Calling all white people, part 15: Stop the toxic idealism…a.k.a Pollyanna bullcrap

Calling All White People, Part 15

(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: Shut up, Darth Pollyanna; the world ain’t that ideal and you know it

[To find other installments of “Calling All White People,” click here]

If only we would just stop talking about race and dividing each other by race. Once we stop doing that, everything will be fine and racism will go away.

*cough* *choke* *wheeze*

Sorry, I swallowed something wrong while convulsing with laughter there…

I am sick and tired of people saying words like the ones three paragraphs ago. And let me tell you, most people of color are sick to death of it. Because all too often it’s a white person aiming those words at a Black person to convince them that talking about racism is only worsening the racial divide and pushing us all farther apart.

As I’ve seen some Black people doing online lately in response to that, it is worth noting that while it might technically be true that if we just thought of each other as one human race we would eliminate racism, that doesn’t really match with human history and the natures of most people. Not to mention that we can always find ways to divide each other (gender, religion, caste level, etc.).

No, to spout that “Darth Pollyanna” bullcrap is to basically deny the reality that people of color face in a nation built around white supremacy.

But it’s even worse than that. If someone does this kind of thing…or if you do, or even do something that hints at such overly idealistic retorts…they are actually blaming the person of color and also declaring that they are going to do little or nothing to change any of the things that underlie and reinforce racism.

Because it’s like this: First, you’ve told the person of color, “By pointing out that you and members of your ‘race’ are treated unfairly or inequitably, you are making the problem worse. Just be quiet and wait for some distant future time when the inequity stops all on its own.”

Which is ridiculous, as problems of bigotry, social inequity and hate don’t resolve on their own. It takes work. It’s also blaming the victim and telling them to suck up their victimization.

Second, the white person spouting such claptrap is also saying, “The only answer is to stop thinking in terms of race. Nothing else will help. I don’t think in terms of race and therefore I am doing the only thing worth doing. Therefore I am good and I am absolved of any further reflection or work. It’s up to the rest of the world to catch up with me.”

Aside from the fact the person (hopefully not you; but almost certainly, you are acquainted with or related to some of these people) is probably doing things everyday that help prop up racism, white supremacy and systemic inequities, there is the issue that to say “I’m good and I wash my hands of doing anything more” is so selfishly and dismissively lazy that it almost feels like pure evil.

Look, Darth Vader in “Star Wars” felt he was bringing order to the galaxy and ultimately peace. He didn’t see himself as evil no matter how many deaths he caused and pain he inflicted. But he was evil. And all these Darth Pollyannas who think we need to stop pointing out racial injustices as part of a perfect worldview that will never come about are evil, too.
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