100 Ways White People Can Make Life Less Frustrating For People of Color: A Response

So, this article has been floating around. And I’ve been dead for a while, so why not spend two hours writing responses to this nonsense in the hopes that some white guilt-ridden 20-something will stumble across this instead and maybe not be riddled with self-hatred. Don’t worry, man, I’m a black woman. You can listen to my dissenting opinion without feeling dirty.


 

As someone with very low tolerance for racist bullshit, I’ve managed to surround myself with white people who are cognizant of their privilege and strive to make the world a less terrifying and frustrating place for people of color. This means that I often deal with said white people asking me what they can actually do to affect change.

You’d think someone with a low tolerance for racist bullshit would know when they were being unduly prejudiced against a group based upon race, but that observation skill is a one-way mirror, apparently.  That second part sounds really fucking awful. How low does your self-esteem have to be for your preferable company to be comprised of people who suck your metaphorical dick and think you’re wise and inspirational just for existing with a skin tone?

“What can we do, Vice journalist Kesiena Boom, to make your life more beautiful? What knowledge do you have to bless us lowly melanin-deficient scum with today?! Truly, just a spark of that raging inferno of insight existing within you would be enough to make my meager body alight with righteousness!”

So here, anxious allies of the world, are 100 simple ways to be the change. It’s not nearly comprehensive, but it’s somewhere to start. Go forth and disrupt our harmful racial paradigm!

When you have to describe your own allies as anxious because they’re so openly scared of doing something wrong around you, you’re probably a shitty ally to them. I guess I’m just in the wrong for thinking that allyship was supposed to be a two-way street. “Yes, go forth and disrupt the harmful racial paradigm!” said the person who divides the world into White People and Other as a means of determining who gets what treatment and who gets certain rules applied to them. That’s not a paradigm at all!


 

1. Just because you can’t see racism around you doesn’t mean it’s not happening. Trust people of color’s assessment of a situation.

How can this not just as easily be applied to white people saying that they’ve experience racial discrimination? Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not happening. You have to trust their assessment and their unique perspective.

We don’t do this for anyone else. If Kathy was abandoned by her dad at age 10 and then goes on to have abandonment issues with every guy she dates, we don’t then take Kathy’s word for it when she says her new boyfriend Dan not picking up his phone immediately when she calls him means he’s a cheating scumbag. That’s Kathy’s honest assessment of the situation, but it can be wrong, you know? Kathy having bad experiences in the past doesn’t mean she’s right on the money every time she thinks that’s what’s happening. People get that. But a POC maybe being mistaken about the racial overtones of an interaction or an event? Heavens no! There’s no need to ask any questions or require any clarifications when a black person thinks racism is afoot!

2. Don’t assume that all people of color share the same views. We are not a monolith.

Said the person who compiled a list of things that apparently all POC want all white people to do.

Said the person who also likes surrounding herself with white people who treat her as the voice of black opinion and black wokeness.

3. Don’t assume or guess people’s races. This is NOT a fun game for us.

Speak for yourself. I have a Racially Ambiguous Bingo game going. I just need to wear a headscarf for like a day, then I’ll sweep the fucking board! No one shall defeat me! Quick question: Are POC also not allowed to guess people’s races, or is this just a rule white people have to follow?

I also want to point out that one number down from “We are not a monolith” is this author using the royal Us to refer to the opinion of an entire group of people. An opinion that this brown person doesn’t agree with, shock of all shocks. It’s almost like claims of not being a monolith only apply to opinions she doesn’t mind brown people differing on. All the important stuff–like how annoying those white bastards are–is something we can all agree on.

4. If someone tells you they’re from Uganda, don’t say, “I went to Nigeria once!” Just, please.

Don’t ever leave the United States, hon. You’ll get a lot of “You’re from Tennessee! I went to California once!” conversation starters. International ignorance is not just a white people thing.

5. Related: Don’t refer to Africa as a country. It’s a continent and it’s wildly varied. Yes. Take a moment.

Who does this besides people who are stupid and don’t know the difference between countries and continents? Also, once again, don’t ever leave the United States. The USA and its culture is alternatively “Texas” or “New York City” and nothing else as far as most people abroad are concerned. It’s almost like people who aren’t from a place and who have no practical reason to know the slightest amount of information about it are prone to over-generalization or something. Hey, Kesiena, tell me about all the varied cultures and goings on of the UK. It’s an island made up of very separate and distinctive peoples, you know?

6. Oh, and rest assured that literally no person of color ever wants you to get back from holiday, show off your tan and excitedly exclaim, “Look, I’m almost as dark as you!” Cease and desist.

You know, I was expecting this list of Things That Would Make My Life Easier to be a little more substantive. I guess not having to spend two seconds hearing a stupid joke doesn’t not not make my life less frustrating.

7. Don’t assume that a person of color knows everything about their country of heritage. Do you know everything there is to know about America? Germany? Sweden? That’s what I thought.

But you’re being low-key oppressive if you don’t know enough about the geography of countries you have no connection to, whitey! Break out that Atlas and get to studying that basic knowledge your American public school education denied you or you’re raaaaaaaacist.

8. Don’t assume we can run if we’re Black, do math if we’re Asian, have drinking problems if we’re indigenous…

DO assume that we’re all oppressed and unhappy, though. Also, assuming that someone is racist because they’re white is fine. Stereotypes are fun.

9. Regard us as autonomous, unique individuals, not as representatives of our race.

I refer you to my response to Point Number 2.

