Today's lesson, Racism. If you see something written here that you’ve said or done, use it as an opportunity. Take it as a wake up call and make the decision to grow, change and be conscious of your own privilege. Remember, I am not a speaker for the entirety of a people. Use this blog as a reference tool, not as the one and only view on the topic. Creative Commons License
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Racism 101: A Comprehensive Guide for 2012

This is a guide to answer some of your racial questions. I am not sure why we still need to explain some of these things in the year 2012, but here it is!

I do want you to know that this is coming from my personal perspective, so the races being spoken about are black and white. I am not intentionally leaving out other races. I can only speak from my own perspective. 

15 things every good racist/non-racist should know

Enjoy!

1. Black people say it (Item One)- No they don’t. This seems to be the favorite argument of racists when talking about the N-Word and who can say it. (I’ll get to the saying of the word a little later) Let me tell you why when a person says this, I know for sure they are a racist.

If you believe that “Black people say it” is a good bit of reasoning for you using a racial slur, it means that you see “Black people” as one single entity.

We are not.

The idea that because the guy that sings that one song that you love says it, the guy that used to tell that one joke that was your absolute favorite say it, or even you’ve heard that one guy at work say it, means that in your head, ALL BLACK PEOPLE say it, tells me that you do not see Black people as PEOPLE.

We are people. 

As in, plural.

As in, multiple.

As in, Black person A might say it and Black person B might not.

If you currently use, have used or believe on any level that “Black people say it” is good argument for YOU saying it, you are a racist. 

2. His name is Mike so your name is Mike- Let’s say I meet a white man with blue eyes, blond hair and two ears. He tells me his name is Mike. Now from here on out, every single time I meet someone with blond hair, I call him/her Mike. No matter what s/he tells me his or her name is. Every single time I meet someone with blue eyes, I call him/her Mike and every single time I meet someone that is white, I call him/her Mike even if s/he tells me his or her actual name AND request that I call them by it.

You’d think I was either crazy or, at the very least, an asshole, right?

So why are you complaining when Black person A asks to be called Black and Black person B asked to be called African American?

I hear all the comments about how you “Just can’t keep up with it all.”

Here’s the thing: you don’t have to. What you DO have to do, if you aren’t a racist that is, is acknowledge their request. It doesn’t matter if you understand why. It matters that they have made a specific request.

To point out the obvious here, it causes you no harm whatsoever to use the specific term you have been asked to use. You say the wrong thing and someone says,”Please call me African American instead,” your reply should not ever be “…but that guy just told me to call him black.” Your reply should be, “Oh sorry about that.” and move the fuck on.

If there is any confusion as to why two different Black people would make two opposing requests, please re-read item one. 

3. Barack Obama- The race of The President of the United states of America does not have any affect on race relations in America. I know that if you are racist, you enjoy using the non-white President to further your racist arguments. Announcing that we now live in a “Post racist America” tells me that in your limited thinking, you believe that continued racism in America was only due to the idea that Black people have had limited achievements within the country. You have refused to note (or maybe you refuse to believe) that Black people have made any contributions to the country. It tells me that you believe that the single act of a Black president not only could change the entire country’s racial viewpoint, but that a Black person holding this one single job now makes things equal.

I have to be honest here; the thinking on this is just ridiculous. I mean, even for a racist.

4. The Black pass-This is a thing. No really, it is. I admit it freely. I have given them myself. There seems to be a couple of things that are confusing to racists though, so I’ll clear those things up now.

You can not give yourself this pass. No matter how many Black friends you claim you have. No matter how long you have been living in, driving to, or hanging out within what you consider to be the Black community. I repeat, you can not give yourself this pass.

When a Black person tells a white person that they have this pass, it is a term of affection. No more, no less. It doesn’t open any magic doors. It doesn’t suddenly allow you to use words that you couldn’t use before. It doesn’t mean that you now tan really well. It just means, “You are my friend and I feel like I could take you anywhere within my community.” It means “I know I can be myself around you and I know that you feel like you can be yourself around me.” That is what a “Black pass” is.

It is not a reason to be an asshole. It is not a reason to now evoke each and ever stereotype about Black people and apply them to yourself. So…you think Black people have big dicks? That’s super, but guess what, if you had a three-inch dick before the pass, you’ve still got it after. Sorry. If you even think this way in the first place, you need to have said pass revoked immediately because you are clearly a racist. 

