Editor’s Note: Happy (early) Eid to our Muslim relations. Eid is on Tuesday.
This blog post started from a stalled attempt to write about bravery, the words weren’t jelling. The points below are generalizations. I know and you know not all white people fall into each of these 25 categories. I share this to point out how whiteness shows up in different places and in different ways. I also share it so maybe those who are ready can ask themselves if these points apply to them and what are they doing to uphold or undo white-harm. Some of the points below also apply to BIPOCs, especially those with different forms of privilege and we also need to be aware of our roles and actions.
25 Things I Know About White People:
- White people like to be praised for being brave. But really the bravery they feel is just everyday actions of BIPOCs – like sending their kid to a diverse school, talking about racism, talking about how to behave around law enforcement.
- White people have a hard time being called white. “But I’m an individual,” see me as me – yet it is ok to group BIPOCs together and to hold stereotypes about them.
- White people can be fragile. Anything to do with race or pointing out how white superiority works and you can clock how fast they change the conversation.
- White people can be lazy and not want to think about race, “Can’t we all get along?”
- Along with the laziness they want to be spoon-fed information about race versus having to sit with the uncomfortable parts and process their role in upholding racism.
- White people have been raised to have a picture in their head about what it means to be white.
- White people like to learn about race from other white people – code Robin DiAngelo. I appreciate DiAngelo’s work, but only learning about race from white people is just a different form of whiteness showing up.
- White people don’t like to admit they have white privilege or often act in white superiority ways.
- White people are gatekeepers for the patriarchy and power.
- White money often stays in white communities. Ahhem, foundations who give to mostly white led orgs or conservative causes.
- White people are quick to point out when they have been slighted “reverse racism,” turning Black Lives Matter into All Lives Matter, or crying how causes aren’t practicing “intersectionality.” Intersectionality has nothing to do with you, do some homework.
- White people expect praise and gratitude for welcoming BIPOCs to their table, or reverse they feel slighted and demand to attend BIPOC and “equity” events for woke points.
- They demand or seek recognition for charitable gifts when it is really restitution and redistribution of wealth.
- White people heap praise and adoration when “minorities” accomplish anything, hello Lifetime and Hallmark Channel movies. Also, white people like to see themselves on TV and in movies, that can be the only explanation for why we don’t see diversity in the entertainment field. This includes disabilities, white people like to see able-bodied white people in their entertainment.
- White people get nervous and angry when BIPOCs do anything to disrupt their norms, including kneeling down to protest.
- White people like power and privilege and hoarding it.
- White people believe in the American dream as defined by white people. White people like to deny the dream to some (e.g. Build the Wall, Islamophobia, Japanese internment-concentration camps, Chinese exclusion act, etc.) or get praised for saving the “poor minorities.”
- White people like to control processes. They also like to hear themselves talk.
- White people wrote the history books and continue to write our narratives. Writing the history books and current day news and narratives allows white people to control and shape the narratives we collectively hold.
- White people like race. Let me unpack this one, they like it as a tool of holding down others and upholding their privilege. Race was created as a tool to separate and sort people, it was developed and continues to be used to control BIPOCs. “But race is the child of racism, not the father.” Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me.
- White people don’t own their part in creating messes, nor do they stick around to clean things up.
- They will show up for marches and rallies, but when asked how many BIPOCs they know the numbers are often very low. Or sometimes I hear the lines “My best friend is Black,” “I’m married to an Asian,” or “I live in a diverse neighborhood,” as ways of saying “I’m not like other white people.” Just don’t, I’m glad you are married, best friends, and live in diverse neighborhoods — but that doesn’t excuse how whiteness shows up.
- White people don’t hold other white people accountable for their grievances around race.
- White people like to own and take over stuff. Chipotle and Panda Express do not count as ethnic food.
- White people believe in the Great White Hope.
A special thank you to my co-writer, Angry Asian Chick-Trout.
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