10. Don’t make embarrassing jokes to try and be “down” with people of color. We’ll laugh at you, not with you.

Embarrassing jokes are lame on their own, not white people making embarrassing jokes specifically. What, is an Asian kid allowed to be cringey as fuck without you putting his cringe on a list of things that make your life hard? What’s with the unnecessary racial delineations?

11. Don’t rinse our culturally specific memes. They’re ours. Go enjoy that weird one about the plums.

Aw, cultural appropriation. The “Get off my lawn!” of sociology. Segregating cultures is great. Separate but equal, right?

12. If you’re at my house party, don’t turn off the Weeknd to put on Arctic Monkeys. (Okay this one is very specific but it happened to me once and I’m not over it. The audacity!)

I love the Arctic Monkeys. They brought back garage rock in a time that desperately needed it. Way to assume that no brown person likes garage rock, Kesiena, ya racist. Just for that, I’m going to listen to Suck It And See for the rest of this writing sesh.

The Weeknd is amazing when he’s channeling the 80s and just really boring when he does anything else.

13. Avoid phrases like “But I have a Black friend! I can’t be racist!” You know that’s BS as well as we do.

Aw, Kesiena, that probably broke all your sycophantic white friends’ hearts.

14. When you endlessly complain about how terrible white people are, you are being that terrible white person. Jeez.

Wow. It’s damned if you do, damned if you don’t here, isn’t it? “Why can’t white people be more openly cognizant of how bad they are? What, this white person is being openly cognizant of how bad white people are! Aren’t they just the worst.”

This is why Trump won.

15. Don’t say shit like, “I know what it’s like to be a person of color…I’m a ginger!”

HEY. That’s their word.

16. Don’t question someone’s Blackness if they’re light-skinned. It’s not your place. Other Black people can make sure that light-skinned Black people are cognizant of their privilege.

So they’re not even allowed to tell a privileged person to check their privilege if the person in question is slightly tanner than them? The fact that any white people support this movement where they’re seen as a perpetual nuisance even if they do everything you want them to is amazing to me. The amount of self-hatred rivals Kesiena’s self-esteem issues.

I love how this reasoning is pretty much: “Only Black people can question other Black people’s Blackness, not you!”

17. Never try and tell a person of color what is or isn’t racist.

“That cop who gave me a ticket for punting a toddler through a plate glass window was being racist!”

“DeAndre, I don’t think getting a ticket when you’re actually doing something wrong is rac–.”

“HOW DARE YOU QUESTION ME.”

18. When you find instances of racist bullshit online, please don’t send it to us. We know racism exists, thanks.

But if you don’t do what you can to spread the word about racist occurrences, you’re being a bad ally.

19. Read something already written about it rather than coming to your friends/acquaintances of color looking for hot takes on anything and everything appropriative a Kardashian/Miley Cyrus does. We don’t wanna think about this shit 24/7!

Holy shit! The Kardashians are vaguely brown, and this article mentions them as people who can do wrong! Oh brave wonders! I have serious trouble believing that you don’t want to think about this shit 24/7. This is like a Buzzfeed writer saying they don’t want to think about things only 90s kids remember 24/7. I don’t believe you.

20. Understand that some days are even more mentally exhausting for people of color thanks to the news cycle. Try not to badger us for our opinions on the latest atrocity that has occurred. Leave us to grieve.

$20 bucks says the next point is about how you’re racist if you don’t want their opinion on the matter.

21. But when we do have something to say about it, listen.

BOOM.

22. Share articles relating to the everyday experiences of race and racism written by people of color.

But I thought they weren’t supposed to share racism-related things with you because you knew already? Did you just forget writing that point?

23. But don’t be that person who is weird and sycophantic and loves to demonstrate their wokeness constantly to the people of color around them. Be thoughtful.

I refer you to the preamble of this piece, wherein Kesiena says she only hangs out with white people who frequently go to her as a source of wokeness.

You have to openly care about the trials of POC and support us and empower us. But not too much, because then you’re a sycophant, and that’s laaaaaame.

“‘Oh, what the hell,’ she said. ‘I just can’t win for losing.’ And she laid back down . . .” Oh my God, I’m a brown person who just quoted an early 2000s Rob Thomas song. That probably gave Kesiena an minor stroke.

24. Read books by people of color. I recommend Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde, The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander and literally everything that Junot Diaz writes for great insights into Blackness.

I believe I’ve said this before, but I’m a black writer. Don’t read my works just because I’m black, you patronizing, condescending assholes. Read my books because they’re interesting to you, or not at all. Soapbox: Done.

25. Watch shows that are created by people of color i.e. Atlanta or Insecure. (Seriously, if you haven’t seen Atlanta, you need to watch it. Now.)

Ew. Now I feel dirty for liking a show that this person likes. I guess I’ll edit this point to be more appropriate.

25. Watch shows that are created by talented people i. e. Atlanta on FXX or Happy! on Syfy (where Elliot Stabler and a unicorn voiced by Patton Oswalt hunt for serial killers on Christmas).

26. Have a critical eye when watching TV and movies. How are they portraying people of color and why? What purpose does it serve?

I bet you’re the kind of person who wonders why black people don’t get cast more. Hint: They’re not going to hire someone who is perpetually followed around by think pieces attacking the career and moral character of everyone involved.

27. If you go to an art gallery, notice how many works are by people of color. If it’s lacking, make some noise, send an email, query the curator. White people shouldn’t have a monopoly on what can be considered art.