5. Blame the black people-Some of the racist people that are more up front with their feelings like to blame Black people for problems. Let’s use Ron Paul’s news letter as an example. In one, he (or the mysterious ghost writer) stated that (I’m paraphrasing here) because of Black people, America has turned to the “Ghetto lifestyle.” Yep, you read that right. The letter went on to proudly describe what the ghetto lifestyle entailed. Fun things like having low morals, using and/or selling drugs, having multiple babies just for the food stamps, stealing, etc.

I’m sure we can all agree that this is open racism. However, let’s be honest about this. Yes, there are people within the Black community that could fall under each and every one of those categories. The problem with this argument is that there are people that fall under each and every one of those categories in EVERY SINGLE RACIAL GROUP IN AMERICA.

Now, if you read that last line and thought “Well, then Ron Paul was right. It is the fault of Black people.”I am going to be forced to tell some hard truths…

If you believe that the reason these problems exist are the fault of Black people, you must either believe that Black people are the most powerful group on the planet (or at least in America) or that every other American is weak as hell. I know, this statement is confusing, right? Don’t worry, I’ll explain!

If you have the low mental capacity to believe that these shitty things are the fault of Black people, you believe that LESS THAN THIRTEEN PERCENT OF THE POPULATION CONTROLS AND/OR INFLUENCES THE OTHER EIGHTY-SEVEN PERCENT.

How do you feel now Mr.& Mrs. Racist? You just said you think Black people are more influential than all other races. 

Thank you for your continued accidental support!

6. Bringing up Slavery- When you get called out for saying something racist and your immediate response is something about slavery, you are confirming your racism. If you say things like “You think you are owed something because of slavery” or “You act like you are just one generation out of slavery,” or any of the other hundreds of genius things racist people like to say about slavery and how Black people evidently feel about said topic, you need to loosen up your hood because it is clearly cutting off the circulation to your brain.

If it is you, not we but you, who are bringing up slavery, it’s your issue. It’s your concern. It’s your reasoning. It’s the thing that you have decided in order to justify your own racism. Hey, if Black people are going to blame you for slavery, you get to blame them for all the evil in the world, right? Makes perfect sense. Problem is, well…it’s YOUR issue. I didn’t bring it up because the reason I am mad about that racist thing you just said is that it’s racist. My ancestral history didn’t make that racist comment; you did. You did.

Yes, it’s true there are absolutely Black people who will talk about slavery as if it happened not only yesterday, but to them personally. Yes, this is true. I don’t know any of them. I am sure they exist. Hell, you might even live next to one of them. I just haven’t come across one myself. 

Now, if there is some confusion about the fact that I freely admit that there are Black people in America that are thinking exactly what you think they are thinking, please re-read item one. Also, please note that your racism doesn’t go away if you evoke slavery. Your comment, the thing that lead me to calling you a racist in the first place, yep…still racist. Even if I was one of those damn angry Black folk that spent my days talking about slavery, your comment? No less racist. Just sayin’.

7. The Black Teacher- No, this is not a thing. I don’t mean that there are no Black teachers. I mean that Black people are not the teachers of the Black experience. You are not entitled to ask questions about why Black people do the things they do, feel the way they feel, or walk the way they walk. 

Black people are not your spirit guide.

When you ask question that start with “Why do Black people…?” or any variation of this, you are forgetting item one. If you have asked these questions, please re-read item one now.

You are not entitled to know what it’s like to be Black. You are not entitled to know why Black people think it’s okay to blah blah blah. Again, re-read item one. 

There are exceptions, and then there are down right “Fuck you’s.”

Exception: You are with your Black friend, one on one, you have the kind of relationship were you don’t feel uncomfortable asking racial questions, and you have asked if it is okay to ask them. Your Black friend has given the okay. You ask, they answer. This is perfectly acceptable as long as you think before you speak and don’t ask questions like “Why are Black people so lazy?”

