an open letter to white people who don’t know better -
i’m saying this nicely because you’re lucky and because i feel like it. don’t feel entitled.
i’m tired of white people getting their eyebrows all knitted up and bothered when they assume i identify as white and then get all sorts of flustered when i gently, politely correct them. this bothers me for a bunch of reasons, some of which i will tell you about.
- you clearly don’t appreciate how much of a pain in the ass it is for me to gently, politely correct you every goddamn time if you immediately turn into a stuttery mess and then i feel obligated, as the nice southern lady i am, to reassure you that it’s okay, we’re still friends, i’m not going to punch you out…unless you keep talking.
- i know that you’re mostly upset because you think it’s okay to say slightly racist things with your white friends, and right now you’re trying to figure out if you said anything racist to me in front of me
- which leads you to blurt out a really rudely phrased question after you can’t figure out what race i am
- which makes me try real hard not to punch you, which makes me feel guilty, and you feel vindicated.
I’m going to preface - I am a light skinned mixed race southern lady who identifies as a person of color. I hear a lot of casual racism and microaggressions directed all over the place. I directly benefit from systems of white supremacy when i ‘pass’ and there is a very, very, very blatant change in treatment when i don’t. I have race detectives on my ass daily, strangers who think it is okay to come up to me in public and ask me 20 questions about my goddamn ethnic make up. read: are you white? why aren’t you white? don’t you know you could probably been seen as white if you try harder? are you sure you’re not white? i am not trying to take the spotlight off of the suffering of anyone else or compare oppressions, but i feel like there aren’t very many mixed race rants, and this is my blog, and i have had enough of this bullshit.
similar to my sexual orientation, assigned sex, relationship status, favorite color, breakfast, and marital status, my race and ethnic identity is NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS. if i don’t know you, i do not have any goddamn reason to do anything other than smile, let you know what time it is, comment on the weather, or tell you your shoes are enviable. personal questions are not on the table. race detectives, i don’t know where you found your manners, but i will lose mine in the same place if i ever have to deal with another one of you misguided souls again. consider this a warning.
assuming you get past the initial step of being a human, the next pitfall when dealing with this light skinned poc is assuming that i don’t feel slighted by the same bullshit racism that ‘real’ brown people feel. why yes, i am suceptible to bullshit ideas about race, failing in battling white supremacy, and general douchey behavior. yes, if you call my cousins ‘spics’ i will have to try real hard not to tear you a new one. light does not equal white. i was raised in the same cultural system as my darker skinned family. the same blood is in my veins. similar socialization took place in my formative years. if you say racist shit, it hurts. i’m not going to laugh. don’t you dare look at me expectantly.
the next pitfall when dealing with this light skinned poc is similar to a pitfall that occurs when dealing with any kind of poc - expecting me to be able to speak for everyone. what the fuck, people. i don’t know jack shit about what it’s like to be black, or asian, or dark skinned, or from the North. Similarly, don’t put me up on a pedestal. it’s not my job to be sassy brown friend. i’m not going to curl and grease your hair, we’re not going to ride in daddy’s pick up truck to pick up cute hispanic boys. i mean, look at me. i’m a nerd. i wear glasses. i work at 8 am in the morning. c’mon. can we just go to the library?
the last thing that i feel like blogging about tonight is - being brown is only one part of my identity. you can’t assume jack shit about what my brown narrative has been like, in part because it was crucially intersected by my unavoidable, flag waving, profesh activist QUEERNESS.
so stop. just stop. and next time you’re trying to tokenize me as your one brown friend, because, in your own words, you don’t have any goddamn brown friends, take a minute. ask yourself.
why don’t you have any brown friends?
and educate yr own goddamn self.