Tag Archives: white privilege

What Black folks really need

2 Dec

Today’s post is personal and written from my lens as a Black woman in America, so if it seems there are generalizations in what I am about to say, it’s because this is my personal truth. Can I just say that I am going through some shit that has me wondering how come I wasn’t born white? Look, I am not a self loathing Negro who hates my race, nah…went that route 20 years ago, been there, done that, got the t-shirt as Dave Ramsey would say.

Instead I wonder how come in this so-called  post racial era of Obama it seems life has gotten a lot harder for all us Black folks who are not connected in someway to the great Black hope that currently resides in the White House. (Damn, if only I had been able to afford the better hairdresser back in Chicago, maybe I could have met Michelle O and got a job….I used to go to the same hair salon as the First Lady, but she saw the pricier stylist and I saw the cheapest one in the already overpriced salon but I digress).  

Folks like to say but we have Obama, racism is dead. Really? Well according to this  lovely article which reflects a lot of what I am dealing with right now. It seems you can be a Black person who follows the societal approved path for success, college, etc and still end up underemployed or unemployed. Yes, I know many whites are facing the same fate but the unemployment rates for Blacks are well above that of whites so we really cannot compare the two races in this matter. See, in America most Black folks would agree that our path to success and creating wealth since most of us do not have generational wealth already built up, depends on us going to college and getting a good job. Problem is getting a good job is a lot harder than one would imagine.

See, in America, you can be a Black person with multiple degrees from good schools and sadly you still might not earn as much as a white guy who didn’t  finish college. Shit, you might even realize Mister No Degrees is your boss? How about that? Now on a practical note, it helps to have the ability to earn a living sans a job, in other words by marketing your own skills directly to folks in need. I have done this in the past, working with small non-profits giving advice and assisting with grants. It was a life saver a while ago, and I highly encourage everyone to work on their hustle skills…never know when you will need them.

Yet if you are a Black person who still believes in the American dream and that you too can have a slice of the pie. Well the answer is screw a college education, read books, go to museums on your own. No, what you really need is a white suit, or maybe some of Sammy Sosa’s skin rejuvenation treatments. I was trying to figure out how much whiteness could I have bought with the amount spent on my degrees? Let’s see at last check with interest it seems my undergrad and graduate degrees cost $112,000. I think for that kind of loot, there is someone out there would have at least turned me into a Jennifer Lopez colored babe.

Look, I know I am taking a joking approach to a rather unpleasant situation but sometimes I think we have to find the humor in these moments or else we will snap.

Look, I know it sounds crazy, but imagine if someone created a realistic white suit? Too dark to get a foot in the door, no problem. Slip into your handy dandy white suit. b

White folks and racial naivete

21 Oct

For the past few days I have been thinking about the rather interesting observation that this presidential season seems to be bringing out, the fact that by and large when you are person of the paler hue, one does not have to think about race on a regular basis.

Seriously, both in my online as well as real life dealings, I have been in contact with white folks who are positively stunned at the blatant racism that is coming out the closet as America seems to be edging closer to possibly having its first Black president. It seems that on an almost daily basis, we are seeing effigies of Obama, folks making asses of themselves on TV about how America is a White Christian nation and only white folks get to be in charge. Shit, I am sure Sears is running out of white sheets in some parts of the country.

The thing is as a Black woman, none of this is surprising to me, shit I would be more surprised if we didn’t have folks doing this shit. See, I was born in the early 70’s yet I have been on the planet long enough as a Black woman to know that despite the strides we have made racially in this country, shit regular readers know my Pops grew up drinking from the colored water fountain and never thought he would have a white son in law. Despite the fact that we have made strides, we still have a long way to go. America has never had a truthful racial dialogue, too many white folks would rather see my ass serving them when I am in a restaurant than see my Black ass getting served.

