This is not about racists. This is about not-racists. You’ve seen them before: the special class of white people who say racist shit and do racist things but declare themselves the “least racist person you know.”
Their racism isn’t always intentional. Sometimes it is a byproduct of privilege, sometimes it is a deflection, and sometimes it is caused by the vapid, shallow inability to care about or understand anything that they don’t agree with because they are the majority.
The population of not-racists is steadily growing. Not-racists voted for Donald Trump. Not-racists say that kneeling for the flag means you want to slit the throats of veterans. Not-racists believe in Blue Lives, White Jesus and black-on-black crime. So we decided to do a countdown of the 10 most popular phrases so that you can easily identify not-racists, or play a game of not-racist bingo in your spare time:
10. “Why must everything have to be about race?”
One of the most used ideas in the not-racist handbook is that talking about race creates divisiveness. The theory rests on the premise that the more people point out racism, the more ... umm ... I really don’t know how the second part works.
The truth is that talking about race makes white people uncomfortable because it reminds them of the filthy history of white supremacy. That’s why Texas schoolbooks referred to slaves as “immigrants,” and Confederate-flag-wavers have twisted the bloodiest conflict in U.S. history into something about states’ rights, tradition and the North’s hatred of sweet tea ... and declaring human beings to be personal property.
And I get it; it is very uncomfortable for white people to hear about the atrocities of racism knowing that their people are complicit in centuries of mistreatment. It would give me the heebie-jeebies, too. It’s like cheating on a woman, confessing and then wondering why she’s always bringing up old shit when you come home late.
But the only way America will ever cure the cancer of white supremacy is by talking about it and treating it as if it were a disease. If you found a tumor in your left lung and your doctor brought it up every time you lit a cigarette, it would be stupid to respond with, “Why does everything have to be about lung cancer?”
It’s killing you, man. It’s killing you.
9. “I dated a black guy/girl ... ”
A few days ago I received a message from a not-racist woman who genuinely wanted to know why I used the phrase “white people” (and its more hilarious cousin, “wypipo”). I patiently replied to her (I don’t always clap back, but when I do, it’s in the mailbag), and she wrote back that she understood. She explained that she wasn’t racist because her ex-husband was black and she had half-black children. Which left me wondering:
- Who are these black men and women dating these clueless white people and leaving them as unwoke as they found them?
- You gon’ let her raise your kids, bruh? For real?
- Who told wypipo that when a black penis enters a white vagina (or vice versa), the orgasm gives them a special immunity to being a bigot?
- If so, where does it go? (The racism, not the penis, stupid.)
- Instead of the March on Washington or the Montgomery Bus Boycott, should we have just marched around the country having orgies?
That’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works.
8. “I don’t see color.”
Do you stop at green lights? How do you play checkers, then? Not-racists will actually try to convince you that they don’t care about race and that erasing the concept of race from our minds is a self-righteous, egalitarian attribute.
Here is the thing: The idea of a post-racial society is really the desire for a white society. Even nonracist Caucasians don’t mind this because they don’t understand that whiteness has surpassed the classification of a racial category in America and has become the default.
Black people want to be treated like everyone else. We don’t desire to be seen as everyone else. Most African Americans, Mexicans, Jews, etc., love their race and their culture. It is a large part of who we are. We don’t care that you see our color. We just want you to respect it.
Also, how do you play Uno?
7. “You’re the racist!”
In the September 2013 global quarterly Not-Racists, the executive board decided to introduce a clever bit of trickery into the racial discussion in America. According to the memo obtained by The Root, Caucasians were instructed to respond to any claims of racism, no matter how subtle, with the charge that black people were the racist ones. Since then, according to a poll never conducted by Pew Research, claims of reverse racism have risen more than 389 percent.
I’m not one of those people who believe black people can’t be racist, because I, too, felt racism creep into my heart once when a Caucasian co-worker offered me leftover potato salad. Even though black-on-white racism technically exists, it is rarely injurious.
Because—feeling butt-hurt is not a medical symptom.
6. “I grew up around black people.”
There are people who grew up in the “inner city” or played Pop Warner football on the Negro side of town who believe that they can’t be racist. According to them, growing up around black people—along with Mandingo penis and black vagina—completes the Holy Trinity of racism cures.
