i have a lot of messages backed up that i am responding to veeeeery slowly, but i am going to go ahead and address this one ahead of time on its own.
first of all, thank you! i am glad you like my art, and i am glad you think i am a great person. i don’t know about being protected though; i think i would rather learn how to protect myself, first. which is, coincidentally, part of why my instinct is to avoid white people.
i am going to do something i try to never, ever, ever do. i am going to give you some advice. do not tell a Black person that avoiding white people is analagous to “treating people like shit”. do not say that to anyone of color. you do not realize it right now, but that is incredibly condescending and dismissive. people of color have every right to avoid white people, especially if they live in a western/eurocentric country (i can’t speak to the experiences of people living in other countries so i am not going to be a spokesperson on that end; really, i should not be anyone’s spokesperson, but now i am all fired up so *santigold voice* I GOT TO BE UNSTOPPABLE).
especially do not tell a Black person that avoiding white people is “not good” in light of the recent events in Ferguson. or in light of the recent events of the United States in general. or light of the entire history of the United States. or in the context of how power is structured based on race and class in the United States. do not do it.
do not do it.
saying that i am uncomfortable around white people doesn’t do me justice. i am at times fucking terrified by white people. sometimes i fear for the lives of my loved ones because of white people. conversely, my best friend in the whole entire world, who i trust and love dearly and who makes me feel safe, is white. go figure.
i don’t feel the need to confirm or inform or defend my opinions on race, given that i have friends and family who could be gunned down by a white person in the street in broad daylight and somehow be at fault for it when they were literally just walking to the grocery store to buy milk. but here’s a little story to give you some background perspective.
my mom is white. i love my mom. i have a kind of jacked up relationship with my mom, but she is my mom and she loves me and i love her too. i generally want to be a part of my mom’s life.
guess how many times a year i see my mom’s family.
zero. never. i can’t even remember the last time i saw them. i can’t even remember their faces. i don’t even know if half of them are alive anymore.
let me assure you that the reason i don’t see them is not because “they make me uncomfortable”. i am not allowed to see them because my mother married a negro and had dirty little half negro children. i don’t see them because my uncle (on his deathbed) asked my mother if she was still married to a nigger. this man was my flesh and blood. this is a man who i did nothing to, other than exist.
do not expect me to be wholesomely welcoming to white people when even the ones who i am related to do not respect me as a person based on my race and the fact that my existence somehow sullies my mother’s reputation and is a symbol of her biggest mistake.
white people make me uncomfortable because when they do not know i am Black, they treat me with respect, but when they find out i am, they immediately begin speaking in exaggerated ebonics.
white people make me uncomfortable because of fucked up shit like this and the fact that a blog called “every day racism” exists as a space to validate the experiences of people of color.
white people make me uncomfortable because they praise me when they can’t figure out my race.
white people make me uncomfortable because they treat me as a resource or confirmation of their racial opinions and standards, but they will dismiss my opinions and experiences because i am being too sensitive.
white people make me uncomfortable because they say my father’s family must be so proud to have someone who graduated college (when in reality, everyone in my father’s family has a degree of some type).
white people make me uncomfortable because they will be tense when the dark-skinned man is paying for his groceries, but they will relax when they see i am next in line.
white people make me uncomfortable because once, when my 8th grade, 13 year old student was helping me sort and staple pamphlets, i looked at him and realized that people will see this boy as a grown man and be afraid of him and possibly want to hurt him based on his appearance alone, despite the fact that earlier that day he spent the beginning of our class period sulking because his mom refused to drive back to the school to bring him his Very Cool sunglasses and he only cheered up when i told him he was officially banned from standing up during my class because he is 6’2” and i am 5”4’ and i was offended by that fact.
white people make me uncomfortable because another day when that same student did have his sunglasses, i wore them through the entire class period and at the end of our daily 45 minutes together, he very, very gently removed them from my face and said “seeya” before going to English class, but i’m sure that later that day a white person on the street probably saw him wearing those same shades and assumed the chances of him being a drug dealer or a mugger.
white people make me feel uncomfortable because they project their experiences onto me and are offended when i cannot relate or have to explain to them that no, just because they cannot figure out my race, it does not mean that they should automatically assume i am “normal” like them.
white people make me uncomfortable because they feel so egregiously fucking wounded and demand explanations when i allude to feeling unsafe in a roomful of white folks who have liquored up their thoughts and feel much freer to use the vocabulary or say and do the things they would not do in a public setting or in a place where they do not have the excuse of alcohol to get away with things.
white boys in particular make me feel like shit because i have been raised in a culture where i am black and ugly and will never be pretty enough for a white boy unless he feels pity for me.
white people make me uncomfortable because despite my experiences and the experiences of friends, loved ones, and strangers, clearly i am the one at fault for not feeling safe, right? because being cautious is not nice and being wary of white folk is unkind.
no, not every white person is a threat to me. but why should i risk it? why should the “maybe this white person will be nice to me” be enough incentive for me to potentially be harmed physically or psychologically? fuck that. fuck that.
feeling unsafe around a person is not treating them like shit. it’s being aware of your surroundings.