there’s this perpetual meta conversation about what white people should/shouldn’t talk about in debunkingwhite.
starting with these basics:
1) get r = p + p. don’t make debunkingwhite rehash this again.
2) get the fact that you have white privilege.
3) stop reacting immediately when called on your white privilege. you will not learn about your white privilege if you shy away from looking at it.
4) don’t focus on yourself all the time. and when you do notice you’re focused on yourself, try to find the focus that was there before you started to navel-gaze.
then you will probably manage something productive.
some models and anti-models:
- “I am very afraid that I am showing my ass here, so please feel free to tell me if I am.” not perfect, but the rest of the post centers on the situation not the person presenting.
- “Please don’t rip me a new asshole.” “I am afraid” “I worry” if you deserve criticism, then you deserve criticism. stop trying to head it off.
“If this is me overstepping my boundaries and acting white privileged, just tell me to shut up.” this is taking the wrong message from “shut up and listen”. and it’s a misdirection thing – because telling you to shut up is the wrong response to oversteps. the correct response to overstepping would be to tell someone where the over is.
“Although there are many white people who want to do this, the members of this community probably don’t. In fact, we want the exact opposite.” this is handing out cookies to the white people. & the fact is that, if you’re white, you do what most white people do. maybe to a lesser degree, but you probably do. it’s just very hard for you to notice it. and even then it’s not about 100% applicability to you. it’s about the whiteness that is culturally maintained and the whiteness you’re immersed in. trying to separate yourself from your white culture is an attempt to evade your responsibility to white privilege. it’s a declaration that you’re a special snowflake – and no one is that special. a variation of this is the “i’m not like those white people” thing. so? what does that achieve other than comparing your behavior to someone else’s bad behavior?
“It’s tempting to do a ‘things I’ve actually done right about racism’ post…like the ‘dumbass’ posts, but that could devolve sooooo easily into pats and cookies.”
both the “things i’ve done right” and “things i’ve done wrong” post will slip into cookies. not understanding this is one of the main problems. the question is: “what to do when the cookies come out?” the question is not ”if”. can you then refocus on the original topic? than you then redirect to a solution or at least some mitigation?
white people invariable get into “i hear your pain” when talking to other white people about racism. understanding that pain as a barrier is useful, but shepherding the conversation away from “my pain let me show you!” and “meeeee toooo” is necessary.
“You know, restricting our sharing to specific instances when people ask, or when we can share labor or knowledge without putting the emphasis on the fact that we, white people, are doing it. You know, trying not to make it all about ourselves.” this goes in the right direction. there’s a complicated point that it does matter that white person is doing something because there’s a difference between when a poc does something in the areas of race relations and when a white person does it. the focus on that difference is hard to maintain, and losing that focus lets the focus drifts to white person did such and thus.
annwfyn here manages to talk about what they did wrong. and what they did was very cringe worthy. but they didn’t seek absolution. nor did they seek protection from criticism. and they shared they figured out so far. (the alternate thing to do is ask for explanations of what was wrong.)
[non-answers to questions asked of white people] – this is what tells me a lot of this isn’t about sharing white experiences of racism so much as it is about white people sharing only what they want to share – only the stuff that isn’t too uncomfortable. despite the need to look closely at things that make white people squirm.
- peter k, debunkingwhite
- To Privileged People Who Went Through Bad Things
- More on the “10 Conversations On Racism I’m Sick Of Having With White People”
- A Tragedy, Not A Token: To #Occupy and White Liberals/Radicals
- Dear Angry White People, Get Over Yourselves
- Let’s Say, Hypothetically, that Racism Toward White People is Possible…