I have to admit that I’m tired of writing about race relations, but I’ve promised myself that every single day that I encounter something new, I will consider it a teachable moment for anyone who might want to learn. For those who are, indeed, interested in learning, my topic of the day is the implications of commonly used sayings and phrases that are straight out of the playbook. Specifically, the racist playbook.
First, let me explain where I’m coming from.
Remember that old Bruce Willis film, The Sixth Sense, where the young Haley Joel Osment claims to see dead people? He sees them everywhere, and they only see what they want to see without the realization that they’re actually dead. At the end [spoiler alert], Malcolm Crow, the Bruce Willis character, discovers that he’s been dead all along, and it’s a very emotional scene. We’ve all seen that, right?
So . . . I’ve observed striking similarities in some racists. They’re the Malcolm Crow of racists, and they don’t think they’re racists, and in fact, they roam the earth with the full belief that they’re accepting of all variations of people . . . until something slips out and they play their hands.
No worries, though, because I’m here to help. If you’ve ever said any item on the list below, you might be an unintentional covert racist. For the record, I’ve heard or read each one of these in the past seven days.
- “I don’t see color.” C’mon now . . . yes, you do. And you absolutely should. Seeing no color, as you claim, means that you also don’t see discrimination. In order to be a true anti-racist — if that’s your goal — you need to see it all so that you can defend against it. When people say that they don’t see color, I immediately take that to mean that they don’t care to be bothered with anything that comes along with being a person of color. Which is . . .what? That’s right. Racist.
- “All Lives Matter.” So . . . here’s the deal. Black people think that white lives matter too. But the problem is that the sentiment is often not returned, and ALL lives aren’t endangered. Saying All Lives Matter in the wake of so many blatant and unpunished infractions against Black people is like going to the funeral of a friend’s child, and announcing that All Children Matter. Well, of course they do, but we’re mourning the loss of one specific child today. Comparing your vibrant and healthy child to one that’s been tragically killed is horribly insensitive. Don’t you agree?
- “If you don’t like it, you can always leave the country.” And go where, idiot? I’m American. So, your suggestion is that I find another home, because I don’t enjoy receiving poor treatment in a country where I pay taxes? How about you help figure out a way that every citizen of this country feels good about being a US passport holder? If you merely enjoy basking in your own comfort without concerning yourself with the mistreatment of others, sorry, but that makes you a racist. And an asshole.
- Referring to Black people as “Blacks” or “the Blacks.” Trump didn’t create this speech pattern, although he is expert at it. Saying things like “I never met Blacks before,” is a) kind of stupid, and b) removes the human element. “I’ve never met a Black person” is not only more grammatically correct, but also FAR more respectful and humanizing. Using an article in front of a group, e.g. “the Blacks,” “the gays,” etc., puts distance in between oneself and that group. They are “other,” and typically anyone who refers to “the Blacks” isn’t doing so in a complimentary way. Again, racist.
- “Why are we protesting the police when Black people are killing each other anyway? Seems counterproductive.” This was a direct quote from a woman who, after my response, now wishes that she had never positioned her fingers on the keyboard to type those words. Suffice it to say that this one burns me, because what she’s really saying is “They’re just going to kill each other anyway, so the police might as well do it, too.” Not only does that make zero sense, but it’s also incredibly rude and born of the erroneous belief that “we’re all the same.” The Black-on-Black crime argument is a white supremacist distraction tactic that has a solid foundation of unintelligence and attempts to take the attention away from the real issues. Let’s break it down in a way that might make sense. While most crimes against Black people are committed by Black people, most crimes against white people are committed by . . . who? That’s right! White people! Criminals exist in every culture, and they’re going to prey on the closest victim. But let’s not focus on the criminals, because I don’t care to consort with them either. Let’s also not focus on Black-on-Black crime. I vote to simply consider it just plain crime. If we’re going to differentiate, let’s focus on the subsets that are rarely brought to justice: White-on-Black crime and especially Blue-on-Black crime, perpetrated by the very people who have been hired to protect and to serve. When police behavior is indiscernible from criminal behavior, we should ALL realize that there’s a faulty process in place. #systemicracism
- “If they followed instructions, maybe they wouldn’t get killed.” Where do I start? Well . . . Breonna Taylor was sleeping in her own home. Also, most of the people who have been shot and killed by police were either committing petty crimes that shouldn’t have warranted drawn guns, or doing absolutely nothing wrong. George Floyd was suspected of passing a fake $20 bill, didn’t resist arrest, and was STILL killed when he should have merely been questioned. Rayshard Brooks was drunk. Have you ever known a drunk person who followed instructions? (That’s right . . . think back to last weekend) Granted, he shouldn’t have been drunk driving, but according to MADD, each day 300,000 people drive drunk. Imagine if they were all killed. And why resist arrest? So, have you SEEN what cops do to Black people who are under arrest? WHO would sign up for that? Especially a drunk person. If you are the sober person in the situation, and a member of law enforcement, it is YOUR JOB to de-escalate the situation and make sure that EVERYONE is safe. (I touched on this in the previous blog. I feel like I’m starting to repeat myself, but apparently repetition is necessary in this case)
- “Blue Lives Matter.” We don’t have anything to discuss. At least nothing you want to hear.
Once again, I hope that helps. Maybe one day I’ll get back to ranting about cooking utensils, crowded parties and people who insist on hugging without permission. Until then, I’ll be getting on everyone’s nerves with these posts until we see true reform. There’s an unsubscribe button here, somewhere . . . #youvebeenwarned