3.26.2015

Keeping the Conversation Going on White Fragility

Think about it like this: from the time I opened my eyes, I have been told that as a white person, I am superior to people of color. There’s never been a space in which I have not been receiving that message. From what hospital I was allowed to be born in, to how my mother was treated by the staff, to who owned the hospital, to who cleaned the rooms and took out the garbage. We are born into a racial hierarchy, and every interaction with media and culture confirms it—our sense that, at a fundamental level, we are superior.

And, the thing is, it feels good. Even though it contradicts our most basic principles and values. So we know it, but we can never admit it. It creates this kind of dangerous internal stew that gets enacted externally in our interactions with people of color, and is crazy-making for people of color. We have set the world up to preserve that internal sense of superiority and also resist challenges to it. All while denying that anything is going on and insisting that race is meaningless to us.

...If people of color went around showing the pain they feel in every moment that they feel it, they could be killed. It is dangerous. They cannot always share their outrage about the injustice of racism. White people can’t tolerate it. And we punish it severely—from job loss, to violence, to murder.


I want to expand on this a little by asking people to imagine a little scenario right quick: imagine being white a person in a world where white privilege no longer exists.  Imagine being in a white body with Absolutely No Perks Whatsoever to being white.

Somewhere, a white person's heart briefly stopped while reading that sentence.  They will soon experience a series of mini-strokes.

I say this because whenever a white person claims to long for world peace and an end to racism, what they're really saying is, "I can't wait to live in a world where I don't have to hear about race anymore."  That's why upon the election of Barack Obama, they were so quick to embrace the bogus term "post-racial", because they were ready for that conversation to be done and over with.  Actual progress wasn't even a factor.

But let's break down that wish a little further, from the micro to the macro, because there are some things that they haven't fully thought through.  You're a white person, living in a world - not just a country, a but a whole world - where white privilege no longer exist.  It did...but that system was overthrown.

1 - There goes 75% of your attractiveness.  Brown people can say whatever the hell they want; the cold reality of why so many of them chase whiteness is just that - they're chasing whiteness, the privilege, the perks, the protection of your whiteness, not you.  You don't actually have to be attractive; white privilege makes up for any shortcoming you possess.  So don't let the skin-bleachers and plastic surgery addicts fool you; the majority of brown people love being brown.  They just hate being punished for being brown.

Make no mistake: brown people are brown people's first choice.  In a world where white privilege no longer exists whatsoever, the only people chasing white women who have brown women's features will be...well, no one.  Why get the substitute when you can go to the source?

2 - You can forget about traveling freely to brown countries of your choice.  No more warm, smiling, friendly natives eagerly waiting to welcome you to their country.  You won't have that privilege anymore; your white skin and foreign citizenship status will mean nothing, and no one will be afraid to show you exactly how they feel about your presence.  Countries like Gabon are already deporting white people for racism.  That's happening now.  Fast forward to the future....I wouldn't be surprised if several brown countries barred white people from entering - period.

3 - You can forget about systemic preference.  There will be no more #CrimingWhileWhite, no more preferential treatment from hiring managers, banks, real estate agents, politicians, and law enforcement.  No more glass/bamboo ceilings, zoning and voter laws, or school systems which favor whites.  No more lack of accountability for your actions.

No more Eurocentric narratives in education and media; history lessons will be not be revised and sanitized to favor whites.  No more preferential treatment from media outlets, film studios, and TV networks.  No more idolizing white aesthetics, no more white-dominated runways and magazines, no more white celebrities getting away with cultural appropriation.

4 - You can forget about social preference.  Brown people socially tolerate whites.  Have for centuries.  In a world where white privilege no longer exists, there are no more brown people lining up to go out with you (reread #1), no more brown acquaintances tolerating your unwanted "friendship", no more brown coworkers smiling at you out of obligation, no more brown changes their voices and appearances to make you feel more "comfortable".  No more brown people tolerating white strangers coming up to them to talk and even sometimes touch without permission.  In fact, expect new laws to specifically prevent the latter.

5 - You can forget about ever going to war with a brown country again.  Good luck even getting there; your military bases will have been closed down all over the world, and your planes most likely be blown out of the sky the moment they cross into the wrong airspace.  No strategic missile launchpads will be tolerated either.  Furthermore, if you antagonize one, you may just antagonize several more.