Fuck appreciating the art that’s actually there! It was made by whiiiiite people *hiiiiiiiiisssss*

How would you even do this? I have a pretty white-sounding given name, so how would you even be able to tell that I was indeed an artist of a more acceptable skin tone when all you have is the art and my name attached to it? I guess that would force you to judge the value and merit of something based on its actual content and not the skin tone of who made it, though. Must be hard.

28. If a character you assumed was white in a book is portrayed by an actor of color in the movie, embrace it. Whiteness is not the default.

Unless that character explicitly was white, in which case they were race-lifted for no reason, but that’s still also okay, because diversity.

Hey, Kesiena, can we do an American remake of a K-drama and recast them as non-Asian? Is that okay? Korean is not the default, after all. Is it okay as long as they’re recast as non-Asian but also non-white? If so, you have a double standard on your hands that bears addressing.

29. Support plays written by and acted in by people of color. The world of theater is overwhelmingly white.

“Support plays written by and acted in by white people. The world of theater is overwhelmingly black.”

“Support films written by and acted in by black people. The world of film is overwhelmingly Jewish.”

“Support book written and published by men. The world of literature is overwhelmingly female.”

“Support films written and acted in by conservatives. The world of film is overwhelmingly liberal.”

“Support hip-hop written and produced by Jews. The world of rap is overwhelmingly black.”

“Support cartoons written and published by white people. The world of animation is overwhelmingly Asian.”

Which of these are problematic, and which aren’t? $50 goes to the winner!

30. Refuse to go to club nights or drag shows or burlesque nights that use culturally appropriative acts.

How dare those places try to be interesting by putting other cultures into the act! Don’t they know cultures are supposed to stay separate and unchanged by outside influence or incorporation–there have been multiple points on that topic by now!

This is also very indicative of the kind of crowd Kesiena is going for. Hey, working class father of four living off of food stamps and still struggling to make ends meet after the power company laid off 200 workers from your sector, stop going to drag shows where Trina Fabulous wears a kimono in one dance number.

31. If you have kids, buy them dolls of color and books with characters of color.

What if the kids don’t want those? If they want those things, sure, buy them. But am I just weird for being under the impression that you ask kids what items they want before you get them? I guess you can awkwardly force your racial views into Christmas gifts if you want, but that makes you a cringey parent.

32. Support crowdfunding campaigns for cultural products created by people of color if you can.

What if it’s a person of color who isn’t making a cultural product? Can they just go fuck off? What if it’s a cultural product made by someone who isn’t a person of color? Well, I already know what you think about that. Appropriation REEEEEEEEEEEEE.

33. Donate money to grassroots movements around you that are run by and support people of color.

This is actually a really fucked up point, the more you think about it. By all means, donate to local grassroots movements that do good work in your area. They could usually use the help. But why are you relegating them to movements run by non-white people/only helping non-white people?

Yeah, I know you started up a literacy program to fight this county’s staggering drop-out and illiteracy rates, but you’re a white guy, so . . .

Yeah, sure, you started up a food program to help impoverished children have lunch in the summer time when food stamps aren’t enough to provide more than two meals a day, but you’re helping mainly white kids, so . . .

That’s fucked up, Kesiena.

34. Support small businesses owned by people of color.

That struggling small business down the street floundering in its attempts to compete with mass merchandisers like Wal-Mart, though? Are they white? FUCK ‘EM.

35. If you’re upper or middle class try to avoid moving into an area that has historically been populated by low-income people of color. Gentrification tears communities apart.

They can move into areas that have been historically populated by low-income white people, though. That gentrification is fine. No white people got priced out of Nashville or Albuquerque once the hipsters started moving in.

36. Don’t assume people of color can’t speak English.

If you’re one of those liberals who thinks we should have open boarders and no language-learning requirements (as I can only assume you are), you can’t also get pissed off by people assuming that someone who looks and sounds like they’re from Mexico maybe doesn’t speak English.

37. But also be patient if our English isn’t perfect. Are you bi/tri/multi-lingual? Probably not. It’s hard.

Hey! A point I actually agree with! One for thirty-seven, I guess.

38. In general, just don’t assume we want to be white or want to assimilate. And don’t pressure us to do so.

This is just a double standard. I think Dan Harmon’s Community explained it best: Why does X have to accommodate and support Y being special and different, otherwise X is a bad person, but Y doesn’t have to do anything to accommodate the feelings and comfort level of X in return?

39. Recognize that you can’t assume someone’s religion based on how they look. Not all South Asians and Middle Eastern people are Muslims, not all Black people are Christian, not all East Asian people are Buddhist. You get the idea.

Hey! Another point I agree with! And so close to the other one, too, We’re on a roll, Kesiena!

40. Remember that not all people of color are straight.

Hey, we’re getting into the intersectionality clusterfuck now! Who wants to bet the next point is one that totally ignores the comparatively higher levels of homophobia/transphobia found in racial and ethnic sub-communities such as African Americans?

41. Remember that people of color are not inherently more homophobic than white people.

Called it!

42. People can be Black and gay and disabled and trans and middle class. Blackness is expansive. It doesn’t look one way. Keep this in mind.

Blackness is expansive! It encompasses all the disabilities! *laughs hysterically*

 

43. When we talk about race, we’re not just talking about men! Repeat after me: Intersections of race and gender exist.

I am a strong, independent black woman who don’t need no man. Mmmmm hhmmm.

Hey, Kesiena, you want to talk about how almost 99% of black people killed by cops are men? Men’s rights? What’s that?!

