Contemplating "White Anti-Racists Who Strictly Prefer to Critique POC"

A black woman and four self-professed white anti-racists are sitting at a table in a restaurant.  The latter four have taken the black woman out for dinner for her birthday.  Before their meals arrive, the First One says, "Happy Birthday; may all your dreams come true.  But I gotta tell you...I was a little pissed about your article today."

"Oh?" the black woman asks.

"Me too," the Second One nods, "I think you were a little harsh on white people."

"Sometimes," the Third One chimes in, "I think you want something from us...more than you're willing to say."

"Remember that we love you, doll," the Fourth adds, "so we're not trying to gang up on you - especially not on your birthday - but we just think you should tone it down a little."

"We're fighting on the same side," the First One passionately reminds the black woman.  "You are our best friend and we do deeply love you.  We've found your wisdom invaluable and we don't ever want to lose you."

The black woman laughs aloud.

Suddenly, behind their table, a strange drunken white man rises to his feet, stumbles from the bar, and starts telling "nigger jokes".  He tells about four or five, while the other patrons and wait staff (all white, by the way) mutely watch in discomfort.  Spying the black woman at the nearby table, the bartender finally orders the drunken man to leave.  He stumbles towards the door.

"Wait," the black woman calls.  Suddenly sober, the "drunken man" straightens up and walks over to her, where she pays him $100 in cash.  He nods, thanks her politely, and leaves the restaurant at once.

The black woman calmly turns back to her four self-professed white anti-racist friends and asks, "So...how come none of you did anything?"

Ankhesen Mié

Comments

  1. Wow. This deeply resonated with me today. (My boy friend is being very much alienated by his family for being so vocal about confronting the racism he witnesses while we are out with his family in public) This shit happens WAY too often and they (read:white people)are so quick to say that they would speak up if something like that ever happens. They never do...They just ignore it and try and rationalize not speaking out, of course to the detriment of the victim.

    Thanks for this. (Thank you very much)

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  2. What is this? Did this really happen?

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  3. @ Chaos Wald

    This happens all time...online and in person.

    Just trying to make a simpler point this way.

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  4. Of that I have no doubt. I was just wondering if this particular anecdote was real, or if it was just representative of POCs general experience with white racism-complicity...

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  5. Let's just go down the line, shall we?

    - how does trying to quiet/silence a grown woman about her opinions make someone a good "best friend"? Last time I checked, best friends were supportive and understanding of each other - even when they disagree.

    - that is ganging up on her...AND on her birthday.

    - that is probably the last birthday lunch the 5 will share together.

    - The drunken man and the 4 friends were both able to make the woman feel the same sort of WTFthisisBullshit feeling - one of them just wasn't socially acceptable.

    - bartender should have a) shut the guy up after the 1st joke and b) threw him out upon the 2nd - black presence or not.

    - the friends = FAIL ...miserably

    - This is *definitely* the last birthday lunch they will share.

    - It cost $100 to see what would happen, and a lifetime of hurt to find out for certain.

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  6. @ Vintage,

    Hey, you. This Ankhesenology point was partly inspired by your response on DivineLioness's post about Bellingham on SWPD.

    What you said about WP being "afraid" when someone behaves like this instead of just risking getting hit really struck a cord with me. You mentioned having already been hit before, and you were like, "Oh, well...anyway...as I was saying...."

    That's my attitude too. GET HIT. If you're a WP intervening on a POC's behalf, and you get hit, then you and said POC can haul the perp off to court and make sure their ass gets put in jail for sure.

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  7. Exactly. Boo.Hoo. Either hit him/her back or press charges. People forget how easy it is to recover from a bruise or laceration. But 9.5 times out of 10 - you won't have to. I will always choose to call someone's bluff on that. It usually ends up in yelling matches and someone walks away. I just hate that weak excuse to not have to assert oneself. It's particularly pathetic when you're sitting there and witnessing wrongdoing and choose to do nothing. I can't imagine the internal dialogue they have both in the moment and later on that night at bedtime.

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  8. It's particularly pathetic when you're sitting there and witnessing wrongdoing and choose to do nothing.

    Precisely. They assume, "Yeah...this 'offensive', but no one is really getting hurt by this [read: neither me nor anyone I really care about is getting hurt]...so I don't really have to do anything."

    "Offensive" is often left up to interpretation. "Wrongdoing" is not, hence the word "wrong". Cowards thus prefer to think that something "offensive" isn't wholly wrong and thus absolve themselves of taking action.

    It further drives home the saying about WP really being thoroughly clueless on just how harmful racism really is when they are quick to blow off an "offensive" racist incident.

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