November 20, 2020 | WONDERINGS & CURIOSITIES
ten things we REALLY hate about “you” — a series on what not to do (part two)
“If you don’t live politics, politics will live you.”
— Marlon James, A Brief History of Seven Killings
We are back with part two and not gonna lie, this one is even sassier than the first. You know that feeling of getting angrier and angrier cause you keep thinking about it? And how you start to spiral and get stuck in that negative energy?
Yeah, that’s us.
And we’ve decided to let ourselves spiral and get stuck for a bit, to go all the way through the emotional tunnel (thanks Dr. Emily Nagoski). We can only see and feel the light at the end if we go all the way through. No more toxic positivity’ing our way to a solution or a sense of closure.
So here’s part two of our series on “what not to do” cause — yeah, just don’t:
ONE. Placing diversity of thought above diversity of identity and experiences. There is plenty written about this on the internet — Google it. Don’t hide behind “multiple perspectives” if you can’t get behind lived experiences different from your own.
TWO. Giving us a “good White person” resume run-down — whether you’re White or BIPOC. Nope. Just nope.
THREE. Apologizing with “As Head Honcho Around Here, this is on me and I take full responsibility,” which sounds like White absolution masquerading as White saviorism. The best apology is changed behavior. If you find yourself apologizing, you’re already late. And yes, we’re all imperfect, complex, and messy humans so we will take you at your first, second, third — generations of — apologies, but it’s time we understand the threshold for apology-fatigue.
FOUR. Labeling anything related to DEI as “political” — well, no sh*t. Tell us something we don’t know, such as what you actually mean by political or too political. Are you afraid to rock the boat? Nervous about upsetting White people? Feeling unsupported by leadership? Are you, yourself, afraid to go there? We got news for ya: we are politics; our bodies are politicized; our histories defined politics. Being apolitical is still a political choice.
FIVE. Refusing to acknowledge that meritocracy is not, cannot, and will never be what you think it is. Judging (but really, rewarding) someone by how hard they work or what skills and talents they have is *wait for it* a microaggression rooted in white supremacy. We repeat, meritocracy ≄ fair opportunities based on merits. Meritocracy = unfair opportunities based on power/privilege.
SIX. And doubling down on meritocracy doesn’t make it more inclusive and fair. Sorry dude, adding more salt into an already salty ass soup doesn’t make it taste better.
SEVEN. Refusing to center race and racism, or at least start with race and racism. If you ask for “unconscious/implicit bias” one more time…👊 pow. Here’s the training: your biggest bias centers on race and swings you towards anti-blackness. Got it? Next.
EIGHT. Checking unconscious/implicit bias training off your allyship certificate and thinking you got it. N-O-P-E. You do not got it. Without contextualizing any bias training in historical, sociopolitical, and racialized constructions, your bias awareness remains unanchored to any real experiential and behavioral shifts. Meaning: you’re still intellectualizing this work.
NINE. Describing BIPOC as “minority” in 2020, or ever. White men never get called a “minority-anything” even if they are literally the only White man in the room. BIPOC are the global majority #sorrynotsorry. Even if we make up a smaller demographic percentage, we are anything but minor. Do not underestimate us.
TEN. Connecting back to part one of this series: staying silent on where are you now?
Still with us? Cheers to you!
This is our tougher love for your (un)learning. See? You’re already better at tying your laces and tripping up less — or at least recovering faster.
Our advice this week stays true. Build a habit of being humble learners and listeners. We get asked about the magic solution, the big strategy, the silver-bullet for racism all the time. The truth is, there ain’t one. There are many, and most begin simple (not easy). Build your habits and muscles for anti-racism — one thing at a time.
Something for you to reflect on: are you still intellectualizing why or how racism manifests in your life? If so, how can you de-center thinking (e.g. reading, studying, analyzing) less and re-center experiencing more? What does it feel like in your body, spirit, and relationships for you to dismantle racism?
And remember, we don’t hate you — never you! Not even close, not even a little bit, not even at all.
P.S. ICYMI or just cause — here’s part one.