8.7
June 10, 2020

Repeat After Me: My White Feelings Don’t Matter. Black Lives Matter.

To begin, in part I speak of a desire to move light-skinned people out of complete and utter ignorance, to try and save some humanity, any real awareness we might have left.

I wish for it to be as easy as causing a raucous in the white, ignorant mind.

I hope the result is for any light-skinned person to take a long and private look in the mirror, and stare down the barrel of their privilege—be it subtle or overt.

For the white community to feel in their hands the gun pointed toward our black family. You hold the gun through ignorance, silence, and the acceptance of a system that has held you as superior. Do you choose to drop the weapon? The time for choice is now, and if not, you will never stand with us as human. 

The first piece I wrote on racism was overdue, and as gutting as it is to admit, with good intentions, it centered me. As it was only when something pivotal shifted within that I was able to look and ask myself, “What am I living for?” “What do I stand for?”

(Here is that piece.)

Regarding the above, I wrote it after my first realisation of, “Oh my f*cking god, you have been entirely complicit in racism.” So it is riddled with white guilt and feelings. “Wah wah wah,” as I white write.

Before I get into it, I want to highlight the critical fact that I am not writing this to receive any “pat on the back” response. I am here, as a light-skinned woman, aching for change in the white community. It’s disgusting, the ignorance.

For the first time, I am indeed reeling at staring at my privilege in the face, the discomfort I sit with is so irrevocably irrelevant. Black Lives Matter, so f*ck me and my white feelings. 

I heard it while I was writing: “I, I, I, I, me, me, me.” I heard it, and I knew it. I didn’t understand it yet. At that time, that was all I had to give, and I see that now as inherent white self-importance.

Next thing, I commented on an Instagram post, shuffling around the idea of feeling demonised for not having self-educated and for being silent. I felt this was an excellent conversation to have, as psychologically we bury and ignore shameful feelings. If this was a reason anyone wasn’t speaking up, I wanted to connect with them.

It was grossly ironic. The post was about white people not speaking of Black Lives Matter, but only speaking of their feelings. So obvious and I didn’t even see it—the irony. 

A light-skinned woman, bless her, responded and told me my comment was what the woman of color’s (WOC) point was. She said that the most important thing here is applauding, supporting, centering BIPOC people in whatever way they want or expect us to do. Then we continue to self-educate and learn about our ignorance.

Duh.

I see how ignorant I was—this white self-importance. I reflect on self-work with ego as something separate to anything else in my life, as if she only exists inside of me. Yet when it comes to the conversation of racism, I found myself writing as if I’d discovered something profound, like my apology was necessary.

Surprise, it’s not. Thank god for that Instagram woman: I appreciate you.

The white feelings, ego, praise-me talk when it comes to BLM is absolute nonsense. I asked the question of what has privilege given me—the fact is that it doesn’t matter. In this, what I’ve gained and taken doesn’t make a damn difference to the fact that BIPOC have never received these privileges, nor the fundamental human rights. Therefore, to centre the BIPOC community deems my privilege, my apology irrelevant. I’ve always cringed at “not all white people,” and the point of “reverse racism” makes me livid, yet here I found my crux—as by vocalising my anti-racist stance, I wasn’t centering the black community.

I think there’s an idea in the white community that to advocate for Black Lives Matter, you have to speak up and say something correct or profound. The fact here is that we don’t matter. My sentiments on the matter of race, our opinions, are, correctly so, wildly unimportant.

Wanting other people to turn in their still, racist graves could be again taking away the central importance of BLM, and I do recognise this. It’s a bit of a joke that I’m still here writing about it—but I feel responsible, so I’ll be guilty.

Although I won’t hide from the lurking feeling of, “Who cares about white people?” If you can happily die with no advocacy, and you can sit in your chair living a privileged, ignorant life—get out of our lane. Dear me!

As a white person, I am so over white people. Is that the eye-opening understanding that I need right now? F*ck the white feelings, f*ck the white people? You don’t want to self educate? You don’t want to center BLM? None ya, off you go.

So, in hindsight and forward, maybe screw reaching the white people who don’t care to know. You are not my liability. There are better, more deserving people to promote. Well, perhaps that’s more like it. Hell yeah, that’s more like it.

I can exist in this movement to fill anyone’s feed with the absolute brilliance of historic black pioneers. 

The names Oliver Brown, Bobby William Austin, Inez Beverly Prosser, Mary McLeod Bethune, Stuart Hall, Phillis Wheatley, Malorie Blackman, Gus John, Muhummad Ali, Steve Biko and Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Fred D’Aguiar, Maya Angelou, Frederick Douglass, Oprah Winfrey, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Ali Ibrahim, Farka’ Touré, Wole Soyinka, Bessie Smith, Haile Selassie, Walter Rodney, Rosa Parks, Bob Marley, Nelson Mandela, Kelly Holmes, Marcus Garvey, Toni Morrison, Nanny, William Cuffey, Fannie Lou Hamer, Philip Randolph, Roy Wilkins, and Dorothy Height. I can go on. 

Onward with the pioneers of today: Esmeralda Simmons, Melanie Campbell, James Rucker, Lateefah Simon, Susan Burton, Erika Andiola, Kimberlé Crenshaw, Nihad Awad, Chad Griffin, Ciara Taylor, Johnetta Elzie, Opal Tometi, Patrisse Cullors, Michelle Alexander, Alicia Garza, Van Jones, Tarana Burke, Bryan Stevenson, Laverne Cox, and Jane Elliott. I can again go on. 

Phew! I don’t want to talk anymore. The effect of self-education is universally imperative, but that isn’t everybody’s business. The only option, from here on out, is to share and highlight the work of BIPOC like never before.

Centering BIPOC is the only option now. F*ck your damn Instagram smoothie, your fitness boomerang, and the opposite-of-the-point silly black square—if you even managed to try, Candace.

Black lives matter, not you.

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