Don’t get me wrong, thoughts of race don’t consume every moment of my waking day, but honestly there are not too many days that I don’t face that reminder that I am Black. Its just good for me that I love my Black self and accept that being Black is a part of my identity. I can never just be a person because in this world, I am Black first and foremost and that’s cool with me.

My kids are biracial, yet they are being raised and have been raised to understand that most likely folks will view them as Black, so while they can call themselves what they want to, just understand folks may view you differently.  Speaking of the kids, my son was 3 when race was brought to his attention and now at 3 my daughter is starting to notice racial differences. It most certainly isn’t anything I have called attention to, but I suspect that children of color notice racial differences sooner than white kids. That’s neither a positive or a negative but just one of those things. I was about 4 or so when I realized race and when I entered kindergarten and was the only kid of color, it was my grand debut into the land of racial differences.

On a parenting board that I hang out at, a white mother encountered a racial minority being mistreated by a white man and her kids were with her and she was at a loss with how to deal with the situation. Other posters (white) suggested that kids are too young to be burdened with dealing with racism.  That stunned me because as a Black child, I was raised to understand that sadly racism is something you may encounter yet I have grown white friends who still grapple with dealing with racism. Honestly, I expect it and rather than being surprised I look for ways to move on less I blow a gasket.

Part of why we as a nation have still not moved on is because in my humble opinion, we refuse to talk honestly about race, what the legacy of slavery has meant to millions of African-Americans. How systematic oppression over hundreds of years cannot be wiped out in 40-50 years. Until we get to that point as well as the point of looking at our own internal biases that may cause prejudice deep within us, I truly don’t feel we are making nearly as much progress as we think. No, what we are doing is that type of cleaning when you sweep all the shit into the closet and under the bed but at a certain point,  the closet door starts bulging, demanding that you move shit out of the closet. That is where we are at as a nation. The closet doors are becoming unstable.

There are those who feel an Obama presidency will usher in a new era, well it will be a new era, but I suspect Black folks will still get stopped for driving while black. Police brutality will be an issue and all the other injustices will happen. So while I might start looking for my dancing shoes soon for November 5, we still have a lot of work ahead of us to truly achieve racial parity.

As for white folks raising kids, don’t fear talking about injustice with your kids, to do so IMO will create a generation that is truly prepared to tackle injustices head on.

It is what I say it is.. got that?

15 Sep

Here I am a peaceful subject, so peaceful that I don’t spank my little one when she is acting up and believe me as a former spanker who got spanked there are days that the peaceful more gentle route really starts to grate on a Mama’s nerves. However I am not talking about the little one, though she did work me nerves this weekend.

Nope, I am talking about the lens through which white folks and Black folks see the world and how sometimes I swear white folks deliberately choose to slip on their white privilege lens thus making me want to slap the shit out of them.

I have had several exchanges lately where as a Black woman it felt clear I was getting stank attitudes because I was Black, specifically the family went out to dinner and at the next table was a group of young white men late teens to early 20’s I’d say. Well while getting my eat on, I sensed someone looking at me and look up and low and behold, the table of young white men is giving a sista the evil eye. I heard one of them mutter something about Obama, all the while looking at me like what the fuck am I doing in their line of vision.

Well a sista wasn’t having that, so I decided to engage back with the staring until the head ignoramous decided to finish his food. All the time while staring at him, I was also reaching towards my father in laws bottle of beer because had the little redneck bastards decided to get uppity, I was prepared to tell the spousal unit to scoop up mini-me while I broke that bottle on the table and went for the bastard’s neck.  Yep, that’s how I roll. I am too old to play games and will fuck up anyone who endangers or threatens me or my family.

Anyhow, I shared this story with someone recently and was asked how did I know the young men were racist? Truthfully, being asked that question pissed me off almost as much as the table full of young Republicans or maybe they were all a bunch of Levi “redneck” wanna bees. See, its shit like that, that makes me think the only white person who avoids pissing me off on the regular is the spousal unit. Now I know it was an innocent question, but why do Black folks have to justify that we “know” its racism. Somethings are a matter of reception as much as perception, if I receive it as racism and it feels like racism then guess what for me its racism. The thing is not all racism is upfront and nasty sometimes its light and subtle but generally most folks of color know racism when they encounter it, and after 35 years on this planet, I can tell the difference between a casual stare versus a hostile one that says the person staring would like to do me harm.