6 - You can forget about profiting from brown countries.  Their governments will kick your companies out; no more mining, drilling, cutting, draining, taking what doesn't belong to you and making trillions.  No more brown countries forced into doing business with you when you really don't have anything they need or want, and are ultimately better off having nothing to do with you.  No more loans from brown countries to bail you out; no more brown-owned foreign companies showing you preferential hiring treatment and inviting you to come over.  Good luck procuring commodities exclusively produced in brown countries.  In fact, welcome to being at a high risk for sanctions and widespread political rejection.

And so on, and so forth, Narrators; you may want to add to the list as you see fit.

Look at this another way: in Season 3 of Once Upon of Time, Zelena the Wicked Witch of the West was born a powerful and talented in the magical arts, but she reached her zenith when she was given a pendant to harness her power.  Of course, once she took the pendant off, she was completely powerless.  White privilege has become much like that pendant.  Whites have become so hooked on privilege, solely empowered by that privilege, that it has become the only benefit of being a white person in the modern age, and this, Narrators, the crux of white fragility.
White fragility is evident in the incessant claims of victim status by white people (usually men). A recent Pew study found that 50 percent of white evangelical Christians believe they face more discrimination than Blacks, Latinos, Jews, or Muslims. Notwithstanding the galactic gulf between such views and empirical evidence, this perception reflects a profound insecurity. Relevant to this anxiety is Nathan McCall's observation: "Some white people are so accustomed to operating at a competitive advantage that when the playing field is level, they feel handicapped." (Source)

See, white privilege is actually a very new thing; only a few hundred years old or so.  Contrary to the Eurocentric narrative, they have not been running the world for thousands of years; for thousands of years they were actually "barbarians" and slaves.  Medieval Europe in particular was a war-torn cesspool of plague and poverty, contrary to all the pretty films and fantasy/romance novels.  White privilege did not exist, and when whites tried to interact with brown people around the world, they were repeatedly reminded of that fact.  And that's why white people responded the way they did - violence, enslavement, theft, rape, and murder.  They couldn't win us over, so they tried to take us down.

And they did some damage.  They did throw a wrench in our progression and they did profit from our suffering.  But look how long that lasted?  Only a few hundred years.  When you factor all of human history into that equation, their little coup - and that's exactly what that has been - is already losing momentum, and at a seriously rapid pace.  Not only that, they purchased their privilege at a high, high price: by pissing off the entire brown world.

In so doing, they created this hole they've dug themselves into and can't escape.  They erected a magic shield around themselves at the cost of millions, and once that shield comes down, billions more will be lining up to collect.

So tell me, Narrators...do any of you seriously think white people (as a group) are going to radically change and do the right thing when that's the future they have to look forward to?



Notice how much the laughter diminished once he started talking about the future of white people. I sincerely believe only (or mostly) the brown folks were laughing at that point.

9 comments:

  1. " So tell me , narrators.. do any of you seriously think white people ( as a group ) are going to radically change and do the right thing when that's the future they have to look forward to..?"

    Hmmm..excellent question. Our world is starting to go that route little by little and with the little changes that we're seeing, it's really making them psychotic..literally. I mean, the more you encourage them to do the right thing, they more stupid they become. I was just thinking about one example of this with the 2016 presidential elections. The GOP wants minorities to vote for them yet they just keep disrespecting Obama and other minorities at every chance they can get. It's crazy, if I were a Republican and I wanted minorities to vote for me I would keep my record clean with minority relations but they have not and doesn't seem to want to. Even if they did, they are damaged ( I'm not even going to say "goods") .I guess they just think that Blacks and other minorities are under a Svengali and that we'll kiss up to them..please!

    Honestly, I do not think that White people will surrender to POC power...at least not easily.Let's face it they average person want the easy out of things. For many White..especially men, it means a loss power and live without the societal struggles of being a POC. It would be a case of them coming to reality..sort of like Navin Johnson( Steve Martin) in The Jerk..trying to hold on to something that nobody can be yours..the living room group..the chair...the stereo system..being possessed..trying the best to hold on to the riches and power he had ..but couldn't but of his naive mind.This may what it would look like for some of them.. There is already panic with them now and I expect for them tug of war to continue in the future.

