unfair banking practices that have completely decimated the Black middle class through foreclosures (refer to subprime mortgages and Black families google search)?
11. Black on Black crime does not exist. There are countless White people committing crimes against White people, but “White-on-White crime” is strangely absent from the rhetoric reporting everything from elementary school shootings to world wars. Why should crimes committed by and against people of color be labelled any differently?
12. White people will not become the minority in America in the next 20 years. “Whites” were originally Anglo-Saxon Protestants (WASPs). The definition of “White,” as a racial classification, has evolved to include “Whiter-skinned” minority groups who were historically discriminated against, barred from “Whiteness” and thus had little access to opportunity. Some examples: Italians and the Irish (who were frequently referred to as n***ers in the 1800’s), Jewish people and more recently Hispanic (George Zimmerman) and Armenian minority groups. Such evolutions, however, always exclude Blacks.
13. Hip-hop culture is no more dysfunctional than Wall Street culture. At its worst, commercial “Black culture” is a raw reflection of broader society. The caricatured imagery of drugs, money, and women are headlined most prominently by Wall Street, politicians, and media moguls but this reality never comes to reflect on White people. America spends more on weaponry than the most of the rest of the world combined but somehow it is the “violence” of hip-hop that is an exclusive pathology.
14. Black people are angry about racism, and they have every right to be. Anger is a legitimate and justified response to years of injustice and invisibility.
15. There are poor White people, but racism and discrimination still exists. The plight of the poor White midwest always makes a convenient appearance to deflect any perceived accusation of privilege or to derail conversations of racism. Racist American policy was never about securing the success of all White people, but rather about legalizing the disenfranchisement of Blacks and other people of color.
16. Silence does nothing. Blank stares and silence do not further this difficult but necessary conversation.
17. White guilt is worthless, but White action isn’t. One of the most immediate responses to racial discourse is that the effort is all about making White people feel guilty. Discourse about racism is not meant to stir up feelings of guilt, it is meant to drive people to action against injustice. During the times of slavery and the era of the Civil Rights Movement, both Black and White people played and continue to play instrumental roles in Black advancement.
18. Black people are not obligated to answer the “Well, what do we do about it?” question. Though many of us do and are not heard. The call for reparations in the form of “Baby Bonds” is a great idea. So isdesegregating our classrooms and closing the school-to-prison pipeline. These courageous voices are speaking very loudly — it is time to start listening.
1. “The peanut gallery”: Just a dismissive term for hecklers or critics, right? Wrong. You’ll probably never use this phrase in reference to a group of black people again once you know its history. Itoriginally referred to the balconies of segregated theaters, where African Americans had to sit. (Why “peanut”? Apparently, peanuts were introduced to America during the slave trade and thus became associated with blacks.)
2. “The jig is up”: Although this expression is used today to describe a joke or scheme that has been revealed or foiled, you’re the one whose fun might end quickly if you say it to the wrong person. This hasn’t been proved beyond a doubt, but many believe the saying was used in its original form by some in the American South to refer to the lynching of a black person. Replace “j” with “n” andyou’ll get it.
3. “Call a spade a spade”: For more than 500 years, this expression has meant “to tell it like it is.” But it wasn’t until the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s that “spade” became a disparaging code word for black people. It’s probably best to retire this phrase forever.
4. “Sold down the river”: Today, if people say they’ve been “sold down the river,” they probably mean they’ve been betrayed. But when the phrase originated, that betrayal was a lot more serious. During slavery, being “sold down the river” was literal. Slave owners would sell their slaves and send them via the Mississippi or Ohio River to plantations in the Deep South, where plantation conditions were much worse.
5. “Eeny, meeny, miny, moe”: Learning the history of this phrase might taint your childhood memories. Heard at playgrounds around the world, this counting-out expression comes from a classic children’s rhyme dating back to the 19th century. Some early versions include the lyric, “Catch a n—ger by the toe.” The n-word was replaced by “tiger” in later years. Not quite as cute now, is it?
6. “Cotton-picking”: “Are you out of your cotton-picking mind?” We’ve all heard the phrase, but the term has an ugly, if debatable, past. Some say it was used to denote the inferior status of poor farmers and field hands in the Southern states, many of whom were slaves. We’ll just say you’d have to be crazy to say this to anyone who might associate it with that history.
7. “Spook”: How can this word be so bad? If you’ve ever celebrated Halloween, you’ve used some version of it. What is now used regularly to mean “ghost” or to frighten is also a slur akin to “n—ger.” It may have its origins in the perception that dark skin blends into the night, making black people ghostlike. Scarily racist.
8. “Grandfather clause”: You may have been lucky enough to be “grandfathered” into your cellphone plan, but this term has an ugly past. During the 1890s, half a dozen Southern states enacted laws to defy the 15th Amendment and prevent black people from exercising their newfound right to vote. In these states, you were allowed to vote only if your parents or grandparents were able to vote before the year 1867—which was conveniently before blacks had access to the ballot. These days we all have equal rights to this phrase, but it’s probably best if we agree to go ahead and drop it.
