Why Is It So Difficult To Talk About Racism?

I don’t speak for all Blacks. I don’t speak for all People of Color. Each group — African, African American, Asian, Hispanic/Latino, Native American, Pacific Islander — can speak for themselves. -Pearlette Springer

Friendly reminder: I also don’t speak for all black people. Or other groups. Everyone has their own opinion and can speak for themselves. If I don’t say this, people assume that we all think the same and automatically going to agree on everything. Everyone has their own opinions.

After looking at this article by Pearlette Springer, it makes perfect since why it’s difficult to discuss racism.

It goes something like this:

If you stick a knife in my back nine inches and pull it out six inches, there’s no progress. If you pull it all the way out that’s not progress. Progress is healing the wound that the blow made. They haven’t even pulled the knife out, much less heal the wound. They won’t even admit the knife is there.-Malcolm X

The reason why it’s so difficult to talk about racism is because they (i.e. many of my beloved white brothers and sisters) won’t talk about it or acknowledge it’s existence-they won’t acknowledge the knife.

I wrote two articles this summer.

“I Joined Alpha Phi Omega. This Is Why I Dropped.” by Alesha Peterson

“I’m Still Not Convinced My Black Life Matters To Some Of My White Friends” by Alesha Peterson

It’s amazing how many will give me the silent treatment or remove me off social media instead of having an honest conversation. Yet these so called friends are the same idiots that posted BLM posts all over social media. When it comes to putting their money where their mouth is, their true colors come out.

It was a test to see if they REALLY cared.

They quickly show me better than they can tell me that they don’t care about racism or the people it effects- they are only doing it because it’s the popular thing to do in the moment. I’m still waiting for them to prove me wrong.

It’s difficult for them to talk about racism because 1) They don’t have to deal with it. 2) They don’t care about racism or black people. 3) Why get rid of a system that you indirectly benefit from? It’s not what they say, it’s what they do.

There’s a few true blues that have and continued to speak up. As I explain in my many articles, I don’t pick friends based on skin color. If we click, we click. I have friends from all over the world.

But.

I’m going to keep this article shorter than my previous two, but if you want to dive in deeper, click above or go here and here.

Final Thoughts

#1 No one is blaming you for white privilege existing-infact if you read either one of the articles above, I explain clearly that I’m not focusing on who is ahead of me or who has what advantage over me. I spend more time finding ways to move myself forward. I don’t like playing victim.

If you come from a wealthy/privileged/you don’t ever have to worry about money family/your mom is Oprah Winfrey the second good for you. I don’t have a jealous bone in my body.

We all got to run the same race at the end of the day, some were able to get a head start due to things out of their control. (This is called privilege) (FYI. I really don’t like when they say kids of single parents have disadvantages. Some people do have certain circumstances that makes life difficult. But I did fine and absolutely hated the labels growing up).

What we are saying?

No one is saying that all of you intentionally held down people of color or used your own whiteness to gain an advantage over another person. No one is saying that you are single handedly the cause of all racial injustices.

No one is dismissing your hard work or trying to say you don’t have hardships.

We are simply asking you to acknowledge that racism exists and that it has a lasting effect.

People of Color internalized their oppression as a means of survival. They developed strategies, actions and emotions to help live within these disadvantages. We learned that we had to be better, try harder, endure more. We know where the invisible lines are drawn. We got more education, more skill training, becoming overqualified to do a job for less pay than our white counterparts. Subtract the higher cost of living from less income for the same job, and you get oppression. You get living an American dream that does not give you upward mobility.-Paulette Springer

Equality explained in the United States: When the rich rob the poor (Blacks), it’s called business. When the poor (Blacks) fight back it’s called violence.”

#2 White friends, no one is taking anything away from you when they are successful. There’s enough money and resources for everyone to fairly have a slice.

#3. I know for a fact that some of my friends never cared about racism, then posted the black box on #BlackOutTuesday. I had to let their a**** know (see the two articles for more details).

Keep in mind that this well-intended white person may or may not agree with racism, but will contribute to Black people being unjustly treated. Their own prejudices will be masked as fear and being scared for their lives when Black people are near them. These are the BBQ Becky’s who call 911 because they are fearful of Black people having a cookout in a public park. They believe they were just trying to keep the park safe. These are the Karen’s who will cause an incident but will say a person of color attacked them and their dog while they were walking down the street.

