Rae’s Rules to Remember #78: Ignoring racism won’t make it “go away”

“The only way to end racism is to stop talking about it.”

In case you didn’t already know, this quote is complete bullshit.

Ignoring a problem is not the proper way to handle it. For example, if you find out that you have cancer you don’t just wait for it to kill you. You start treatments and take medication to slow it down, remove it, and fight it. Obviously, I’m comparing apples and oranges here but the concept is somewhat the same.

Most people have heard this quote from Morgan Freeman and think, “well if a black man said it then it must be true.”

Wrong.

Morgan Freeman was wrong. That is not the way to deal with racism.

In my experience, the people who repeat this phrase the most are white people.This is an issue because as a member of the majority, you can’t tell someone else how to feel about situations that you aren’t likely to experience. The same goes for any other groups including religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, ability, etc. It’s basically telling people to stop talking about their oppression because it makes you uncomfortable. It should make you uncomfortable. You should be so damn uncomfortable that you should want to do something about it instead of contributing to it.

What’s especially ironic about this is that  white people want POC to stop talking about racism but the second they feel discriminated against they cry “reverse racism.” First of all, that’s not even a thing. When you say that one way is backwards, you imply that the opposite is correct. Just stop. Second, a lot of times there actually isn’t any racism in the situation that they describe. Like the Netflix show Luke Cage. People claimed that it was “anti-white” because the majority of the cast was black. Now let’s think about this: Luke Cage takes place in Harlem….the majority of people that live there (since always) are black. That’s not racism, it’s being historically accurate.

Meanwhile, nobody gives a damn about all of the white washing that’s happening in Hollywood. Anybody see Gods of Egypt? Ever notice how Egyptian royalty is always portrayed by white actors but they make sure that the slaves have dark skin? Let’s talk about Scarlett Johansson for a second. We all know by now that Ghost in a Shell is a Japanese anime and that Scarlett is not Japanese. Of course, she doesn’t think that she did anything wrong and when she was confronted about it, she basically tried to say that she didn’t do it on purpose. Oh, I see. So you just accidentally agreed to play a role that should have been for an Asian actress? Yeah….real believable.

No one ever talks about white saviors either. Matt Damon, I’m looking at you. There’s no reason that he should be starring in a movie about The Great Wall of CHINA. Then again, this is also the man who said that it’s okay for the experiences of POC to be written why white people and POC only have to be included in the casting.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Let’s get into the good stuff shall we? I’ve made a list of things that I am tired of hearing.

*This is no where near as long a list as it could be. I also can’t speak for other ethnicities so this is based on my personal experiences.*

Why do you have to make this about race?

Because it applies. 9 times out of 10 we don’t “make” it about race, you just fail to see the correlation because it doesn’t relate to you.

Why can’t you just get over slavery?

Um………Because the affects of it are still relevant. That’s why. Just because they don’t affect YOU doesn’t mean that they aren’t important. Also, let’s take a look at America’s timeline:

timeline

*53 years now* I mean, when a certain event has taken up such a huge chunk of history, it’s still pretty relevant no?

POC are just lazy and living off of Government Assistance

First of all, the majority of people on welfare are white. Not sorry to burst your bubble. For certain programs like SNAP the average amount of time that people are actually on it is only 9 months. And for the people that stay on it longer it’s not always “laziness” that causes them to. The guidelines an requirements for assistance programs are actually pretty messed up. Even a slight promotion could cause someone to lose their assistance which results in making less money than when they were making less money. Of course, you would know how the system worked and what was wrong with it if you actually took the time to look into it.

How is it fair that there isn’t a White History Month?

Well…. because what the fuck do you think we learn during every month outside of February? Also, if we’re being honest Black History Month lessons are bullshit. We only learn about slavery and the same four Civil Rights activists. Nothing about accomplishments and inventors and mathematicians, etc.

Now it is true that we don’t really learn much other the than the general European History without a lot of specifics. But we also never learned about Native Americans (in fact we were lied to about how they were treated), we learned a bit about Asian cultures but only ancient dynasties, Spanish colonization but nothing else. So we all kind of got screwed.

Then again, let’s also take into consideration the fact that we are required to learn about European history through middle and high school but for anything else (Asian Studies, Africana Studies, Latin American Studies, etc.) they’re only offered as college electives. Maybe a minor if you’re lucky.

However, if you want to celebrate other cultures within their respective months then you should know that…..

  • Greek American Heritage Month | March
  • Irish American Heritage Month | March
  • Asian/Pacific Islander Heritage Month | May
  • Jewish American Heritage Month | May
  • Caribbean American Heritage Month | June
  • French American Heritage Month | July
  • Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month | Sept 15- Oct 15
  • German American Heritage Month | Oct
  • Italian Heritage Month | Oct
  • Polish American Heritage Month | Oct
  • American Indian/Alaskan Native Heritage Month | Nov

Surely there are more than this but my point is that if you were actually offended by Black History Month then you would have gone ahead and found this information on your own instead of only caring during the month of February because you feel “excluded.”

 

Why don’t you just go back to Africa?