Shit, my old, black, U.S. History teacher says half of these.
Don’t forget, Indian Giver and Gyping people in line.
And the worst part about all of this, is there are terms we learn as children, mostly in the school system or on play grounds.
So lemme get this straight.
America is stunned that a rich white man can have a black girlfriend (who he only sees as his delicate white girl or his delicate Latina whose caliente Mexican descent overrides her blackness), a white wife, and an empire built on the backs and sweat of his black 40 Million Dollar Slaves and still hate black people.
America is acting brand new like they never heard of the white master messing around with the house negro that he didn’t want associating with field negros while married to his white wife and building his empire off of field negros.
Come on son.
White America is stunned that White America is still racist.
White America is stunned that White America is still racist.
Amerikkka doesn’t like black people, only black culture or the talents of black people that create white empires.
A North Carolina grand jury has decided not to indict a Charlotte police officer arrested last year for manslaughter after he unloaded 10 rounds from his pistol into a former college athlete who’d sought the officer’s help.
Members of the grand jury said there wasn’t enough evidence to indict Randall Kerrick, 28, of the felony charge, asking prosecutors to refile the case with lesser charges, according to NBC News. But prosecutors say the entire grand jury wasn’t present for that vote, and they want to try again for manslaughter.
Kerrick earned infamy last year when he shot Jonathan Ferrell, 24, a former Florida A&M football player, 10 times in the middle of the night last September. Ferrell had crashed his car in what police called “a pretty serious accident,” and he was reportedly seeking help while in distress. After a nearby homeowner called police, Ferrell staggered toward the officers who arrived on the scene. That’s when Kerrick shot the man. Again: 10 times.
THIS WHITE PERSON
IS CALLING ME RACIST
IF I WASN’T HAVING A FUCKING PANIC ATTACK I’D LAUGH
but I’m glad to know your alliances lie with the whites, Chels
That’s good to know
I’ve been meaning to cut the poisonous people from my life anyway
And this just shows how hurtful and ignorant you are. You are honestly the most ignorant person I’ve ever come across. I am not a white person, you are severely oppressing my identity. I’m Italian and Irish. I do not identify myself as a “white person.” Racist. ^This is just to quote you and your identity problems.
Listen to me. The fact that you think you have a choice in your racial identity in and of itself is a privilege. The only people who have ever had any choice in such a discussion are white people, as people of color are immediately labeled otherwise. You are white. Your ‘ethnic identity’ does not negate the fact that you are white. No one walking down the street is going to say ‘Hey! That girl is Irish and Italian! I remember when these ethnic groups were marginalized in the united states (and fyi: they haven’t been for a long fucking time).’ You are white to the world, you are white to the society that serves white people first and foremost.
You’ve said in subsequent posts that your family did not engage in racism and oppression, and that you haven’t either. Maybe that would be easier to believe if you weren’t engaging in oppression and racism right this very moment. By claiming phantom discrimination (ie: racism against white people does not exist) and asserting a choice in racial identity (which no other group is given), you are prioritizing yourself and your whiteness over everything else. You are embarrassing yourself.
A lot of times people make excuses for old people’s racism, as if racism is just a product of a bygone era and it will die out when the old people do…I always think that if my old people have to suffer racism, your old people should get called on it. —
Old People and Racism (via downlo)
I am not about to coddle these folks and “respect my elders” when not but too long ago these folks were calling for MY PEOPLE to fucking get lynched and die and shit. Hell the fuck no. You think you’re immune from my wrath but you’re not.
ALL OF FUCKING THIS
My mother was born in 1957.
She was in grade school when the whole desegregation shit went down.
She told me about how white women would treat her like shit for daring to want to fucking learn.
My grandfather told me of how white men his age would fucking JOKE about how they should have ‘put the niggers in the concentration camps because Germany had the right idea.’ He’s a WWII Vet.
Fuck what you heard.
I WILL NEVER EXCUSE OLD PEOPLES RACISM
oh god the social justice bloggers came for me
Has you life really been so fucking golden that you think you’re experiencing hatred right now?????
Do you realize that the fact that you are living a life in which you have the privilege to be ignorant of police violence and that insulated you from even having to KNOW that people of color including children are being murdered by the police every day is an irritant to people who have to live with it and die by it?
“got mad at you for not immediately dropping hours”
OH WELL THEN
TRY HAVING THAT BE YOUR WHOLE DAMN LIFE
Here’s a starter story about a small fraction of unarmed young black men shot by police including
And here are a few children shot by police:
Shot by “vigilantes”:
- Treyvon Martin
- Darius Simmons
Chavis Carter was shot in the head while handcuffed in the back of a police car, and his death ruled “a suicide”.
But seriously, how long does this list have to be to convince you that POLICE VIOLENCE AGAINST POC, ESPECIALLY BLACK PEOPLE, ACTUALLY EXISTS????????
