In the latest case of tone-deaf whiteness, a craft-beer lover in Birmingham, Ala., posted the above picture to Instagram.
Some people believe (and by “some people” I mean me) that most white people—and people in general—have tasteless jokes and stereotypes that they are comfortable enough to perpetuate in private or around their friends. But someone went out and brewed a beer, had labels printed up and bottled a beer whose name appropriates a movement meant to save lives. Even worse, some brave retailer looked at all of this and said, “Yeah, I’ll sell it for you.”
Regardless of one’s position on the #BlackLivesMatter movement, it is indicative of the reality of toxic privilege that we live in a world where people are comfortable enough to do this unchecked. Ralph Marion is the guy who shared the pic to Instagram on Feb. 15, and to his credit, he thought the name was uncalled for. He explained to Mic:
“They made a parody of a very serious issue,” Marion said, explaining that there are a lot of beers that “sometimes toe the line of being insensitive but are still funny.” ...
“I just find this being clueless of the times that we are living in right now and how it could make people feel,” Marion said of the #Black Stouts Matter beer name.
But people on his Instagram page felt compelled to defend the anonymous brewers. (According to Mic’s research, the beer was brewed by Birch Church Brewing Co.) Of course, there was the obligatory “All Lives Matter” comment, stating, “Well what if a black home brewer did the exact same thing? Would it be different or same result?” Another commented:
I think it’s a beer label, and not a political statement. It’s cute, if not particularly clever. Do I think it cheapens or insults the movement? Not really. My main concern is if the beer is any good.
OK, my beloved Caucasians, I will explain it one more time. This time, I’ll say it slowly:
You. Don’t. Get. To. Have. Everything.
I know the conquering, pillaging spirit embedded in many of you won’t allow you to hear this, but there are some things in the world that are off-limits, and this is one of them. There are dead sons and daughters in your jovial little joke. There are 400 years of tears entangled in your cute pun. If you call it anything else, it will taste the same, and if it’s good, people will still buy it. Aren’t those the “free market” principles you so proudly declare?
Or maybe you can just call it white tears, which is what you’d cry if a black person did anything equally offensive.