Stuff We Need You to Understand. Now.

I did this social experiment almost a year ago and I found then, as I do now, that it’s a freeing experiment for those that participate, but it’s also a glaring depiction of what’s wrong with our society. And when I say ‘our society,’ I mean white America and the white lens that colors everyone’s interpretations of reality.

On social media, I asked:

 

What are some words that you wish people–especially white people–understood?

 

Apparently people came to have church on the subject, but there was one running theme throughout the entire dialogue. It may have been in the forefront of the psyche of the participants due to the question’s prompt of white people, but I strongly believe that most of the people who participated (if not everyone) understands the default of the term “people” in America is always epistemologically constructed to mean “white people.” Meaning, I didn’t have to say it specifically for peop.le to draw the conclusion.

Read the list. All of it. Because it’s all important.

 

“Racism.”

“White people don’t seem to understand that turning 18 means nothing to POC parents. ‘what do you mean your parents said no you’re 18?! you can do what you want now’ lmao can i tho…”

“No.”

“Heritage.”

“1. We run a different marathon in this world. 2. It’s not about you as an individual but as a whole, white people are in power.”

“Not everything is about you, you know…”

“No.”

“Also! I wish white men would understand protective hair styling. I’m so sick of being looked at sideways for wearing wigs.”

“Illegal. It’s a slur. Why can’t people realize it’s a slur?”

“Ghetto. There is no ‘inner black woman’ in you. Saying ‘nappy’ to describe someone.”

“Boundaries.”

“Taco.”

“That Latinx is not a race but a socio-linguistic marker. Latinamerican-latinx is a person who socio-linguistically speaks Spanish but is not necessarily tied to Spain. Indigenous people’s are still very much alive all over the Americas and some of them dont speak Spanish as their first language or at all but zapoteco, mixteco triqui, maya, quechua, guarani and etc. Hispanic–is a person who ethnically is from Spain or born in Spain.”

“Stop.”

“DIVISIVE.”

“Colonialism / Imperialism.”

“GHETTO. I am tired of people calling broken things or cheap things ‘ghetto.'”

“Haram.”

“PoC are not required to educate those that oppress them on how they oppress them. There are enough resources out there to figure it out on your own… do not demand they tell you about their oppression when you can figure it out yourself from the bevy of people already talking about it. Discussing it is a decision for them, not a requirement of them.”

“[The] phrase ‘Black lives matter’ does not erase you and is not racist.”

“Overnight marinade.”

“WHITE FUCKING FRAGILITY.”

“Rape culture.”

“For me, it’s stuff like “sassy,” “feisty,” and “attitude.” White people don’t seem to understand that all of those adjectives carry misogynoir in their connotations.” “Similar to the ways hysterical and emotional are used to invalidate or infantilize white women but with some dehumanization and anti blackness mixed in.”

“Hahaha racism … No but seriously.”

“Tea.”

“White privilege. Them understanding that would be clutch.”

“White guilt. Make it stop.”

“Not as specific but white ppl, and nonblack poc, misusing aave and or “performing” it to make something sound “funny” makes me want to hit things”

“No.”

“The real reason you don’t call Asians orientals…And it has nothing to do with rugs.”

“Thug.”

“It would also be cool if people realized the general importance of political correctness. Words are power, words have connotation. When you use slurs or any form of derogatory language, there IS a reaction. It incites attitudes and actions. (Just look at how people scream at people while they call them illegals.) Easy to mock if you are unaffected, but some of us here are dealing with the ramifications of your abusive language and that’s why we fucking combat it.”

“Destructive, abusive, hostile, disrespectful, violent, stupid.”

“Preference.”

“Attitude. Thug. Racism. Free Speech. Probably more, but these come to mind immediately.”

“Slavery, power, oppression.”

“Typing the words “All Lives Matter to deny or erase the protests against police brutality and racism in America while denying the fact that all lives have never mattered in America, just ask the Native Americans who are virtually ignored or erased by America.”

“Fetishize.”

“First-hand experience.”

“‘I want a black baby!! Mixed babies are so cute.’ I’ve heard this one a lot this year. So fetishizing black people is also on my list of things white people need to understand is not okay.”

“Shut up.”

“I made a post about how White women activist don’t understand their role in the breakdown of the movement to rebuild Black families when they date/marry Black men (from a revolutionary standpoint). One of the White aunties told me that I was wrong for calling them “our men.” I didn’t ask you if you agreed with our terminology. If you are not a Black woman, you don’t have a say. Only Black women can say if I am misrepresenting them with that particular assertion. #Interference

“Colorism.”

“No.”

“White guilt. Cause I’m so tired of that shit. Just stop.”

“Systematic racism. Post-racial. African diaspora. Interference (allies interfere a LOT).”

“‘Appropriation’ vs. ‘honoring’ too. Literally painting your face red, wearing a warbonnet, and whooping with your hand on and off your mouth, of wearing ‘Navajo-inspired panties’, or having a racist mascot isn’t honoring me, my ancestors, their strength, or whatever the fuck you insist.”

“Privilege.”

“Intersectionality.”

“Privilege.”

“Oooh sassy really makes me upset. Like as soon as a person uses that work I know what’s going to come afterwards. I’ve had so many friends be like “one you’ll LOVE my friend she reminds me a lot of you. She’s soooo sassy and just cool and….black.” And people describe me as sassy which I know is NOT one of my general descriptors amongst most of my actual friends. Just because I call you out doesn’t mean I’m necessarily sassy. I’m just woke as hell and tired of listening to you be ignorant.”

“Oppression.”

“‘my parents are paying for it so its free! it’s not my money!’ like ok……….”

“Spices.”

“Life experience.”

“The real definition of racism, because only then can we have a truly honest convo about it. As long as folks think it’s limited to lynching and using the shitty n-word (and not systemic issue embedded in everything) we cannot really dissect it.”

“Flavour.”

“Microaggressions, institutionalized bias, White Supremacy, and I’ll throw in how basic Tim Wise is.”

“Lazy. Oppression. Terrorist. Irrational. Divisive.”

“Curry.”

“Also, chai.”

“Appropriation vs. appreciation.”

“Culture.”

“Ally. Liberal. I’m so tired of White people, especially White women, somehow believing that if they are in these categories that they understand what it is to be Black. Naaaahhh, doesn’t work like that.”

“And stop calling us angry. Shit is tired, invalidating, diminishing.”

“Appropriation.”

“Stop.”

“Reverse racism isn’t a thing. I don’t know when this list stops to be honest.”

 

If the primary theme is racism and white privilege, then what does that say about what the reality of society is?

Personally I think it just goes to show that “post-racial” America is a fallacy constructed to help white fragility escape white guilt and keep the systems of power and privilege in check. But hey, that’s just me. *sips tea*

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