13 realizations about white people this week

Happy Diwali. Light and prosperity to our relations who are celebrating.

It is also Native American Heritage Month. I look forward to learning more about Native American history past and present. Thank you to the elders and my relations who are generous with sharing their stories.

Today’s post is a list of commonalities about white people and white culture. There are always exceptions. If you are white and feel some way about this list, that is ok – you don’t have to be comfortable with it. As I wrote last week, there are always exceptions, and there is always truth to the larger whole. It isn’t meant to call out anyone in particular, but if you feel called out maybe ask yourself why.

I didn’t *just* realize these things about white people as the title says. I wrote that title because some of these were renewed realizations from dealing with white people this week.

  1. White people like to be comfortable – Always comfortable. Anything that disrupts that comfort is an inconvenience. As an example, take away a school bus so now white parents have to disrupt their workday to pickup a kid. It is too inconvenient and they need their school bus back. If they were thinking about racial equity, they would think about the larger educational system and use their privileges to make other arrangements, or lobby for restoring service for others not just their own kids.
  2. White people like convenience—Services must revolve around their needs first. If it doesn’t they need an apology.
  3. White people like to use the word equity, but only as it applies to their needs first.
  4. White people like to be brave—Bravery for white people is on a different scale than bravery for POCs. POC bravery often comes at a higher personal cost — physical safety, income insecurity, reputational loss, etc.
  5. White people like to make the rules. They don’t like it when their rules are not popular. See above about bravery. Bravery only extends when comfortable and convenient.
  6. White people still think Asians are white – I didn’t just realize this, but it was reiterated to me this week in several different ways. White people also think Asians are invisible, we exist only when they want to see us and exploit our culture or need something.
  7. White people like to be first in line. I see you parents rushing to make COVID pediatric vaccine appointments. I also see the government systems allowing the free-for-all versus prioritizing kids with disabilities, medically fragile children, or others who should have had the first few days of the vaccine release held for them. See the point about making rules, but still needing to be popular.
  8. White people bravery doesn’t extend to voting and electing POCs or women. So many white men were reelected.  
  9. White people use the word “I” a lot when talking about equity.
  10. White people like the idea of being ‘proximate’ to BIPOCs, but only if they are comfortable. Explained another way – move to a diverse neighborhood, but still hang with people who are white, shop at the stores that cater to you, visit the gentrifier coffeeshops, playdates with families who are ‘comfortable’ to be around.
  11. White people (some not all) are not happy about being mandated to do things and expect to be accommodated when they refuse to meet the requirements. Their comfort and righteousness over community good. I was at a COVID vaccine site to help someone get a booster. A white guy came in and said he wanted the J&J vaccine. The staff asked if this was his booster, he said no it was his first. We were all happy for him, but he quickly squashed that by saying he is being forced to get it, and he isn’t happy about it. His comfort is more centered than thinking about the greater community.
  12. Black and Brown people put up with a lot of white nonsense with more grace and humility than white people.
  13. People of Color are brave, comfortable with ourselves, and deal with a lot of white nonsense.

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I am writing from the lands of the 29 federally recognized and non-federally recognized tribes in now Washington State, including the Coast Salish people — Duwamish, Muckleshoot, Suquamish, Snoqualmie, and Native American organizations that have treaty rights and have been here since time immemorial. I give my thanks to the elders, Native and Indigenous colleagues and relations, and the land itself. Fakequity pays “rent” to Native organizations in Washington and Hawaii; a small act to repair and work to be in more justice based relations.