Ya know somtimes I want to just share a story and not have to justify or explain, if I say I felt it was a racial issue guess what just listen to me.. kinda like with kids sometimes its because I said so, no other explanation needed. Got it?

Revisiting White Privilege and the Hillary Supporters

26 Aug

Last night I had a chance to catch Michelle Obama’s speech at the DNC convention, all I can say is wow! I swear I like her better than her husband, she appears to be authentic, I look at her and see myself and so many other Black women in her.. she represents well.

So I went to bed, feeling warm and fuzzy since between that emotional speech and those 2 gorgeous daughters, I was feeling good that I actually had the chance to catch the happenings last night.

Well the bubble was busted this morning when I woke up to my usual dose of NPR and the coverage about last night’s happenings at the DNC and they were discussing the Hillary factor, and had a couple of die hard Hillary supporters being interviewed. Let me just say they pissed me off, both women were clearly white, one described herself as an academic, the other a professional. They both spoke of how passionately they believed in Hillary and just needed proper closure before they could even consider supporting Obama. Wait! Hold the fuck up… you need closure. Um, newsflash, your candidate lost, time to move the fuck on.

Then it hit me, what has been bothering me most about the Clinton supporters who cannot let go and those that have  expressed the fucked up thought that they would rather vote for McCain over Obama (um, that’s not even logical but what the fuck does a little black chick from Maine know?). I think what bugs me most is that every time I hear these women speak, I am hearing them speak from a place of white privilege yet none of them would dare call it that. Oh, no, its coded in such a way that it sounds good, they use deep words, very emotional and moving language that while passionate, what they are really saying is  that losing to a nigger was never part of their expectations. I rarely use the n-word here but this is one time it feels fitting.  No, white privilege is predicated on the very false notion that whites are better than lowly people of color? Now, I admit I am not going to take the academic route here but white privilege is real and I sincerely believe the reason Clinton supporters can’t let go is that losing to a man of color is just not acceptable. When one operates from a place of privilege they in essence are able to look at the world through rose colored lenses, as I have written before white privilege allows one to make assumptions and not ever have to think about it, as I posted once before its simple shit like literally shitting where you want.

I have been Black all my life and its been my observation that whenever a Black persons bests a white person in something, no matter how trivial, the average white person gets uncomfortable. I won’t say all as my spousal unit is white and I know some good white folks but the vast majority only pay lip service to wanting to be equal.. in the end, for many white privilege comes into play.

At this point I feel like white privilege is too deeply ingrained in many Clinton supporters (where were these women when Hillary was being made to look like a fool while Bill was having not real sexual relations with Monica?), then again maybe just as I see bits of myself in Michelle Obama, perhaps these women see bits of themselves reflected in Hillary. Staying with a man, you really want to throw hot grits on when he has publicly humiliated you.. yet you stay because through him you can access power. However at the same time staying in a soul-less partnership drains you but at the end of the day, much like Scarlett O’Hara you believe there will be a better tomorrow, after all you are woman.. hear you roar. That was until that interloper aka Obama showed up. Ok, I admit I am getting goofy..not enough coffee yet.

Really though, the bottom line is that for me I believe white privilege is playing a large role in why some of the Clinton supporters cannot or will not support Obama. The pundits love to say Obama cannot close the deal, well unless the brotha gets a vat of white paint to give himself a makeover, with some folks he won’t close the deal and the sooner he accepts that and focuses on those he can convince to support him, the better off he will be.

White privilege.. its everywhere I am not

20 Jul

I guess the reason I won’t ever be a blogger who writes about current events is because I have a tendency to come late to the party, but that’s life when you have an almost 3 year old and only 24 hours in a day.