44. Remember that it is Black women and Native women and mixed race women who are most likely to be raped in their lifetimes in America. You cannot be an advocate against sexual violence without considering the impact of race.

I . . . think you can, but okay. Needlessly racializing rape like that’s going to improve local police department funding for rape kits seems like you’re losing track of the plot, but you do you, boo.

45. Don’t ask Black women if it’s our “real hair.” And don’t judge Black women for wearing wigs or weaves or having relaxers.

But they’re appropriating Europe and Asia, Kesiena. How dare they. Why can’t people ask us if it’s our real hair? People aren’t allowed to ask benign questions about hair care now? Also, way to juxtapose women being raped with . . . being slightly annoyed about questions about hair texture. Those are equivalent.

46. Don’t touch our fucking hair.

I’m starting to believe that this doesn’t actually happen that much outside of the lunch line in elementary school. I lived in Japan for a while. People were way more interested in touching my hair over there. Were they being racist? Or does their Asian-ness save them?

47. If you have a Black girlfriend, please make sure that your shower is always adequately stocked with conditioner. Never that 2-in-1 stuff!!! We beg you.

This list is really furthering the stereotype that the only ones obsessed with black women’s hair is black women. A disproportionate amount of this list as been dedicated to the topic.

48. Never try and pull any uninvited “race play” shit in the bedroom. Seriously, what the fuck?

Lol. What?

Lequisha and her boyfriend Kevin are getting hot and heavy. Lequisha is into it until Kevin breaks out the early-1990s-def-jam-comedy voice and has to pay $200 and go back to start. Why are you kink shaming people? For shame.

49. Actively try to identify and unsubscribe from orientalist tropes i.e. believing that East Asian women are naturally more submissive or docile. People of color are people, not characters.

Black people can believe the Love You Long Time stereotype all they want, though. It’s not racist because reasons.

50. If you call a woman of color “exotic,” you deserve to stub your toe every day for a year. Do. Not. Do. This.

What if she is, though? “Exotic” is a relative term. If you’re a white guy from Minnesota, a Latina from the Bronx is going to be exotic. I guess if she’s exactly like you culturally and behaviorally but is just a brown chick, calling her “exotic” then has uncomfortable racial undertones, but that’s a more specific situation. GASP nuance.

51. Also, saying “I’ve never fucked a Black/Asian/Native etc. person” to someone you’re trying to hook up with is a one way ticket to hell.

I guess I agree with this one. This is yet another example of this writer telling people not to be cringe as fuck in their interactions with other humans like being cringey is somehow a trait owned by the white race.

52. If you have such fetishistic thoughts, just don’t even bother coming near a person of color.

Find us attractive! Women of color are beautiful! Not finding us attractive is a sign of inherent racial bias!

If you’re attracted to us because you think our race is an attractive physical feature, you’re wrong and raaaaaaaaaaaacist.

53. Remember that having mixed race children is not a cure for racism or a way to live out weird racial fantasies.

Here’s a tip for helping your movement grow, Kesiena. Maybe don’t tell mixed race people such as myself that our parents are still secretly racist and awful. It doesn’t endear me to you or your cause, believe it or not.

54. If you’re trying to start a mixed raced family, sit down and deeply interrogate your intentions.

What the fuck is wrong with you?! “Deeply interrogate your intentions,” as if people wanting to have kids with their significant other have some nefarious, selfish ulterior motive about proving how non-racist they are. This just goes to show the kind of bubble Kesiena and the people she is writing to live in: Only the guilt-ridden, white Bay Area liberal would be someone who you actually feel the need to tell, “Hey, don’t invest the entirety of your adult life to another human being to the point of starting a family with them just as a way of proving how WOKE you are.”

Something tells me we’re going to get into the parts of this list that actively anger me.

55. If you do have mixed race children, make sure that they have access to people who look like them and who understand their experiences.

Kesiena, I’m going to tell you this as a brown-skinned mixed raced woman: My parents trying to force this was one of the most annoying and alienating aspects of my childhood. My mother is white and my father is black. I do not know my father. My white mother and her mother raised me. Them forcing me to hang out with other black people–for your exact reasoning of me “needing” to be around people who looked like me and understood my experiences–fucking sucked. Because I was a nerd and an atheist, and–shock of all shocks–I didn’t really enjoy the time I spent around my strictly Southern Baptist black “cousins” who made fun of me for liking books. It’s almost like personalities and compatibility of interests matter more to compatibility than race or something.

My best friend for the entirety of elementary school was a black girl. I hung out with her and her family because I liked them as individual people. We became friends the first day of kindergarten because I liked her and she liked me, not because my parents forced me to go hang out with one of the other black kids because “I needed to.”

If a mixed race kid wants to know more about their ethnic heritage and wants to be around people of either/both of their backgrounds to be more in touch with that part of their identity, go right on ahead. But forcing that on them as something that’s necessary for their development does not help–it arbitrarily boxes them into a category that they don’t even fully fit into, all whilst making them believe that it’s incredibly important that they identify with something that they may or may not even care about, and is a really fast way to give them a complex about “not being X enough.”

56. If you have a partner of color or children of color, trust and believe that you can still be racist. You’re not exempt. If anything, you have even more of a duty to examine your behavior for the benefit of your loved ones.

You see? This is why people shouldn’t date interracially! And why they definitely shouldn’t have interracial marriages or mixed race kids. Why don’t the whites just stick with the whites and leaves us colored folks to ourselves so we don’t have to deal with ya’lls awfulness.

