Monday, April 07, 2008

Dear Everyone

I read and very much enjoy The Angry Black Woman blog. I highly recommend it to any of you. It's a great place to think about and engage in anti-racist thought and work. Recently/currently, ABW has had to contend with a huge influx of nastiness to her blog in the form of racist comments, hatred, and outright verbal attacks.

In case you missed it, Pat Buchanan is as crazy as a shit-house rat. Read this if you can stomach it.

ABW wrote on her feelings about it, which you can check out here. Then, a few days later, wrote a brilliant, as usual, response that you can check out here, which has since been linked to from some white supremacist sites. I recommend that you check all of that out, and read as many of the comments to the "Thank You, White People" post as you can. Then, subscribe to her feed. It'll make you smarter.

This post is not about any of that. What I want to say right now was inspired by ABW, or rather, by my frustrations when I read some of the comments on the "Thank You, White People" post. So here it is:

Dear my white brothers and sisters out there who are really interested in moving forward and not acting like jackasses:

YOUR INDIVIDUAL, PERSONAL SITUATION IS SO NOT THE POINT. When a Person of Color talks about their anger, or their experiences with racism, the fact that your ancestors did not own slaves/you are not a racist/your parents didn't pass bigoted assumption about other people on to you/you feel guilty/you are poor and don't feel like your life is better than any PoC's life/you try not to see color does not matter. If you have light skin/eyes/hair you benefit from white privilege. We cannot continue to bring a screeching halt to the very critical discussions about race with our own shit. Frankly, our society is hanging by a thin, thin thread because of this.

As a group, we white folks are very skilled at stopping uncomfortable discussions by talking about ourselves. If you really want to recite your genealogy as it related to race-relations, start a blog. Call it "My Genealogy As It Relates to Race Relations." Do not add that kind of information to a conversation about how to turn this fucked up civilization around. This is not about our singular experience. This is about historical and current institutions that are so much larger than what my momma said when nobody else was listening, and whether that made me as an individual feel good or bad about my white skin and someone else's brown skin, and whether or not I'm sleeping with a PoC, and whether or not I've got problems too. This, goddamn it, is not about whether or not great-great-great-great-GrandpappyBee ran a plantation. This is about getting to a place where what Pat Buchanan said hurts ME just like it hurts ABW. Where his comments and sentiments have real consequences for my life as well as ABW's life.

Love, EssBee

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