Calling out one racist doesn’t make white people any less complicit in supremacy

I always knew that I was black, but I did not begin to understand what it meant to be black until it was demonstrated to me: when I was nine years old, a white teacher called me “pretty for a black girl” as if she were talking about the quality of fresh tomatoes in February.

I didn’t tell my white parents, who had adopted me and chose to raise me in an all-white town, because why would I? What would they know? How could they help? They thought the world was changing and they fought for all the right things, but we never talked about race, so I didn’t think to tell them when a teacher made sure I knew that being black made me less-than.

There’s a special kind of anxiety and rage and resentment that comes with discovering your racial identity through the default lens of racism, and without the support and refuge of a shared community vernacular. Folks who see you, recognize your skin, give length to your cultural narrative, exist under and within that space W.E.B. Du Bois wrote of, behind the veil…

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  • Drunk_by_Noon

    The comments section is a sea of these:

    “This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our community standards. Replies may also be deleted.
    For more detail see our FAQs.”

    I don’t think they really want a conversation on race.

  • Justin

    I’m an Ashkenazi Jew who grew up in an Asian neighbourhood. My Asian friends made plenty of racist remarks about me for being white, and I had some white people make nasty comments about me being Jewish.

    Yes, some people suck…..stop with the pity party and non-stop complaining. Non-whites aren’t the only people who experience racism. Get over yourself.

  • Justin

    Oh, and an East Indian friend of mine said, “At first I thought you were a geek because you’re white, but you’re actually pretty cool.”

    I didn’t run home to mommy balling my eyes out.

  • Martin B

    Get a load of the gratitude for the “white parents” who adopted her and cared for her instead of leaving her in the ghetto to get shot in the head by one of her black brothas.

    • Petey

      When I read it it comes off more as generational, the millenial it’s all about me thing, than racism here. The looming global civil wars against Islam will clarify these poor young people’s thinking tremendously.

      • Drunk_by_Noon

        Oh no, I read that article and concluded that it was straight-up black racism.
        She just hates White people and her mind will never be clarified as she already identifies more with the Muslims anyways.
        Lost soul… NEXT!

  • bobo

    Being white in the west is the new apartheid.

  • pdxnag

    When a black man calls out a non-racist black man — like Justice Clarence Thomas — this does not mean that all blacks are non-racist. (Wait, I think I got the logic all mixed up here.)

  • Sharkibark

    Forgive me if I don’t sound as sympathetic to the poor girl’s plight as I should be. I’m quite sure she would have been much happier as the child of a poor single mom, born out of wedlock or into a drug addicted family. Maybe her black parents were awesome, maybe not but those racists terrible people who adopted her were so racist they didn’t talk about it… nor did anyone else in the town until one person when she was 9 told her she was pretty.
    Forgive me again if I think her anger and resentment probably didn’t start until she attended a liberal arts college (that her racist white parents paid for) and was finally told that she was a victim – who then conveniently remembered the 4th grade teacher who told her she looked pretty “for a black girl.”

  • Justin St.Denis

    These people make my head explode into a million pieces accompanied by a soundtrack of Jimi Hendrix guitar solos. Not nice.

  • winniec

    There is no right of never having our feelings hurt. Learn to stand up for yourself politely and firmly.

  • People who choose to make race an issue choose to be miserable.

    Yes, sadly, racism exits and will not go away. It is something a society must deal with in every era. That being said, try being an Asian in a black neighbourhood in post-modern America or a black person prior to the fifteenth amendment or a Jew in Europe. Then one can tell me how much life sucks.

    • Alain

      I suggest that far too many nowadays confuse the natural human tendency of preferring the company of one’s own kind to racism. The fact that I prefer to associate with those who share mostly the same values and interests does not make me racist. I should point out that those who share my values and interests are not always of the same colour, and frankly who really cares. I admit to having nothing in common with ghetto thugs and have no interest in learning about them and am aware that there are blacks who feel the same way. Frankly I have no tolerance and refuse to accept the race blame game.

      • I suggest that people are taught to see offense where there is none and to trump up tribalism wherever possible.

        Chances are anyone of any stripe will prefer to be in the company of those who have something in common with them. That’s human nature. Nothing new here.

      • Sharkibark

        You’re absolutely right, Alain. I like roast beef, bacon, 90’s prog rock, 80’s metal and cats. ( I really like cats!!! They are AWESOME!!! And Bacon.) 😛 It’s not that we can’t all get along (most reasonable people can….) but why would I be BFF’s with someone I have little in common with? It’s not racist – it’s your grandma’s common sense.

  • DVult

    Try being in a group of people who all have something to whine and complain about except you. It is us oppression challenged who really have it tough.

    • Nan

      Thread winner! I, too, identify as oppression challenged.

      • Sharkibark

        Racist! Plus Hitler. I win. 😛 (Oh I’m kidding 😛 )

        • Nan

          No worries. I once told a conservative black woman in a combox that she suffers from white privilege. I thought everybody knew that being conservative canceled the blackness.