I try to keep this blog as meta-free as possible, and by that I mean I try to avoid a lot of talk about me and my personal feelings or just random dealings regarding the blog. Whether or not I’m successful is another story. But I felt the need to address a particular issue that comes up regularly in the comments I don’t approve due to overwhelming ignorance on the commenter’s part. Namely, that I generalize white people, and that’s racist. Here’s a particularly choice comment I received on my last post, “Why I’m An Angry Black Woman“:
Apparently racist white woman
Submitted on 2010/06/18 at 1:28am
You are completely blind to your own racism. By lumping ALL whites in one category of stupid racist crackers you commit the same offense of which all whites are supposedly guilty. But that’s ok, because ONLY whites are capable of racism. And anytime a white person criticizes a person of color it’s not because they may have a legitimate complaint it’s because they’re racist. Because blacks never do anything worthy of criticism. Fuck you.
First off, there’s the issue of improper application of the term “racism”. Then there’s the fact that referring to white people in general is not “lumping all whites in one category of stupid racist crackers”. Guess what, if what I’m saying about white people doesn’t apply to you, a white person, then it’s not about you. But if you’re getting all upset about it, chances are it probably is about you and you need to go sit in the corner and think about what I said. Furthermore, all white people benefit from the institutionalized racism that pervades our society, so the question is are you going to sit there and whine that I’m generalizing white people or are you going to take a second, breathe, and start unpacking that privilege before going off on the ignorant black girl lumping all white people into the category of stupid racist crackers? And as far as that epithet, I didn’t call anyone a stupid racist cracker, but thanks for doing it for me.
Mixed up in that comment is another common complaint I get, which is that white people can’t criticize a person of color without being called racist. This is, of course, horseshit. If you get called racist by a person of color when criticizing other people of color, it’s likely that — guess what? — you’re being racist. As a white person, you need to listen to PoC when they’re telling you something is racist, including something you said. But if you were really interested in dealing with your own internalized racism I wouldn’t have to point this out to you. Basically you’re just angry because you can’t say whatever ignorant thing pops into your head regarding PoC.
There’s a difference between a white person generalizing about people of color and a person of color talking about white people in general especially when we’re talking about power, privilege and the exercise of such. If you can’t distinguish between the two, I’m not going to hold your hand and walk you through it. I’m also not going to apologize for not qualifying my statements with “well not all white people do this”. So if you have a comment to make that involves calling me racist for referring to white people in general you can just go write a zine about it, because it’s going straight into the spam queue, point blank.
Hope that helps!