Ever wonder what the token black person in those über-hip little “diverse” groups thinks about being around clueless, insensitive White people like you and me all the time? Well, wonder no longer! One of the tokens has spoken!
On Being Complimented by Whites:
“- “[Fill in with something about looking ‘fierce’]” because that’s the ethnic word for “hot,” apparently.”
On life in San Francisco:
“Partying with the hipster white dudes in the Mission would start out fun, but our hangouts would end with me feeling conflicted. If these people were my friends, why did I feel so bad when I hung out with them?”
On Ironic Racial Humor:
“The thing that is hardest to explain is that these jokes are coming from a position of privilege my white friends don’t even realize they have. This social advantage is so ingrained in our culture that they aren’t aware their comments are coming off the backs of centuries’ worth of hardship and oppression. The tipping point for me was about two years ago, at a friend’s house, when I was introduced as “The Black Friend.” As my friend laughed off his statement, my heart dropped at this oversimplification of me as a person. I quickly realized that the joke was on me, and the punch line was my race. I left the party minutes later.”
On Her Terms:
“So do I still have white friends? Of course, who else is going to wait with me for an hour and a half for a table at Plow? Plus, if you’re a 20-something in the tech/start-up world, white people are hard to avoid. The only difference now is that my white friends know to check their privilege and poor humor at the door. It’s not funny if it comes at the expense of someone’s skin color or culture. And if anyone thinks otherwise, in the words of Queen Bey, “To the left, to the left.” “
Wow. What an honest and revealing article.
You see, Whitey, you are an aggrievement generator, no matter what kind of hipster utopia you live in and no matter what kind of “Diversity=Strength” bullshit you have been trained to believe at your liberal arts re-education camp. No matter what you do, how “cool” you try to be, how sensitive, how inclusive, how encouraging, how loving, how complimentary, you are just a big, walking blob of oppression and privilege and racism. Read it again. I’ll wait.
Oh, they’ll tolerate you if they have to. After all, “white people are hard to avoid”; but all your ass-kissing will never make people like Ms. Sykes one of you or you one of her.
Diversity + proximity= conflict. Always and everywhere. Read it one more time–note the tone– and think about it.