white people, i’m not the right audience for your self-flagellation, your feelings won’t be centered here
By Erin White
September 5, 2017
Personally, I think it’s gross to Snapchat yourself giving money to a homeless person or to document your Christian mission trip on Instagram like it’s a trip to a petting zoo. Likewise with white public self-flagellation in the form of pleading apologies bad to your black friends for systematic racial oppression.
In addition not making any real logical sense, apologizing for the actions of others with profuse apologies to black people over racism in general, is a purely performative act that serves you more than it does us. While white people should be sorry about white supremacy and the privileges they receive from it, that is not a problem for black people to deal with. I’m not your priest and my DMs ain’t a confessional.
When you approach a black friend or stranger to express your guilt and pain over racism, you end up centering yourself as the person most deeply affected by it. You’re so upset about a system designed with your advancement in mind, so shaken by it that you must cry to the people who suffer because of it. Wild.
But the bottom line is, no matter how well-intentioned you are, “Good Whites” finally acknowledging reality, the first thing you need to know is that your black friends aren’t a receptacle for your racial anguish. And when you approach your black friends with your privileged tears, we become responsible for carrying the burden of anti-black racism and your guilty white conscious.
Take accountability without an audience. Stop apologizing for history—make it right instead.
“How can I make it right?” WP too lazy to do the work often ask me what they can do to help. The first thing you can do is stop asking black people for a social justice syllabus. People of the diaspora who have resources about oppression and racial inequality were not given a list in uteru. That shit must be sought out of interest and passion. It takes time and emotional labor. And asking black people to cough up what they worked hard to collect implies that you feel entitled to free black labor. And you not.
If you’re “really sorry”, take it upon yourself to pursue information to help you better understand and unpack racism and intersectionality on your own because you care enough to. Not so a black person can absolve you of your guilt.
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