Last post, I wrote about Jesse Jackson and the n-word but at that writing I hadn’t yet heard the story about ole Elizabeth from The View and the rather um, emotional discussion that occurred between the ladies of The View about the n-word. Plenty of folks have already wrote some fabulous stuff specifically about that conversation, however at another blog the issue of white privilege came up and for some reason this weekend that stuck in my mind.

Seems white folks don’t always get why they can’t use the n-word, some even say it feels unfair… after all if its such a hateful word, why the hell should Black folks use it? Seems maybe we should all bury it. On the surface that feels like a really warm and fuzzy argument and maybe if it were not for this little pesky thing called white privilege, I might almost agree but I don’t.

Before I get into my rant, let me say upfront, I don’t write an academic blog, I am a former quasi-academic, long story short after I got the masters degree a few years ago, I decided I had had enough of school.  So I say this to say that when I blog, I just write, I don’t for the most part add sources but if you are reading this feel free to google anything I say and find the references yourself.

Now that we have that out of the way, lets get the rant on… Many years ago Peggy McIntosh wrote a piece that is often used to discuss white privilege, it basically highlights the many invisible perks that white folks get just by nature of being white. Simple things like knowing for instance you can pretty much do what you want to do without fear… or at the very least live in a state and not have to travel 2 states over to get your hair done.

With that paraphrasing of Peggy’s piece, I am reminded that maybe on some level the reason whites don’t get why they can’t use the n-word is not so much rooted in the fact that they care about Black folks (not saying that they don’t) but more rooted in the fact that its one thing that Black society has basically said no about, you can’t use that word and in general to be white in America does not mean hearing no all that often compared to if you are a person of color in America. After all for the average white person throwing out a casual n-bomb at the very least will earn you a mild scolding if your n-bomb falls upon Black ears to possibly getting your ass kicked. Depends on the Black person hearing it and honestly the kind of day they are having.

See, its funny when the spousal unit and I were talking about The View and my reaction to Elizabeth (honey, stop crying… get over yourself, use those tears to help folks if you really want to do something productive). It was my white half that brought up white privilege and how in his 40 years of life, 13 which have been spent with yours truly, that its been only in these last 13 years that he realized how many things he took for granted as a white man.

Imagine walking around in a large city when the urge to take a sudden and powerful bowel movement hits (I know this is sounding crazy but stick with me), well the spousal unit just looks for a nice hotel and wanders in and uses their facilities. The first time he shared this with many years ago, I looked at him like he was crazy, see when I used to live in Chicago and found myself in a similar predicament it never dawned on me to go to a hotel. Perhaps, because I have had experiences when traveling and staying at top notch hotels where just my appearance required showing a key card and proof I really belonged at the hotel and wasn’t loitering. Its a small thing but it was one of the first times I stopped to ponder how we, Black folks and White folks at times can inhabit different worlds.

In more recent days, a white girlfriend and I were discussing local beaches we take our kids, and my pal shared that she regularly uses one particular beach that is private… I knew the beach in question but was fascinated that she regularly just used it with no concerns, I even asked her aren’t you concerned that the organization that owns it might ask you to leave? She told me no; see white privilege allows you to go and do seemingly simple things like shit or use a beach with no concerns that someone might question you, hound you, or disturb you in any way. Damn, it must be nice…

However back to my original point, I see some whites irritation in not being allowed to use the n-word rooted in the fact that to be white in America unless you are at the lowest rings of the socio-economic ladder is to not have to hear the word no, it means always having a choice.. and yet Black folks have said no, you cannot have this word. That said, I am not saying we as Black folks need to hang onto this word as a commenter on my last entry stated maybe its time we look for some new language in general and I agree.

That said white privilege is everywhere, maybe instead of getting pissed about what you can’t say, it would be better to look at what you can do and strive for ways to achieve parity so that everyone can shit when needed.