Contemplating "White Woman's Tears"
It ("White Woman's Tears") is built on a set of White American ideas about race, listed here in no particular order:Thanks again, Abagond!!!
* It works best when these two stereotypes can be applied:
o The Sapphire stereotype - black women as mean, angry and disagreeable
o The Pure White Woman stereotype - white women as these special, delicate creatures who need to be protected at all costs. It is what drives the Missing White Woman Syndrome – and, in the old days, lynchings.
* The r-word: to be called a “racist”, however gently and indirectly, is a terrible, upsetting thing for white people – far worse than, you know, being a racist.
* White people and their feelings are the centre of the known universe.
* Hearts of stone: meanwhile whites seem to have a very, very hard time putting themselves in the shoes of people of colour.
* Moral blindness: white people think they are Basically Good, therefore if someone points out something bad about them it must be out of hatred.
* White solidarity: whites are afraid to stand up against racism, particularly when they are with other whites. Also, they do not like it when you call other whites racists – they seem to take it personally for some reason.
All these things work together to help create the scene laid out above. It is why it works best for young, good-looking white women and why black women’s tears have nowhere the same effect in a white setting.
In my own experience White American women are by far the hardest to talk to about racism. Even if you get past all their defences and they believe what you are saying, they act like they are going to cry. So you either stop or you push on and are made to look mean and heartless.
White women, the delicate creatures that they are,attend a lynching in Indiana, 1930.