AND HOW DEVOID OF HUMAN EMPATHY ARE YOU TO THINK PEOPLE BEING MEAN TO YOU IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN THESE DEATHS????
For those deeply and truly concerned about being anti-racist and checking their shit…
How prepared and comfortable are you with the notion that even if you do everything right, some PoC/non-white/Indigenous people will never trust, like, or love you? That…
I understand the context of your grievances and this is in no way meant to be offensive. I just wonder if maybe, maybe you’ve taken your deserved and well-intentioned indignity a bit too far.
For all of your examples, I’d appreciate you citing sources other than yourself, but c’est la vie. The ones you do cite take issue with various bad practices - and they are bad, no one is disagreeing with that. But just because one person is attempting to exploit yoga, no one should do it? I’m from the District of Columbia and let me tell you, if I stopped participating in all the programs with rotten eggs at the top - well. Race shouldn’t be a factor at all, it doesn’t matter who’s perpetuating the injustice, although you should know that the culprits in D.C. range across the color spectrum.
There is an uncomfortable history in a lot of things, tattoos being only one of them. Should we stop celebrating Thanksgiving because of its less-than-comfortable origins? Should we just boycott all Western Europe in general? Because they did some pretty shitty things too. But people of color still move there, visit there, are accepted there. What’s wrong with the study and learning about diverse people and cultures, exchanges in both directions? It serves to promote understanding, not advance hate.
But hey okay I think we’re going to disagree no matter what so let me say this: I wish that no one would tell anyone what to do, and that no one would be burdened by race. Easy for me to say, right? But it starts with one. I’ll endeavor to treat everyone as I’d want to be treated regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or anything else they feels sets them apart; and if you want the same, then maybe what I’m saying has the teensiest grain of truth. :)
Lol at the bold. Seriously. Only one person exploiting yoga? Um… how does a whole industry count as one person? And who do you mean by ‘no one’? White people? Because I haven’t said anything about Indian people practicing yoga (may your tradition live for always).
I’m dying at the mention of thanksgiving. It is clear you’ve never read anything written on the holiday by an Indigenous person.
Oh. PoC move to europe and are accepted there? Really? Really!?
You wish no one would tell anyone to do anything? Okay.
Did I seriously, even once in my OP or my responses, actually tell anyone to do anything?
The questions were rhetorical. Something to encourage white people to reflect on their privilege in a larger context than just their lives.
And the last bold, actually, no. I don’t want everyone treated exactly the same. At all.
(also… i can cite myself if i want. i did research for those posts. but wait. it isn’t like you couldn’t have done the same research to fact check. it isn’t like i entered simple queries into google and found my info in the first page of results. nope. nothing like that at all. i’m just citing myself and making shit up.)
And white people have repeatedly proved the original point you were making all throughout this convo.
None of you give a shit about being anti-racist at all. You just care about your whiteness being respected and how you can make PoC respect it.
This is why I stopped making lists of do’s and don’ts for white people. They think if they do or don’t do certain things, then PoC will like them and will never complain about their whiteness.
They are only interested in getting us to stop complaining, not being anti-racist.
It’s not about what to do or don’t do, though you should make an effort not to be offensive assholes. It’s about respecting PoC’s judgments about you, not find ways to get PoC to stop complaining, ie disguise your white supremacy in ways in which PoC will swallow it. Give PoC the CHOICE whether to trust you as an anti-racist ally, and do what you can to establish trust, instead of thinking that if you do or don’t do this or that, PoC OWE you trust.
If a white person stopped doing yoga, that, by itself, won’t make them any more trustworthy. But people have been whining and complaining about your examples and are afraid that PoC will see their supremacy because they do yoga.
Nah, we see it, regardless if you do yoga, because of how you’re acting when it’s revealed as problematic.
Some PoC will trust you, some won’t, and you ARE going to fuck up. But a lot of white people don’t want to fathom some PoC not giving them trust they feel entitled to, and they get upset when PoC don’t trust them even of they follow all do’s and don’ts perfectly.
Racism is the most accurately detected in PoC’s guts. We will listen to that in the end, white people, no matter how inoffensive you act. And then, because PoC are different people, there might be different opinions about you.
So are you prepared for that, or are you going to throw a fit because PoC don’t owe you trust, and there’s nothing you can do to make PoC respect your whiteness?
You know they ain’t. That’s why they insist on those “5 Easy Things To Do/Not Do To Keep PoC From Being Mad At You” lists and easy suggestions. They ain’t tryna do any work at all really. And like you said, they could give a quadroon shit about being anti racist. They just want us to shut up about the crap they do.
[The Ku Klux] Klan in some areas of the country tried to be a means of reform, fighting the decline in morality and using the symbol of the cross. Klan targets were bootleggers, wife-beaters, and immoral movies. In some communities it achieved a certain respectability as it worked with politicians. —
14 Wacky “Facts” kids will learn in Louisiana voucher schools (via sarahmcnamaraundercover)
listen. there’s a reason they’re trying to dismantlethe public school system. it becomes MUCH easier to teach shit like this.