A recurrent theme I see popping up in discussions of race is “hating whitey.” And just to make it perfectly clear, I think that most people of color don’t hate whitey.
We hate privilege. We hate oppression. We hate all the damage that has been done to our communities as a result of racism and hatred. We hate being told that our words have no meaning. We hate having our opinions discounted.
If you’re white, try to disentangle what we are saying about whiteness and white privilege from your hurt feelings. If you’re white, try to understand that there may be something that you are just not understanding quite yet.
I don’t want to hear about all your friends of color. I don’t want you to tell me how much you know about Asian Americans. I could care less whether or not you speak the language fluently or majored in Asian studies in college. Or if you lived in Japan or Beijing for one or five or ten years or if you traveled extensively throughout Asia. Don’t tell me about your best friend who is Asian. And don’t tell me about your Asian wife or your adopted Asian kids. Because frankly none of this means anything if you did not look at whiteness in addition to Asianness.
If you want to proclaim yourself my ally, you must show it in your actions. Your words mean nothing, especially if you are using your privilege to steamroll over the voices of people of color. If you have some understanding, perhaps sometimes you would be silent.
I hate the way white people use their privilege without even being aware of it. But some of my best friends are white. ;-)
Inspired by comments on this thread (thanks A.)