I just laughed out loud. You do realize that many of us didn’t ask to come here right? That we didn’t all have a choice? That our ancestors were kidnapped by the boatload and a lot of them didn’t even make it to America before they died. So the reason that I don’t “just go back” is because this is my country as much as it is yours. I am a citizen and you don’t have the right to tell me to leave.

Where are you from…. no where are you really from?

You know what? That’s a good question. The problem is, I have no clue because (at least) the past four generations of my family have lived here. We have nothing to trace our lineage because…..well, refer to my previous answer.

White privilege doesn’t exist

And the earth doesn’t revolve around the sun. Look, no one is blaming you for your privilege. We just want you to be aware of it and recognize it in situations where you have more than someone else. We’re also not saying that white people are the only ones with privilege. They’re not. Everyone has it but people that fit into groups that are seen as the “norm” or “default” have more of it. This includes people who are cisgender, heterosexual, Christian, male, able, etc. When you fall into those categories you’re treated with more respect, won’t be questioned as often, and people who don’t know you will want to defend you no matter what.

I’m not privileged, I grew up poor.

Nobody said that white people couldn’t be poor. Privilege isn’t always about money. (Again, refer to my previous answer).

You’re black, how do you not like rap music?

Fuck you. I don’t have to like Kanye just because we’re the same race. My musical opinion isn’t defined by my skin color and more importantly, I don’t give a fuck how you feel about it. If you really must know, I prefer classical over rap. Surprised? I repeat: fuck you.

OMG, I didn’t know you could tan!

Shut up and get out of my face.

 

What are you?

Human.

That’s not how you ask someone about their ethnic background. You don’t have to treat POC like we’re a different species. Also, if someone responds to this question with a clipped one word answer, shut up, because you’ve already pissed them off.

If they choose to engage with you despite your ignorance, don’t call them exotic and do not fucking fetishize them.

I’m not racist, I have black/Latinx/Asian/Native friends.

First of all, referring to your friends by their ethnicity is already a part of the problem. If you really considered them your friends then you would just call them your friends.

Secondly, not all POC are going to call you out on your racism. Either they don’t care, don’t feel like getting into it, and/or are struggling with internalized racism and are so used to it that they let it go. It’s also just not our damn job. None of this means that you’re not racist. In fact, you using them as tokens to claim you’re not racist…..IS racist. POC are not props, you don’t get to use us to cross off your ethnicity bingo board.

Why can’t I say the n word too?

Let me guess: you think it’s okay because your one black “friend” let’s you or because you heard it in a song? Well too bad. Don’t fucking say it. This goes for any slur that is aimed at POC. If a black person chooses to use the n word, it’s their choice. For most part it has been reclaimed but that doesn’t change the fact that it was a derogatory term created by white people to be used as an insult.

If you think you’re not racist, then why do you want to use racial slurs so badly anyway?

How could racism still exist when we had a black president?

Oh for fucks sake, are you serious? You mean to tell me that you think racism is nonexistent because for 8 years (only eight motherfucking years) since the beginning of time we had ONE black president? Did you suddenly forget what those eight years were like and block out all of the times that he was called the n-word or that he and his wife were called apes? You just have a selective memory like that? Yeah okay.

What about black on black crime?

Black on black crime is no different from white on white crime but nobody ever talks about that. Stop trying to use this as an excuse for…… whatever you try to use this as an excuse for.

All Lives Matter

*sigh* I’m so tire of having to explain this. The statement itself is fine, but you have to understand context and intent vs impact. The problem is that no one starting saying it until Black Lives Matter became a thing. If it’s used as a rebuttal then obviously you don’t really mean that all lives matter because “all” has to include us.

The same goes for “Blue Lives Matter.” Yes, the lives of law enforcement officers absolutely do matter. But you shouldn’t be using that as a rebuttal to Black Lives Matter or as an excuse to justify the death of civilians.

So, if you think that ignoring the problem is the answer then 1. Check your privilege. 2. Think about how you’ve benefit and contributed to the oppression of people of color and if you claim to be an ally, do something about it. Otherwise, you’re a part of the problem.


Like Bookmark Chronicles on Facebook and follow on Twitter

 

Advertisements

About Bookmark Chronicles

Hi! I'm Rae. 23. Avid Reader, Book Blogger. Intersectional Feminist. Gryffindor.
This entry was posted in Rae's Rules. Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Rae’s Rules to Remember #78: Ignoring racism won’t make it “go away”

  1. Tikeetha T says:

    Dang sis! LMAO. This piece was on point. I’m sharing it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. YES GIRL! I loved everything about this post ❤ I'm so sick of people who don't understand/are ignorant when it comes to racism/discrimination etc!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. ncthomasblog says:

    Awesome! Just awesome! Without upsetting you though – have people really asked “what are you?”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Love this post!
    When I first heard the Morgan Freeman quote, I was shocked! It didn’t sound right. But it was Morgan Freeman! I didn’t really expect something like that from him.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ariel Lynn says:

    Ugghhh! So on point, as usual.

    I’ve heard a couple as a Jewish woman, but no where near the amount of b.s. others face. >.<

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: March Wrap Up! 2017 | bookmarkchronicles

  7. Late to the party. But, this post’s on fire. Congrats!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: Rae’s Rules to Remember #79: When White Authors Write Minority Characters | bookmarkchronicles

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s