Oh I love the way Stacey Patton goes in with this article about Black women not being here to wipe the tears of White Women or White anybody for that matter over hurt feelings as the daily onslaught of Facebook posts and revelations about race and the damage done by White Privilege come pouring in. For me Facebook has actually become one of the most meaningful places to be for reasons other than Pet Society and Farmville! LOL!
At some point, both my husband and I who have a few white friends, some mutual, exchanged our reluctance to be blatant in our FB statuses about or feelings on White oppression in regard to the recent injustices in the case of Brown and Garner and many more. Always on the fence about hurting my white friends feelings, I finally got fed up a few weeks ago and said my piece about it, still worried that there would be some awful comment waiting for me in a long thread when I checked it hours later. There was none. In fact nothing I have shared about race or racism from For Harriet or Junot Diaz or any site has gotten a significant comment from the White people on my FB network. Oh wait I did get one “Wow” from a quote I posted from Chris Rock about the ridiculous lack people of color in Hollywood films. And I appreciated that wow more than the silence.
At first I was relieved that the Whites on my FB page made no noise, because I didn’t have to feel so anxious but the lack of comments actually started to worry me more. I have this reoccurring mental image of them crouched in a corner somewhere waiting for all this “Race talk” to die down so they can go back to the coziness of their privilege and come peeping out again to complain about inane, first world problems. But what I’ve come to realize in all this and what Stacey Patton has helped me to realize is that I don’t have the time, energy, nor the obligation to both point out the subtle and overt violence of White privilege and racism and make White feel not so bad about it. Awww poor baby, you’re a latent racist. Your attitude contributes to the senseless murder of thousands of innocent Black men, poor thing. These two sentiments cannot exist in the same space.
This afternoon, one of my White male co-workers, a guy I haven’t known very long but like a lot, came in and asked me if I wanted to see something funny.
He’s someone who has been participating vigilantly in protests and anti-police brutality demonstrations for weeks now. As it turns out someone took a photo of him at one of these demonstrations with his hands up and head down and posted it on slate.com with the words of an article posted underneath.
“What White Privilege Really Means: It’s not about what Whites get. It’s about what Blacks don’t.”
He took it well.
It’s a damn good image and he’s on the right side of history. He’s a white male so he fits the profile. What can you say? I asked him how he felt about it and he really had no significant argument against it. But what I now realize is that I asked the wrong question. If I had to ask anything at all, it should have been whether or not he would have agreed to have this image posted with that headline if someone had given him the choice he did not get.
But I’m not asking questions like that anymore. It’s not my problem. I have enough problems.