The fuck you: More than one person asking a single Black person questions. It’s bullshit. Even if you are friends. Even if there are three white people and one Black person and the four of you have been friends since you were five years old. It’s still bullshit. You are doing two things in this scenario. First, you are ganging up on one person for information you feel entitled to. No matter how close you all are, when it is not a one-on-one situation and asking these questions haven’t been okayed, you are putting the person in a defensive position. Even if you don’t think you are asking “Negative” questions. It’s unfair. It’s not okay. There may be occasional exceptions to this but in general, you are a complete piece of shit if you act this way. Don’t even risk it. If you have a burning question, try it one-on-one after you’ve gotten the okay to ask it. Otherwise, move on to something else.

Second, You are putting this one person in a position to speak for the entirety of a race. See item one. As much as you might like the idea of having nice tidy answers to all your Black people questions, there aren’t many, if any. We are a race of PEOPLE.

8. Nigger/Nigga. Here we go…This is the bane of many racist people’s existence. My first instinct is never to explain why it’s not okay. It’s always to ask, “Why do you WANT to say it?

Really, why? You DO know why it’s not okay for you to say it. You aren’t dumb. You want to say it because Jay-Z says it? If you are willing to risk hurting people to be more like a guy that panders to you for your dollars, you need to re-think your life choices.

Yes, there are Black people who use this word in their every day language. I still don’t see why you want to say it. You know the history. You know why it’s going to be a problem if you say it. On a more human level, why would you WANT to say something that you KNOW will hurt people. Yes, it DOES hurt people when you say it. Why do you WANT to say it? Just because you don’t think there should be an “Off limits” word?

Okay, so your argument for saying a word that you KNOW will HURT PEOPLE is that you’re mad because someone else gets to say it and you don’t?

I am clearly missing something here.

Why is this an argument you are willing to have? Why would you get into a conversation with someone and have “Black people say it so I should be able to say it too” as your reasoning? 

Okay, let’s look at this from a different perspective. We’ve been over the “Black people say it” fuckery. Let’s suspend that for just a second. For just a moment, let us pretend that ALL Black people really do say the word nigger. Okay, there it is. You’ve gotten what you wanted. Now, there’s still a problem with your argument. If you are telling me that you should get to say it because “Black people say it” that means that you DO acknowledge that it is a Black-race SPECIFIC word, right?

Okay, you look confused. Let me break this down real quick. If YOU have stated that “Black people say it,” and you believe this with all your heart, then hell, even if this statement was true, YOUR COMMENT says that YOU BELIEVE that BLACK PEOPLE say it. As in, not ALL people say it. SPECIFICALLY, ONLY BLACK PEOPLE SAY IT

You said that. This is information YOU have floating around YOUR head. So if YOU have decided that this is a Black-specific word, and based on YOUR comment of “Black people say it,” you HAVE made this decision. Again I have to ask, why do you WANT to say it. Are you saying you want to be Black? I don’t think that is what your saying. Are you saying you think it’s a super-duper cool word and having access to all other words is just not good enough. Your life can not be complete without this ONE word? I don’t think that is what you are saying either.

I think you are saying one of two things. Either, “I will not live in a world were a group I feel is beneath me can say something I can not say” or, “I am such a racist that I believe that if I come up with a good enough argument for saying this word, I’ll get to say it as much as I want!”

If you are not Black and you are fighting to say this word, your options are that you are a racist or you are a cold heart moron. 

Again, why do you WANT to say it?

9. Not a compliment- Things racist people say as if it were complimentary:

  • I’ve always wanted to fuck a Black person 
  • Your skin is so dark and pretty! Can I touch it? 
  • It must be great to have hair that doesn’t move. 
  • Your skin makes your teeth look so white!
  • …any variation of the above

10. Things racist people say. Things racist people say to prove they aren’t racist but which actually serve to prove that they are:

  • I have Black friends/My best friend is Black.
  • I have Black people in my family.
  • I work with Black people.
  • I gave a Black person a ride home once.
  • I gave a Black homeless guy a dollar once.
  • I love Black people.
  • I have dated Black people/I am dating a Black person.
  • The guy that cuts my hair is Black.
  • I just talked to a Black person outside.
  • …any variation of the above

11. Silence- You are in a group of people, you’ve just heard someone say something racist. Not full blown N-Word racist, just run-of-the-mill racist (we’ll get to this in a minute) and you stay silent. You are a piece of shit.