57. Take your racist family members to task for the shit they say over the dinner table or via social media.

Yes, do encourage more one-sided social media stratification and familial alienation. That’ll do wonders for our generation’s plummeting mental health.

58. Confront your colleagues who say racist shit unchecked at work.

Don’t do it too much, though! You don’t want to be one of those white people, ya know what I mean? Seriously, it’s the same list. You can’t even be consistent within the same list.

59. Look around your workplace—are the only people of color cleaners or assistants? What can you do to change that? (The answer is almost never “nothing.”)

Yeah, pull some Inverse Magical Negro shit and use your white power to get the black janitor a job as the new company CFO. Mighty Whitey to the rescue, here to insist that the boss bring in more of the colored folk. Note to whomever’s reading this: Please don’t ever put me in the super awkward position of being the one person everyone knows is only there because Craig from accounting kept bitching about how we need an affirmative action hire.

60. If someone asks you to fill a role that you think a person of color would be better suited for, recommend a talented person of color who you know and forego the position yourself.

So literally, “deny yourself individual progress for the sake of my individual progress.” Okay. I’m gonna go ahead and assume that no one with anything resembling ambition and life goals is going to take that advice.

61. Don’t make us be the de facto diversity guy at work. Or at least pay us extra to do the labor of diversifying the workplace.

What?! You want to be paid extra literally for existing whilst not white? That won’t cause any racial tension or resentment among the staff at all!

And you wonder why conservatives accuse you of always asking for handouts.

62. Refuse to speak on an all-white panel. Regardless of the topic.

That’s racist as fuck. Talent and knowledge are not dependent on or mitigated by skin tone. To say otherwise is to essentially treat minorities and white people as interchangeable entities worth nothing on their individual merit and achievements, only deriving value from their unchangeable and mutual demographic attributes. It doesn’t matter how qualified two white people are–they’re both white and are therefore interchangeable. It doesn’t matter how qualified two black people are–they are both black and therefore interchangeable. We only need them for their skin tone. #Problematic.

Moving on.

63. If there are only a couple of people of color in your seminar, don’t weirdly stare at them when the lecturer poses questions about race and expect them to answer everything.

This would probably happen way less often if people like you stopped making every conversation that mentions race awkward as fuck to the point where there’s nothing to do but defer to the non-white person as the only human in the room whose opinion is safe.

64. If you’re in charge of making curricula, make sure there is work by people of color, especially women of color, on the reading list. And not just in the weeks dedicated to race.

Tokenize your curricula, guys! Remember: all women of color are interchangeable, just make sure you have enough of them at any given time! How many white people are making curricula anyway? Who is this for besides guilt-ridden members of leftists academia at this point? That’s a really hyper-specific sub-group in no way encompassing all white people.

65. Commission people of color to make work about race.

I’ll commission whatever the fuck I want, and so can white people.

66. Commission people of color to make work that has nothing to do with race.

Nah, you ruined it with that first point. It’s made overwhelmingly obvious that you only care about 65.

67. Don’t say things like “there are two sides to every story!” or play devil’s advocate when it comes to conversations about race.

Say it with me, folks.

This is why Trump won!
We don’t need to hear what anyone else thinks! They’re just bad. Acknowledging that different perspectives exists? Shut up!

68. In those situations, just listen.

Can a non-white person play devil’s advocate? Will you listen to the life stories and opinions of people you’re not morally obligated to care about then?

69. It’s never useful to say stuff like, “But what about the white working class!!!” Have you thought about non-white working class people’s needs?

I hope you don’t call yourself a communist or a democratic socialist or whatever, because that’s some bullshit. FUCK poor people if their race makes them someone I don’t feel like caring about!

And you wonder why poor white people don’t like liberals? How about the fact that you literally just said you don’t care about their very real, tangible problems because another group you’ve deemed more worthy of empathy and compassion is also poor sometimes?

You can fuck right the fuck off with that.

70. Don’t? Vote? For? Racist? Politicians? Can’t believe I need to say this one but it seems like possibly, maybe, some of y’all did not get this memo.

Tell that to the majority black populace of Atlanta or Newark who vote in black politicians who routinely and overtly fuck them over, but that’s apparently okay because “representation.”

71. Research your candidates. Who has progressive policies that won’t needlessly criminalize people of color? Vote for them.

Yeah, I know Jill Stein was a science denying anti-vaxer who thought homeopathic remedies should be used to treat polio. But at least she wanted to legalized weed! Give her your vote!

72. Remember that Black women are not here to save you from yourselves. You’ve gotta put in the work, too.

What?

73. Be cognizant of how your whiteness could be weaponized against Black people. i.e. white women, don’t play into stereotypes about Black men being inherently threatening to you. It gets Black men killed. See: Emmett Till.

This causes some Oppression Olympics issues. Women are apparently perfectly justified in being paranoid about men and the inherent danger of them and their toxic masculinity, and rape culture, and whatnot. But a situation that this author would probably lift up as the true lived experience of women if it was just non-specific women being afraid of non-specific men is now bad because it’s a white woman being afraid of black men.

74. Use your white privilege to be on the frontline between people of color and the police at protests. You’re at much less risk than us.

So . . . If Keith takes a truncheon to the face and fractures his skull, what did his white privilege do for him, again? Also, way to ask people to be human shields for you, that’s not borderline-sociopathic or anything.

75. Record police encounters you see involving Black people.

And when you record that the overwhelming majority of them go fine, don’t tell anyone, because that would ruin the narrative we’ve got going on.

