Calling all white people, part 8: Mixed-race unions aren’t the ultimate answer

Calling All White People, Part 8

(A periodic attempt to mobilize white people for something other than supporting just other melanin-deficient folks and maintaining a status quo of a nation geared toward whiteness as the baseline and the norm)

By An Average White Guy

TODAY’S EPISODE: Interracial marriage and mixed-race kids won’t save us
[To find other installments of “Calling All White People,” click here]

George Lopez had a joke he used in his stand-up routine many years ago that went something like, “The sooner we all intermarry and have babies and everyone looks like Filipinos, the better off we’ll be.”

Used to love that joke. Nowadays, not so much. I’ve learned better.

I don’t hate the joke. There’s even still tiny smidgen of truth in it. But there are a couple major thing wrong with it. First, we won’t ever all look the same shade no matter how much interracial procreation we do. Second, we always find ways to divide ourselves even when we’re in the same general color group. Colorism, for example, is a significant issue among many in non-white communities in the United States (dark-skinned Blacks vs. light-skinned ones, for example) and in other countries (such as India, just to name one).

No matter how many mixed-race babies we make in the United States, it isn’t going to erase racism. Too often I’ve seen in online life (and offline, too) white parents who have racist attitudes toward their non-white kids, whether those kids are biologically related or adopted. Issues around hairstyles that the white parent finds inappropriate (even if it’s natural for the kid’s genetically determined hair texture), for example. Or just about anything.

I mean, really. Even interracial marriage doesn’t prevent or eliminate racism. Plenty of white people have dated and married outside their race and continued to be racist at hell. Think about it: Plenty of misogynists are with women. In fact, most misogynists are with women. Married or dating. Doesn’t stop them from doing sexist things and being hateful toward women. The victims of their issues often being the women they are with, in fact.

But despite the glaring illogic that interracial relationships and families are the solution to our racial ills in this country, I see too many of my fellow white people lift up mixed-raced homes as the thing that will bring racism to its knees.

It won’t.

We need to do a lot more fundamental things to change society and our outlook on people who don’t meet the societal “norms” that we set if we are ever to solve racism. No matter how much fun it might be to try, we won’t screw our way out of the problem of racism.
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Calling all white people, part 7: Don’t succumb to hurt feelings

Calling All White People, Part 7

(A periodic attempt to mobilize white people for something other than supporting just other melanin-deficient folks and maintaining a status quo of a nation geared toward whiteness as the baseline and the norm)

By An Average White Guy

TODAY’S EPISODE: Your feelings *will* get hurt; don’t run away like a punk
[To find other installments of “Calling All White People,” click here]

Because I have rather a larger amount of Black people in my Twitter follows and in my Facebook friends list than the average white person (hey, I’m not An Average White Guy in all things in life; just overall), I see all sorts of interactions between them and my fellow whitefolk. And there are quite a number of times that white people say questionable, touchy and/or stupid stuff (even when intending to be nice) and get, as they say in the vernacular, “dragged around the Internet.” Or at least dragged around the social media platform at which the faux pas was committed.

There are also times when a white person will say something truly harmless, neutral or even outright positively supportive and uplifting, and there will be a Black person who says something along the lines of:

  • “I don’t need your validation or approval, white boy.”
  • “You don’t have any business here. Go away.”
  • “This isn’t meant for any of you white people.”

And so on.

If you are a white person who has any kind of semi-regular interaction with Black people online (or other non-white folks, but especially Black people), your feelings will probably get hurt at some point. Or you’ll cringe as some unwitting other white person gets their pride wounded or their ego throat-punched.

Sometimes, it is because a white person put his or her foot firmly between their tongue and the roof of their mouth (let’s face it: many of us don’t handle race topics deftly). Sometimes it’s because there is a misunderstanding. Sometimes it’s because the Black person is in a particularly sensitive point of life or has been having a bad patch. Sometimes it’s because that Black person just doesn’t like white people.

Yeah, I’m not gonna lie. Most Black people would love for us all to meet on a fair, loving and socially level playing field and get along and move forward. But there are some who have reached their limit and really don’t give a damn about us and would prefer we just go away, refrain from finding sneaky ways to oppress them anyway, and let them succeed without us showing our beige/pink/cream-colored flesh anywhere near them.

I mention this because there are not an insignificant number of white people who, when they get a “nastygram” online (or in person) from a Black person, then say something to the effect of (either in their heads or literally out loud): “Well, if that’s the way I’m going to be treated, I won’t bother trying to understand race issues or do anything to try to fix racism.”

That, my friends, is what one would call a punk move.

