Why We Don’t Give AF
Why We Don’t Give AF
So many white people love to lie, tell us to calm down, hurl MLK quotes at us, and ignore anything else. But they expect us to give them a chance, have a dialogue, speak nicely, etc. What they can’t seem to grasp is that dealing microaggressions over the course of our lives, seeing continued harm inflicted while white people sing “both sides”, leaves many of us saying aloud or mentally, “Idgaf”.
This government and it’s various branches, from education, to incarceration to being the “long arm of the law” are filled with racist, sexist, transphobic, xenophobic people peddling the interests of the elite and wealthy and this group primarily consists of white people. The reason greater strides have not been made is that they give the bare minimum of changes that can easily be dismantled later, as we are witnessing now.
The United States loves to move while remaining in place.
I was shopping in the supermarket. Now that the area is gentrified there has been an increase of white people and, by consequence whiteness and all the annoyance that entails. I was pushing a cart nearing the end of the aisle and a white woman rounded the corner coming toward me. Unfortunately, this particular section of the aisle was no longer two-lane because there was a freezer to the right of my cart and maybe a few inches of space on the left. So I would either have to back up a few feet or she would have to sidestep to the front of the freezer until I moved past.
I was not moving as I was already near the end of the aisle. She realized I would not be backing up for her so she did, literally, what the United States does figuratively; she moved while still obstructing my path. She sidestepped enough so she was blocking about half my cart, so I would still have to try and shift my cart to the left to go around her. Moving while remaining an obstacle.
What the people in the United States need to do, when confronted with these situations, is respond in a way that clearly states there is no negotiating. I shoved my cart forward which conveyed to her that, if she did not move, she would be hit with the cart. So she moved aside. Of course, she gasped in shock, then mumbled under her breath once she could walk past, and though I couldn’t hear exactly what she said, she heard my response cause it was loud, angry and full of curses.
You Always Want…
Until a demonstrable change is seen in all facets of our lives — from the moment we turn on our television, to when we go shopping, to work — we are done.
We are done with half-assed attempts at equality. We are done with half-assed attempts at accountability. White America has failed so consistently and for so long, many of us are at the point where our tolerance for white people in any of our spaces is nonexistent.
Naturally, there are exceptions for people we know who actively engage their whiteness, take steps to use their privilege to mitigate the harm marginalized communities experience. But people we don’t know or who have a spotty record, we are not in a frame of mind to give a “chance”. Because that chance prizes their redemptive opportunity over the trauma they have inflicted and will likely continue to inflict.
Nor are we in the mood to watch the latest movie or series with the quirky white girl, who is alternative and loves vinyl. We are not interested in seeing shows that have a white lead and a Black/Latinx/Indigenous best friend or love interest, nor in the reverse where there is a Black/Latinx/Indigenous lead, but they must have a white best friend or love interest. We are not interested in seeing a film about our lives that is written or directed by a white person. You’ve told our stories — when you’ve deigned to notice us — and all it resulted in was caricatures of our characters, stereotypes, and commodification of our culture.
It’s Not Fair
“But you can write about white people?!” YES! Because we are entrenched in a white society that expects and forces assimilation. We’ve grown up dealing with white teachers, dealing with white bosses, and dealing with white managers. That’s why our language changes when we deal with white people or locations of whiteness. The first time my professor heard me in the hall, chatting with my friends, he was shocked, both at my words and how loud I was.
Equality and equity is not the same. It’s not acceptable to see white authors get advances at least 3 times larger than other authors, especially when they are telling a story with our life and culture through their white perspective.
So, when there is a film that has a white writer — expect our side-eye. When there is a white writer that “studied about X race/ethnicity/sexuality” — expect our side-eye. When there is a white person in the mix — expect our side-eye.
We are not interested in working jointly at the forefront. We need you to step aside and let us take the lead.