76. Share alerts when ICE is planning a raid.

Do white people get texts from ICE with their weekly memo or something? How are white people supposed to know this?

77. Stand up to Islamophobia wherever you see it.

Hey, Hassim should be able to behead all the atheists and roof-throw all the gays that he sees fit! If you think him doing those things is bad, you’re being raaaaacist.

78. If you have ever thought a phrase like “Black lives matter” is too assertive, consider why you’re so uncomfortable with Black people standing up for our humanity.

It’s not too assertive. It’s not assertive enough. Go here for my reasoning. I’m not explaining that shit again.

79. Listen when Black people say, “I’m not comfortable in this situation.” You’ve seen Get Out, haven’t you?

Yes, I have seen the fictional thriller movie about white people stealing your body to use as a puppet to be young and hip. You realize that movie was an intentional exaggeration playing on paranoia, right? The juxtaposition of that film and real life is that in real life, most white people don’t have any malicious intent in their uncomfortable awkwardness, but the film is playing up the paranoia that they do. This is literally just another point telling people not to be cringe. I get it!

80. If you haven’t seen Get Out, watch Get Out. Understand that the everyday horror is real.

Yes, the everyday horror of hanging around awkward liberal white people trying to prove how not racist they are by being overly hip and indulging in positive stereotyping that may or may not be accurate. The horror. I feel bad for Jordan Peele. His relatively impressive directorial debut is going to be used as a think piece for lazy sociology majors for the rest of his life instead of being appreciated as an actual film.

81. Question whether you have double standards when it comes to drugs. Do you think it’s cool when white weed entrepreneurs make tons of money but think that Black people who are found to have traces of marijuana in their systems deserve to be thrown in prison?

Sure. This seems more like a class thing than a race thing–looking at you rich liberal arts college kids who openly do coke in your dorm on the rich side of town with no repercussions, while your janitor’s son just got thrown in prison for smoking weed two neighborhoods over. But who am I kidding, we already know this author doesn’t give two shits about class divides.

82. Don’t have dreadlocks if you’re not Black, just don’t. Beyond being offensive, it’s just not suited to your hair type. Do literally anything else with your hair.

Hmmm, what should I talk about after I address the horrifying reality of the American prison industrial complex? I know! I’ll tell people what hairstyles they are or are not allowed to have based off of race. Those are of equal impact and importance. I in no way cheapened the relevance of unjust drug enforcement by likening it to people wearing hair I don’t like.

83. Don’t refer to things as your “spirit animal” if you’re not Native. There are other ways to express affinity with something.

Wait a minute . . . didn’t you just say that it’s racist to conflate races/ethnicites with religious beliefs? And here you are a few points down conflating animistic spiritual beliefs with Native Americans, which is some old timey shit that not even most Native Americans alive today subscribe to. Way to go. You did it. I’m proud of you. Inconsistency is your spirit animal.

84. Do not compare the exploitation of animals to racism. Ever. I’m deadly serious.

Oooo, sick vegan buuuuuuurn.

85. I can’t believe I even need to say this in 2018 but here we go: Don’t wear Blackface.

What about tasteful black face?

86. Don’t even think about saying the N word. Even if you’re alone. Even if you’re listening to rap. Even if you’re alone and listening to rap.

Fuck context and human linguistics and the ever-evolving usage of words. That hurts our feelz. How is telling white people what to do when they’re fucking alone something that makes your life less frustrating? Whew, I was having a bad day, but just knowing that Bob down the hall is having his private language policed makes me feel much better.

Edit: This is extremely worrying seeing as how a teenage girl in the UK wound up getting arrested, prosecuted, fined, and given a curfew for the horrible crime of . . . posting rap lyrics written by a black person to her social media page, as a tribute to a deceased friend of hers who loved that particular rap song. It was “grossly offensive” because she was white and the lyrics contained the word nigga. All this talk about how context doesn’t matter is actually fucking dangerous. It’s getting innocent people arrested and punished for no reason.

87. Similarly, don’t use the word “g*psy” or “p*ki” or “r*dskin” or any other racial slur. Even if you’re repeating what someone else said or reading from a text.

Context doesn’t matter! Hey, Kesiena, you just typed all those awful words. Go flagellate yourself for your crime.

88. That includes the word “colored.” “Person of color” and “colored” are not the same. Trust me.

They are. Trust me.

What woman of color are you going to listen to?! OH NO!!!1!!1!11

Seriously, you can’t write three points about how context means fuck all and then say, “Oh, but context matters here, so these essentially identical terms are different now.”

89. Understand that America has what it has because it stole land from indigenous people and stole people from Africa.

Sure. You can say that about literally every other country, just swap around a few racial categories. That’s how societal development worked back in the olden days. You don’t have to like it. That’s how it worked. Go play Civilization. Saudi Arabia was built on the backs of black slaves! That’s past tense. It’s built on the backs South East Asian slaves now. Progress!

90. Care about race on the 364 days that aren’t Martin Luther King Jr. day.

Once MLK Jr. Day comes back around, though, you can give it a one-day breather.

91. Also, don’t whitewash his legacy and use it to argue that Black people should just take what they’re given lying down.

Read: Don’t criticize violent rioting in the streets that mainly harms the very communities this author is trying to protect.

Or I can only assume. That’s usually what this reference means.

92.Think about how race is operating even when people of color aren’t around. Be cognizant of it wherever you are, whichever situation you’re in. People of color have to, so should you.

FEEL GUILTY. FEEL IT.

93. Remember that your queerness/womanhood/transness/class background/disability doesn’t exclude you from white privilege.

