We’re all shaken up.
We white folks are shocked, heartsick, sad, angry, embarrassed, and defensive as fuck, apparently.
I’ve offended people about 50 percent of the time on facebook since it happened. By sharing articles that made my white friends uncomfortable. “We don’t appreciate the divisive tone of this article,” they say.
We BRED that divisiveness. First by not seeing the racism and hate. Then, by glossing it over because it made us uncomfortable. Then, by “solving” it through rejection of racists and bigots when we could cull them from our lives. Some of us stepped up and opened discussions amongst our fellow caucasians about the injustices and the ugliness. Some of us have black friends, even. We listened to Macklemore and defended his value, pooh-pooh’ing the whole white savior thing. Because there’s such a thing as “too far left” and “too much political correctness.”
You know what? No, there isn’t. Because this isn’t a left-or-right thing, a political thing – it’s a moral thing. Because political correctness isn’t actually a thing. It’s just a term we’ve put on an effort to be conscious and considerate of others in all their variances. It’s “Not Being An Asshole.” Or hey, maybe something like, “Respecting the Comfort Level of Others.” Or maybe it’s just fucking EMPATHY.
And now white people are getting upset because their “help” isn’t being accepted the right way by those who have for generations been oppressed, abused, marginalized, ridiculed, or flat-out murdered. Oh, you don’t like our safety pin movement! “YOU’RE BEING TOO ANGRY AND DIVISIVE WHEN WE SHOULD BE COMING TOGETHER.”
NO FUCKING NO.
It is not the responsibility of the oppressed to accept our gestures and platitudes and make nice just because we’re finally opening our eyes to what has been going on for generations. It is OUR responsibility to shut the fuck up and LISTEN to them, to let THEM have the floor, to boost their signal, to be their support and not their white saviors. And if that means swallowing our pride when they tell us where to shove our safety pins and white tears, then so be it. We shut the fuck up and listen and get educated on how we CAN help, how we CAN make them feel safer and more supported. Because you don’t get to dictate another person’s trust.
And those safety pins? Great! Wear them to your hearts’ desires! But don’t stop there. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that just with your pin you’ve done some great service, any more than you have actually helped cure breast cancer by wearing a “save the ta-tas” tee shirt. If you really care, really want to help, here’s a good starting list of ideas:
UPDATE. @SunnyMegatron on twitter shared this more comprehensive googledoc of sites, lists, and links on how you can get involved and really help: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1bIAbOOmyyuZ6PR2hHor4egYSQRt30p9wnTT41A8sPJY/edit#