I don’t expect anyone to go out and call out each and every racist thing they hear from each and every human being. Not only because you’d have no time to eat, sleep or breathe, but in some cases, it could actually be dangerous to do so.

I am talking about that one time when you and your Black friend were out with a group of people and someone said something racist. The Black person was left to defend themselves while you stayed silent. Later, when you and said Black friend were alone, you let them know how wrong you thought that person was and how much you agreed with everything the Black person said.

You are a piece of shit.

If being friends with a Black person is to much for you, don’t do it. If you are going to sit and silently agree that something was racist and wrong, keep walking. You are not a friend.

Your silence is deafening.

Being an ally behind closed doors, and only behind closed doors, is not being and ally at all. It is being a coward. Be a coward with someone else. You are not a friend.

If your beliefs aren’t strong enough to show in daylight, I don’t need you at night. Perhaps you didn’t speak up because you really weren’t an ally in the first place. Perhaps you weren’t too scared or nervous to speak up. Perhaps it was more that you felt like you didn’t totally disagree with what was said. Now that you are alone with your Black “friend” you feel guilty so you want to reassure them that you are on their side.

You aren’t. Your Black friend is not stupid. Thinking your Black friend is stupid further proves your own racism.

12. Africa-We don’t know what Africa is like. We also aren’t thankful or impressed that you want to help Africa. I am glad that you want to help. The end. I would be equally glad if you wanted to help the homeless or the fight for breast cancer. You don’t get points for your philanthropic project having an African theme. 

Furthermore, randomly telling me about either your love for Africa or that you want to help Africa let’s me know that you are saying as much because I am Black. Don’t act like you directed that tidbit of information at me when there are eight other people in the room and then get offended when I think you said it to somehow connect to me on a racial level.

I don’t know Africa. Africa doesn’t know me.

Oh and just to be clear on something, when you pick me to say this to out everyone in the room and then phrase it in some variation of “I do blah blah blah to help Africa,” I not only think you are trying to tell me that you “Like Black people,” but I also think you are either a complete idiot or a complete liar. “Africa” doesn’t need your help. Darfur might need your help. Ethiopia might need your help but Africa does not your help.

13. Trying to escape- Black people don’t succeed because we are trying to escape the ghetto. We succeed because we have merit and ability. The end.

14. Positive Racism-There is no such thing. You think Black people are better athletes? What a compliment. Thank you for explaining that the predominantly white team was really destined to lose because they faced a predominantly Black team. It couldn’t possibly be ability. It must be racial. Thank you for letting me know that if the predominantly white team had won you would somehow believe that it was a real victory because they had to overcome racial superiority. Therefore, their victory should be celebrated in a way that no Black team’s victory ever could.

You think Black women are over-sexed and you really want to fuck one of them? Thank you for letting me know that you believe a Black woman is someTHING to do and not someONE to be respected.

I could go on but really, do I need to?

15. Racism is. If you have been on Tumblr for more then an hour, you have seen some post about how racism isn’t just about race. It’s race plus power. This is 100% true.

However, even those that will agree to the correct definition will not agree with what is actually racist. In the world of many, a white person calling a Black person “Nigger” is racist. Anything outside of that…eh, not so much.

No thank you. Give me that old-time, confederate-flag-waving racism. You see, as evil and sick as the out right racism is, it still gives more respect to the oppressed then this sorta-kinda racism. 

The out right racist is saying “Look, I hate you. You are trash and nothing you say or do will change that. I have no problem with telling you face-to-face what I think about you.”

The “Possible” racist tries to disguise and deny their racism. This person is saying “While I agree that I too hate you, think you are trash, and nothing you say or do will change that, I also want you to know that I think you are too stupid to realize that I feel this way. I believe that denying my racism will allow me to both be racist and be a victim of your accusations. On top of all that, I also get to belittle your feeling each and every time you call me out for saying something that maybe could be racist….but isn’t because I’m not a racist.”

See the difference there? See how that works?

I hope this will help some of you who have continued to be confused and ask these same questions even though we are now entering 2012. I hope this will somehow clear some things up. Although I may not have covered each and ever topic, I hope this serves as a jumping-off point for you to learn more about racial etiquette. Yep, that IS a thing!

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    It may be 2014 now, but this is always relevant.
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