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    1. Our world is starting to go that route little by little and with the little changes that we're seeing,

      And that's the thing we need to keep in mind. Change is coming. Change is inevitable because people will only tolerate so much. And the newer and younger generations coming up have no tolerance at all. Some of us may call them spoiled, but their lack of tolerance for bullshit is their greatest strength. It makes them unafraid. Fuck with them and they will burn your city to the ground while dragging all your officials for filth across the web.

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  2. To answer that last question, no. No. They'll fight to the bitter end. Look at what's happening in our society. Ever since O got elected, some WP have been showing their true natures and collective asses. There has never before been such outright disrespect for the Prez and the Office of the President. Congress can't even pass so much as a turd because of their vehement dislike. It makes them uncomfortable to see a black man have that much power and so they shut him down whenever they can. If they can't handle the reality of our brown Prez, then they definitely can't grasp the concept of the inevitable future.

    Some aren't even trying to hide anymore (like cops) by viscerally showing their utter contempt for PoC. Some black men make the news when they're killed or violated by cops, but black women? *crickets*

    They will resist change; they will fight it until the bitter end and the last man, like Gertrude's (aka Female Changeling) Dominion War. They will go down swinging because they will never be able to accept not being at the top of the heap.

    Recently, we were told that the president of China, Xi Jiaopeng, was tightening restrictions on foreign companies who outsource their pollution by sending their factories here and making billions off the backs of the Chinese. He and the PRC wanted more financially for their citizens and rightly so, but some corporations (GM & IBM, to name two) didn't want to play ball, so they packed up and moved to Singapore where the tax breaks and perks were better. But it's only a matter of time before Singapore decides to do the same thing.

    Imagine if these Asian nations who work for pennies building our cars, computers, clothes, and gadgets decided they didn't want to play by Western rules anymore and formed a united front?

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    1. Imagine if these Asian nations who work for pennies building our cars, computers, clothes, and gadgets decided they didn't want to play by Western rules anymore and formed a united front?

      It would be revolutionary. Just as revolutionary as it would be if every African nation would drive out the Western companies all up in their oil fields, diamond minds, forests, etc.

      Kick 'em out. Drive 'em out. They need all that stuff to survive. Cut off the supply and their hegemony would collapse.

      Delete
  3. This is the world i desire. this is the world i am fighting for. It has started as we have collectively had enough. Little by little we are rejecting white supremacy and they are VERY afraid.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. This is the world i desire.

      I know, right? With every word I typed I was suddenly able to breathe more easily.

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  4. They can't even say people who owned slaves were evil so no I can't see them walking away from power without a bloody fight....

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/idaho-paul-shepherd-gays-slave-owners?utm_content=buffere9106&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

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  5. Really cool discussion, I agree with everything that has been said. The thing is, while change is good, it comes and go: 3 steps ahead, 2 steps back.
    I also keep in mind what the blogger of racefiles.lab.com wrote, it was about what being white meant and it varied throughout history (in the USA). Like Middle-Easterns and white Latinos and Jews pass as White, from hwat I heard. The Amercian census (we don't have that in France) can be confusing, my Lebanese professor told us she would have probalby checked "White", as she wouldn't have been given a clear choice. This and the privilege that comes with passing for White...which makes the definition of White blurred and the desire to be or stay at the top would just keep us POC divided,

    As for Africa. I do believe that a few African countries will rise (and already are). I just don't think that the whole continent will get together and unite on economic terms.

    And let me add something a little off-topic: it reminded me this youtube video "World without Black people". Interviewing people on the street about how such a world would have been. The non-Blacks just kept saying how a world without hip hop and R&B would sucks. It never occured to them to talk about institutional racism, imperialism, and how other POC would have suffered instead, etc. Well, it was supposed to be a light-hearted video to have lots of views, but still...so disappointing. I think they should have a done a video like "World without White people", that would have been interesting...or not (reinforcing the stereotypes and history biased perspective).
    (I'm not wishing these things to happen, mind you!).

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    Replies
    1. I just meant the race census that people have to do every X years, this is something that doesn't exist in my country.

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