Now, not all white people are racist but they do benefit from a system of racism that generations have worked hard to build, and many will put forth little effort in dismantling.

To my well-intended folk. Saying that you are a good person or white ally does not release you of your responsibility to unlearn this discriminatory language that you have been taught. Do not continue to hide behind “I’m sorry, I mean well” to justify your racial illiteracy, and unwillingness to change. White people play a role in maintaining or amplifying racism. Some white people choose to be afraid of Black people and Black culture because learning and accepting that they are wrong is more embarrassing and painful. They do not want to unlearn what their parents and community have told them about Black people. Unlearning racism is painful. It is not comfortable. But, white people must still face it, the roots of their own history, and the inaccuracies that they have learned along the way.

Black people deserve to be freed from the bondage of racism, Karen’s, BBQ Becky’s, and the “good” people who harm Black lives. Racism should not be protected. Society treats Black people and Blackness as a death sentence that is just waiting to be cashed in by a white person who made a mistake, because their whiteness demands that their version of events are always right. Black people have a right to live in a society that values them. But many Black people are still waiting for well-intended white people to stop maintaining everyday racism.-How Well-Intended White People Uphold Racism, Dorothy Hines

#4 Are you calling your friends ‘your black’ friends? Are you saying you’re colorblind?

I never say my “Indian” friends or my “Asian” friends. They are my friends.

“I have Black Friends,” is an attempt to make the issue of racism a non-issue. To the mind of the speaker, knowing a person of color and not viewing them as inferior means that they are, therefore, not a racist. The fact that you identify your friends by the color of their skin is an ingrained process that helps continue the legacy of segregation and separation. Until we can simply say “person” and not “black person”, separation and, therefore, inequality will continue to exist. Racism Through the Eyes of a Rural White American, Jen Payne

Saying that you have black friends doesn’t mean you are scot-free. It’s a cop out. It’s a way to shut down the conversation to avoid an uncomfortable situation and topics.

Both the color-blind narrative many white people subscribe to and saying “I’m not racist” as a defense to any discussion about race are problematic. When someone says they don’t see color, they are attempting to emphasize they are accepting of everyone, no matter their skin color. As a Black woman, when I hear that, I get the impression that you’re dismissing my experiences as a minority in America, ignoring the daily racial biases I face and not celebrating my differences. I’m not racist. I have a black family member!” I’m that black family member, and yes, you are racist. Melea Van Ostrand

When I was younger-I can think back as early as 3rd grade, saying that you were colorblind was in and “hip” (keep in mind I was at a racist Catholic school and college. I think I have an article on this somewhere.) By saying that you were colorblind, you were implying that you embrace people regardless of skin color. Then I said wait a sec.

There’s different colors to be embraced and celebrated. Period.

Here’s what I said to a friend.

You post black stories, saying you are sorry for what’s happening, but won’t invite a black person to your home. Or include black people in your friend groups.

You dance to black music, you celebrate black culture, but won’t take steps towards equality for all. You won’t go against the racist system that you benefit from. You secretly want someone that you can say that you’re better than. I love you but I know you don’t give two flying f*@#$ about it.

You wear your BlackLivesMatter t-shirt, but you have never invited a Black person to your home for dinner. You say that you want your children to go to diverse schools, but don’t want “too many” in your child’s classroom. You will be on the diversity team at work, but you will only participate as long as you feel comfortable discussing race. They will protest against police brutality but will grab their purse when a Black person passes by at the store. You are the teacher who writes the racist slavery math question but believe you are trying to be more inclusive of Black children. It’s the person who touches a Black women’s hair (without asking), and says: “I love your hair! But how does your hair twist like that when it’s so nappy?”-How “Well-Intended” White People Uphold Racism, Dorothy Hines

You are either in or out. There’s no inbtwns. You can’t say you’re against racism then continue to do some of the subtle racist things that you do around your white friends or your “white only” friend groups. You are either more interested in fitting in and people pleasing for the status quo or you will stand up for what is right.

I know it’s easier to conform to the familiar and take the path of least resistance. It’s human nature to want to take the easier route.

I’ve been told that I’ve been hard on people but this is the one area I will not let down on. If you are a member of the team, show it and quit playing both sides of the fence. Some of my white friends remind me of the kid you played games with as a child who said to “team up” only to sneakily kill you when convenient for them then remind you, when you in turn try to kill them, that you are a “team.” (DarkSkyLady has some of the best quotes in her articles). To my true blues, you know who you are. ❤

#5

My grandparents’ formal education and the ability to effectively code-switch and assimilate into the dominant (White) culture made it possible for them to live a very comfortable life. Don’t get me wrong, my grandparents were Black as fuck. And proud of it. My family was more Huxtables than Evans. We were very Black and very proud.