When asked why the white boys raised on slave plantations; the millennials who went to integrated schools but carried tiki torches in Charlottesville, Va.; and Darren Wilson, who worked his entire career as a police officer in a majority-black town before he shot Michael Brown Jr., still had remnants of racism in their bloodstreams, white people collectively paused, gazed at their flip-flops for a few brief seconds and replied, “Why does everything have to be about race?”
5. “Not all white people ... ”
Nothing upsets the #NotRacist stomach more than hearing the phrase “white people” used in any capacity. Only the term “white privilege” causes more consternation.
That same woman who wrote the letter I mentioned earlier said this:
First & foremost, many of us “white people” could careless what racial label you bestow upon us because at the end of the day the same loving GOD that created white skin created dark skin ... Why does there have to be a label? Why must we classify as a “color”? When we are all God’s master piece? No one runs from what the classification of one’s skin color reminds them of! What happened years ago is embarrassing. It’s hurtful! And morally disturbing. I am fortunate, my family did not participate in the barbaric behaviors as other whites. And God help our soul had we ever considered using a racial slur at another person! No my family was not and is not perfect but sir not all of us were mentally disturbed. And that is what someone has to be in order to hold another against their will in captivity. And sir, why would you want to write such things that fuel the hatred? Why would you assume that ALL whites fit into one general spectrum? If this is so, does this mean that because you are black sir that you are a gang banger? Do you see the issue here sir? ”
Although this is one of the most interesting uses of the “not all white people” variations, it raises an interesting point: I have a friend who is black and owns a Tesla. When she hears a mechanic advise people to change their oil every 3,000 miles, she doesn’t say, “Not all cars!” My friend is intelligent enough to know that the mechanic is referring to most cars or the typical car. Nothing in this world is 100 percent. Somewhere there exists a cat who likes having mice around, but for the most part ...
People who object to the word combination “white people” do so only because they aren’t used to being stereotyped. When the letter writer considered every black stereotype and decided to ask if I was a gangbanger, it did not bother me. You know why?
Because I am not a gangbanger.
I am also accustomed to living with the knowledge that my skin engenders certain thoughts about who I am. She does not have to navigate a world that presupposes her psyche on a day-to-day basis.
And that, dear reader, is called “white privilege.”
4. “Go back to Africa!”
Not-racists believe that America belongs to them and that whiteness endows them with the power to excommunicate the offenders of their country at will. This, too, is white privilege.
White privilege is believing that you have the right to tell anyone to leave the country they built with their own hands, for free. White privilege is believing that America is in decline and can be made great again only by a billionaire trust fund baby, but simultaneously saying that black football players have no right to criticize America because it made them rich. White privilege is the belief that this country is yours, and anyone who doesn’t like it should kick rocks. White privilege is the belief that kneeling is cause for being called anti-American, but not the actual, unconstitutional mistreatment of Americans.
That’s why I’m proposing that whenever we hear anyone complain about big government, high taxes, Black Lives Matter, traffic, not enough pineapples on their pizza or ask whether something is gluten-free, black people should cup their hands around their mouths and bellow into the world:
“Go back to Caucasia!”
3. “Why must you always be the victim?”
Another not-racist premise posits that when black people play the “race card,” they are blaming the failures of black people on racism. According to them, we want to make white people the villains and ourselves the victims.
They are partially correct. Black people kill too many other black people. The black family structure is falling apart. Blacks should focus more on education. Those things will help black people immensely.
But if black people did all those things and ignored the fact that a black college graduate is more likely than a white high school grad to be unemployed, and on average earns less than one; or that schools with majority-black students receive less funds than white schools with the same tax and income bases; or ignored mass incarceration, sentence inequality, the drug war, the history of redlining, banks giving blacks higher interest rates, disproportionate police brutality ...
... that would be stupid.
It’s like asking someone who was sexually abused to never talk about it or even to keep quiet when the cops ask about it because it turns the survivor into a victim.
We are the victims ... of racism.
2. “I don’t want to sound racist, but ... ”
I have been told, on numerous occasions, to never consider anything after “but.” The oldest sleight of hand in the book of racism magic is to proclaim oneself “not racist.” It is a wondrous trick that never works.
It’s akin to R. Kelly opening up a day care center and using the motto, “I’m not a pedophile, but I’d love to babysit your kids!”
Also, whenever anyone says they “don’t want to sound racist,” brace yourself. Because they are definitely about to say some racist shit.
1. “Make America great again.”
I can’t even ...