by Anthony Williams
For a long time I used the popular hashtag, #StopWhitePpl2k15, with a friend on tumblr. Tumblr was a “safe space” for me to write #StopWhitePpl2k15 because my posts fade into the abyss. My public Facebook didn’t feel safe because it would upset the whites who like to challenge factual evidence with hurt white feelings. The whites who choose to live an ahistorical life, projecting their white guilt onto my Black body instead of working to fight the systems that their folks created and that they maintain.
For a long time I would never publicly use the hashtags I created: #NoPinkDick and #TeamNoPinkDick. I would text it to friends or talk about it in person, but only in the last month have I felt comfortable using it on social media. But I mean, gee, what would the whites think? I don’t really care what the whites think, as the whites are the reason for both personal and familial pain: past generational trauma, current interracial trauma, and a current war on Black life.
If you didn’t already catch on…I have a confession, y’all. For a long time I’ve been a white apologist. I am guilty of coddling white people for fear of hurting their feelings and because we live in a white world where Black folks are trained to exist uncomfortably for the sake of white comfort. And in the spirit of playing “devil’s advocate”–which is not actually productive in conversations of life and death–I would defend individual white folk without realizing I was actually justifying systemic racism. The byproduct of a white supremacist world is internalized racism within people of color; young Anthony was unintentionally upholding the very systems the older Anthony seeks to dismantle today.
“Well maybe they didn’t mean it that way, are you sure it was about race?”
Does that sound familiar? I don’t remember ever reaching the Raven hyphen alternative spelling of “Simone” pinnacle of white sympathy, but I made a lot of excuses for the violence known as whiteness. I am done making excuses for white people, as history shows that the oppressed cannot beg the oppressor for their liberation. White feelings will never be more important than Black bodies. Black must continue to confront whiteness rather than running from it.
This is why we must #StopWhitePpl2k15 :
- White people have trouble respecting boundaries (see: world history, interpersonal relationships, and religious indoctrination).
- White people have trouble minding their own business (see: colonialism, war, and anthropology).
- White people have no trouble stealing from other people, including unjustly stealing the lives of other people (see: slave patrols/police officers, music, and fashion).
- White people have trouble shutting up (see: everyday of our Black lives, particularly in the workplace and academia).
- White people have trouble listening to hear rather than listening to respond (see: social media interactions, in-person interactions, and U.S. policy for Black folks & people of color).
Up until a few months ago I held out hope that white people were just like us because we, as human beings, do share over 99% of the same DNA. It was naive of me to think of us as the same, for better or worse, as our socialization has been anything but equal. And with each day I live and each text I read, I question how I can still view the white devil as human while the white devil views me as an animal. To dehumanize us in such a way, the white man must not have a conscience. I don’t hate white people, though, I have much better things to do with my time and energy than perpetuate white logic. I see whiteness with a precision that is not obscured by emotions like Black rage, but clarified by a knowledge of the past and a vision for the future.
Let us not forget that it is the white folks who hunt down and kill Black folks all over the world, not the other way around. We cannot afford to forget that even after centuries of dehumanization, Black people are still the ones portrayed as criminals. Our biggest crime is the crime against ourselves, the crime of not organizing more efficiently to dismantle white supremacy.
Black people would not need to address the social construct of race so frequently if it weren’t for the constant violence that is whiteness. Whiteness is a revisionist project that white people subscribe to, allowing current and past settler colonialism, genocide, and chattel slavery to be written off as necessary “mistakes.” White people have historically had problems making too many “mistakes.” White people need to be stopped. Period.