I attended an affluent, majority-White elementary school. All my teachers were always White. The majority of my friends were White or Asian. Most of the few Black kids I went to school with were related to me. I learned to talk and in many ways act like an affluent White kid. It wasn’t until I got to middle school that the majority of students were people of color.

These kids (not just the Black ones) fluently spoke a different dialect of English than I did. I could more or less code-switch (mostly less) but this is where my problem with my racial identity began. As far as a lot of these kids were concerned, I spoke White, acted White, and looked a little White. To them, I might as well be White or, maybe more accurately, I wasn’t Black like they were Black. They knew it, and I knew it, and we probably weren’t best friends because of it., No My Kids Are Not Mixed, The Single Black Guy

Growing up, many of my black classmates (especially the girls) definitely acted jealous and treated me like shit because of my light-skin. We were on different wavelengths, and headed in different places in life. I didn’t act the way they acted, so I didn’t fit in with them. A person is a person, regardless of what they look like. They were so obsessed with my long hair and “looks” that they took more time keeping up with me to backstab me instead of getting to know me as a person. I quickly determined these are not the people for me to be hanging around with.

On top of that:

*Security guards every blue moon following me around the store. It’s mostly been black guy security guards (and the store manager told me later that one of them thought I was hot, wowers). Once they realized I was a regular customer, they left me alone-and they completely ignored this white guy that stole a whole thing of liquor out of store the very same day lmfao. While putting so much focus on me, they should focus on the alcohol being lifted out of the stores. I know the whole staff at this Krogers and joke with them about it.

*Teachers purposely punishing me harder growing up.

*My 8th grade teacher purposely lowering my grades. He claim it was a mistake, but a person who was helping him grade the papers verified my story. After my mom asked, it was a 15 point difference-from a C to an A. It was mysteriously done more than once.

*I never tell these stories anymore. I was supposed to be salutatorian of my grade school class, but they maneuvered this other student up just to get back at my mom (they said anyone that was in the grade level for less than a year cannot be valedictorian of salutatorian, he was only in the class for 6 months).

*My middle school teachers tried to sabotage me at my graduation by giving my scholarship to my non-Catholic friend. This scholarship was only meant for Catholic students. Word got out to my high school about how badly I was treated and they made up for it. :D

*Professors giving me lower grades than my white friends, and I tested this by doing their homework and mine to see the difference. This is very hard to prove, as they can say that I did things wrong, but it was basically the same work with different names.

No amount of assimilation, light-skin, or looking a certain way will shield me from the racism I experience from time to time.

By the way, how each person chooses to identify themselves is their own individual journeys.

#6. (December 2020) I’ll never expect any of you to admit how much too many of you steal from people. There’s been a lot of conversations on Youtube and elsewhere admitting how much white people have stolen from black people and other races over the years. Or why too many white women are jealous of black women (why this is I don’t know, you all don’t have to live in a racist world and you benefit from privileges most people can’t get to.). I love many of you to death. And I’m not saying that you stolen from me directly. But it would be nice if at the very basic core level to admit that you indirectly benefit from a racist system. Am I saying you did something personally back in the 1800's? No. When we hang out I’m never like “Look what you done to me” or “Why are you getting these advantages”, etc. Do you get the benefits of the racism that happens? Yes.

#7 (December 2020) I won’t expect any of you to give me insight on the private conversations you have behind closed doors or when I’m not around. I’m 99.9 percent sure that some of the white friends and family I care for talk about me like a dog. If you can have those honest conversations when I’m around that says something about you. If you have them when I’m not around that says something about you too.

#8 Racism isn’t always just a black/white battle, but that’s what the focus is usually on. Here soon, I’m going to take a more of a Native American approach in my articles. In my opinion, there’s not enough attention put on Native American, Asian, Hispanic, Chicano, Latino/Latina, etc issues. My great-grandparents on my mom’s mom (granny’s) side, and great-grandparents on my pops side is white and Native American. No telling what else I will find out after digging on ancestry and 23 and me. Stay tuned for anymore big reveals about my background.

Since it’s 2020, a new decade 🔥🙌 I’ve decided to slightly change how I sign off.

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