‘Dat Oppression Olympics is real.

94. Make your feminism useful to all women rather than calling yourself an ‘intersectional feminist’. Show, don’t tell.

Well, steam-spouting intersectional feminists are annoying, so . . . sure?

95. Don’t assume, full stop, that you can understand what it’s like to experience racism. You can’t. That’s the whole point.

What if they’ve actively experienced racism before? Do they still just not get it?

96. Understand that nothing in your life has been untouched by your whiteness. Everything you have would have been harder to come by if you had not been born white.

Your backbreaking, low-paying, no-union factory job that’s already eaten two of your fingers and blackened your lungs? Easy to get ’cause you’re white. That staggeringly low for the first world literacy rate? Easy to get ’cause you’re white. That skin cancer? Waaaay easier to get ’cause you’re white.

97. Be grateful for the lesson when you’re called out on racism, getting defensive won’t help.

Back in my day, we had one color tablet! And it was WHITE. And we were THANKFUL. 

Can you tell I’m tired of this list, yet?

Can the white person be defensive when they’re called out for being racist even when they weren’t being racist? Oh yeah, I forgot, the people doing the calling out are never even slightly wrong or mistaken. POC are always right, white people are always in the wrong. We know. We get it.

98. Move past your white guilt. Guilt is an unproductive emotion. Don’t sit there mired in woe, just be better.

Honey, I don’t think any white person reading the list of 100 Things They Need To Do To Stop Their Existence From Being A Nuisance to Not-White People is going to get past their white guilt anytime soon.

99. Recognize that fighting racism isn’t about you, it’s not about your feelings; it’s about liberating people of color from a world that tries to crush us at every turn.

Affirm my victim complex! Do nothing to question it! The world is like a game of Unfair Mario for all non-white people, all the time, and no white person has ever had the deck stacked against them at any point. Don’t ask for any nuance or further clarification. That’s racist.

100. And remember: Being an ally is a verb, not a noun. You can’t just magically be an ally to people of color because you say you’re one, it’s something that you must continually work on.

It’s like Christianity. You’re never not tainted by horrible, horrible Original Sin, but sucking Jesus’ dick at most given opportunities is a good way to make up for it. Don’t worry, you’ll get paid back when you die.

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9 thoughts on “100 Ways White People Can Make Life Less Frustrating For People of Color: A Response

  1. K.G. K.G. says:

    Loved this. I would love if you responded to the 100 Ways Men Can Make Women’s Lives More Bearable. That one is also pretty good haha

      • K.G. K.G. says:

        Wow, thanks. I’ve read a lot of your blogs, and I gotta say it feels nice having my thoughts put so precisely into words by someone far more gorgeous with words than I am! What pissed me off most about the Women list is the point about men having to stuff their opinions on abortion. I also feel like wanting to see more people becoming pro-choice, but when I hear/read shit like that, that feeling stops for the time being, I have to admit. Yeah, telling especially the more conservatively aligned of us men that they shouldn’t partake in discussions about what might be the fates of their own children… I mean, that’s how they feel, and it certainly doesn’t do well at changing their minds about abortion.

        Greetings from Germany.

  2. This is why I have what Diversity & Comics calls Black Woman PTSD. POC activists have done such a great job training the artsy types to be paranoid about race. It’s super clear that not only there has to be token POCs but they have to presentation of how great, perfect and oppressed those poor innocent POCs truly are. Urg… This has being going so long that my first instinct when I see black character is roll my eyes and try to guess what level of Mary Sue are we dealing with. I hate having negative expectations and I know that there are good stuff out there. Mighty Magiswords has many darker skinned human characters and they are treated like any other with flaws and capable of being a jerk. I just want to go back when I didn’t give fuck about race. When reruns of Fresh Prince of Bellair, Keeping Up Appearances and Golden Girls all filled me with same glee of fun light comedy.

    • People in artistic fields (whether it be creation, reviewing, or just pop culture media in general) have essentially been conditioned to see the inclusion/exclusion of certain demographics as something totally separate from the creative process that necessarily indicates an ulterior socio-political motive. If you say,”I don’t want my own, individual artistic creation to be changed or negatively judged because the politics of someone I may or may not even agree with aren’t being furthered,” you’re essentially accused of being a bigot who just doesn’t want diversity. The irony, of course, is that I say stuff along those lines rather frequently and I’m a POC woman who typically creates things with racially diverse casts; so the idea that I just don’t want to include brown people or women is flat out wrong. The double-irony is that my racially diverse casts now act as an immediate turn-off to anyone who doesn’t like the aforementioned group of politically motivated busy-bodies. It’s lose/lose at this point.

      • I feel for you. I actually did a essay about this topic few months back. I was thinking about doing a YouTube video about it or something but didn’t get around it. I think I made some good points tough. I don’t have time to sum it down, so sorry it being bit long and rambling.

        —-

        I often hear that presentation is important. I fear this might have become thought stopping cliche as I have heard this a statement often but not much arguments for why this is so. So I have been thinking about it and I don’t believe it. I don’t think that presentation is important. I think it’s like sprinkles on dessert: merely nice.

        I’m pretty serious about that allegory. Sprinkles on your dessert can feel so special and important but they really aren’t. Given a choice of just sprinkles or just the desert of course you’re going to take the desert. Sprinkles are nice but they are not what you there for. It’s the cake or ice cream or hot chocolate. I feel same about presentation. It’s nice to see character like you, especially if you have had some crappy experiences related to it recently, but if other product does it’s thing better that’s your pick. Funnier comedy, cooler thriller or cuter romance are going win over presentation.