That’s along the same lines as “nice” dudes who crow about how great a friend they are to women and how much they are in favor of feminism and then say “Fuck women” and start posting memes about “ball busting bitches” the moment some gal they are really hung up on declines to date them or have sex.

Racism in this country is a problem, in all its many forms, from systemic racism to institutional bias to white privilege to individual bigotry and everything in the nooks and crannies in between. If you are going to stop educating yourself about where racism exists and how it hurts us a society, and if you are going to abandon the idea of trying to connect with non-white people and just toss away the notion of working to reduce and refute racism…just because of ONE (or even a few…or several) unkind words from Black people, well…

…then you were never about justice or equality anyway, it would seem.

If Black people en masse tell us white people to piss off, we might have a problem and a chasm that has finally become too wide to bridge. But that has never yet happened in the history of our nation. I don’t expect it to happen any time soon, if ever. If a minority of people making you feel bad causes you to assume that the majority or entirety of that population shares the same disregard for you, then you are the one with the real problem. Namely, a really thin skin.

So, if your feelings get hurt, have your little private cry in your own space if you need to, get your shit together and go back to being a decent human being and caring about the elimination of racism and other forms of oppression (including, but not limited to, sexism, homophobia, Islamaphobia and anti-Semitism).

It’s the least you can do if you want to claim to be an actual fully evolved human being. You should do the right things because they actually are right, not for kind treatment by the oppressed parties.
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Calling all white people, part 6: Credit where it’s due, please

Calling All White People, Part 6

(A periodic attempt to mobilize white people for something other than supporting just other melanin-deficient folks and maintaining a status quo of a nation geared toward whiteness as the baseline and the norm)

By An Average White Guy

TODAY’S EPISODE: Why Not Listen to the Black People Instead? (a.k.a. White People Need Fewer Ally Cookies)
[To find other installments of “Calling All White People,” click here]

Y’know, like most people, I love to be shared and retweeted on Facebook and Twitter. And when I’m posting stuff on anti-Black racism and racial justice/equity issues, it warms my heart when it’s not just my fellow whitefolk doing so but significant numbers of Black people as well.

And that’s because I get to have some confidence that what I’m saying is of value to the overall issue of educating about and fighting racism, and resonates with the people it most effects, and that it’s not complete navel-gazing. But, at the same time, it really, really, REALLY makes me uncomfortable when anyone gives me outright praise for such social media posts. Especially non-white people. Because, let’s face it, posting such stuff, whether to educate my fellow white people or to bring awareness generally is the absolute least I can do. Fortunately, I do actually do some other things, but the fact is I should and likely could do a lot more than I should all the same.

So, when “ally cookies” are being passed out, I prefer to politely decline them.

Also, when it comes time to share other people’s posts on these same anti-Black racism issues and such, I am careful to make sure I’m signal-boosting actual Black people at least as much (and ideally more so) than white people.

Why? Because, well, they’re the ones with the most personal and practical knowledge of that issue. It affects them most of all. They’ve been trying to tell America (especially white people) for decades about this stuff (usually with minimal success at getting through). Also, they are often the people who said it all first to begin with.

Although a lot of Black people won’t say so openly online (though some do), it’s a bit rankling to a whole lot of them to see white people shared and retweeted and praised for saying the things Black people are already saying and getting more credit for it than those Black people do. It’s even more upsetting when things that Black academics/experts have said is repeated by white non-academics/pundits and then the latter get all the credit and attention…and probably book deals.

As white people trying to (at least I hope you are) advance anti-racism, I would hope you don’t go for the attention when you talk about these issues. I would also hope that when you get praise, you give credit where it is due and not to yourself just because it helps you move forward. You aren’t much of an ally or accomplice if you climb up the backs of people of color to profit or improve your reputation.

And, when you look for guidance and education and direction in anti-racism work, it behooves you to listen to and read the words of the Black people and other people of color actually dealing with racism. Don’t just focus on what white people say; that keeps you in a racial silo instead of broadening your racial circles and awareness. That’s not a good look.

Sure, there is a place for white people in anti-racism. A big one, particularly since they have so many other white people to educate and mobilize to do the work of fundamentally changing society. Just as there are places for men in feminism and Christians/Jews in fighting Islamophobia and straight people in fighting homophobia and more.

But when the people who are enduring the oppression, abuse and/or discrimination are pushed to the shadows in the back in favor of people who look like (or live lives like) the ones doing the abuse, we who think ourselves allies are doing something wrong. Very wrong.

So don’t.
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If this piece or this blog resonates with you, please consider a one-time “tip” or become a monthly “patron”…this space runs on love and reader support. Want more BGIM? Consider booking me to speak with your group or organization.