        Look I understand why people think that presentation is a big deal. Connecting characters is important and we use what we have in common to connect others. So they want more minorities for these minorities connect better. I can see why people think this, even if I think they are ultimately missing the mark. After all I had a long period in my childhood when I cavitated towards characters that were little blonde girls like me or that I could see as blonde girls. But thing was that this didn’t really end up predicting who I connected and loved for the long term.

        Anyone remember Mighty morphin power rangers? That show had one kickass theme song. There was a blond girl in main cast and I just didn’t like her. Her zord was ugly and stiff. She had boring romance subplots and she didn’t do as much martial arts as the others. My favorite Power Ranger was Yellow Ranger. I thought that she was really pretty, bright lemon yellow was fun color and that she had the coolest zord. I was at the time really into big cats so a saber tooth tiger over boring lizards anyday. Plus it was only ground zrod that looked like it could actually move. After her it was Bulk and Skull because they were funny.

        This was hardly the only time when interesting trumpet over someone being a blonde girl. Sure there were also favorites that are blond girls but I didn’t like them for being blond girls. I liked Angelica from Rugrats because she was funny and gradiosa. I liked Castafiore from Tintin who was oblivious diva in this great dignified manner and still was nice and helpful person. And Smurfette… Okey that one is because she is a blond girl. There isn’t that much to smurfs as characters. She did stand out mainly for her character design but I wouldn’t like her if I didn’t like the smurfs in general.

        Seeing people with certain traits can spark interest but it won’t be the reason to stick around. What is important is entertainment, sorrows, joys, mistakes, jokes, mysteries and visuals that the character is made off. Magic of good storytelling is learning to really understand and feel connected to somebody.

        Great example of this is Frollo from Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame. He is old self righteous racist who actively harms people and yet he has so many fangirls. He is a villainous character that has many unlikeable attributes and still his death comes across as tragic. This is because the movie went out of its why to show Frollo’s humanity. We see him chasing his mind out of fear of being seen as a bad person, enjoying family time with Quasimodo, hating aspects of his job, losing his cool in funny way, struggling with his sexuality and how he could have stopped multiple times but didn’t. Not of course forgetting the beautiful animation, stunning cinematography or great vocal performance from Tony Jay. That is what makes you feel for Frollo. That connection is what is important.

        Seeing people struggle, fail and overcome issues similar to yours. Learning to understand and empathize people who struggle, fail and overcome issues alien to you. Or just pure relaxation of having fun. That trumps people having same surface traits as you every time.

        Other argument I can think for presentation is the exposition argument. Basically it goes something like this. People are in general disposed to dislike things that are unfamiliar. If the masses are exposed to minorities then the minorities aren’t unfamiliar anymore and masses aren’t as likely dislike them.

        While there is merit to the thought process it’s far from fail safe. If group members are wanted because they are group members then it’s very likely that they are let in lower standards that others. This happens whatever we are talking about owners relatives or black lesbians. If some group have lower standards than others then they are likely to make lower quality product. If the masses notice that lower quality products come from this group, the masses are going to start avoiding products of this group and thinking negatively about them. This will screw over even the members of that group how do product high quality stuff. To summarize being exposed isn’t enough, the exposure needs to be positive as well.

        I think most people are at least little bit aware of this because the trend of prefect pure minority character. Unfortunately perfect is boring and can lead to the treated Mary Sue. Most writers know this and try to give flaws but these tend to only “nice” flaws. You know the ones: workaholic, too nice, mildly uptight, perfectionist or sassy. Also if there is need for some character to the nice one, the cool one or the smart one, it’s extremely likely to go for the token. Then there are all the nasty stereotypes to be avoided. Minority characters aren’t really given much room to be awful and this has two common ways to backfire.

        One of these is the natural evolution of interest. Boring good characters tend to work mostly as straight man. So people are going to be more interested and loving towards the flawed majority characters. Since people like these character they are going to get more screen time and the minority character is pushed to the background. Or if doesn’t happen people are going to notice and quite rightly point out that boring character is there for token points. Either way not much positive is accomplished.

        Other is that people are going to notice this overly positive minority trend and start to resent it. People are aware that minorities aren’t better than the majority groups. They have met the minority morons and assholes. They have observed behavior patterns in real world and know that some stereotypes, even negative ones, exist because they reflect factual group trends. People are also very aware that if they express these thoughts they are labeled as racist, sexist and/or homophobic. They get irritated and start to avoid products that look likely to have this minority positive majority negative thing going. They will also to react badly if they see signs that this is creeping in what they already like. Again not much positive is accomplished.

        Look I know that people who are into presentation mean well. Keeping people out because irrelevant stuff is wrong but so is letting them in for that same irrelevant stuff. Sure the latter might be lesser of two evils but we don’t need take any evil here. Let minorities try and if they do good job then great but if they fail let them fail same as the majority. This has worked pretty well for the jews. Let us enjoy nice feeling of presentation when it happens but let it happen organically. Concentrate on what is actually import: good stories, funny jokes, relatable characters, immersive worlds and impressive visuals. Also money.

        • I really like the sprinkles analogy. It works pretty well in giving demographic representation its due while also explaining how it isn’t a core feature of quality. Also, fuck yeah Power Rangers. I’m an In Space girl myself, though.

          • Thanks 🙂 I’m always unsure if I can get my point across in written English. Not my first language, dyslexia, not that sure about culture stuff and all.

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