‘Not All White People’: A Definitive Disclaimer

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I wrote about white people gentrifying fried-bologna sandwiches last week.

I knew as soon as I hit publish on the post what type of response it was going to get, but I published it anyway because the kinds of white people who would turn a fried-bologna sandwich into some type of hipster happy meal, complete with a bag of chips and PBR, need to be stopped. We are super tired of those kinds of white people.


Notice that I said “those kinds” of white people. I specified exactly what types of white people I mean.

Here at The Root, we write about white people. To be clear, we write about white people and how the things they do impact black people. We write about racism, we write about issues affecting black people and we write about the everyday microaggressions that black folks often experience at the hands of white people. It’s literally our job to cover the news from a black perspective.

When we write about things that white people do, we use the generic phrase “white people” as a catchall (see also: wypipo). We use it to represent the type of collective whiteness that unites white people even when y’all aren’t all on the same page or following the same agenda or falling into the same category. It’s that “general you” versus “specific you” type of thing.

We know “not all white people.” We know that there are a great many of you who don’t exemplify any of the behaviors that we talk about, and we are proud of you.

OK, we aren’t necessarily proud of you or handing out awards for people being decent human beings, but we shouldn’t have to, much in the same way we shouldn’t have to specifically say “not all white people” every single time we write a story illustrating something ignorant, racist or otherwise damaging that white people have done. It is implied.

Have you ever noticed that no one ever has to say “not all black people”? When stories get written that generalize black people (and we all know there are plenty of them), you don’t see black people derailing the topic at hand by crying “not all black people” in the comments or in the Twitter mentions of the author.


We get that there is nuance. We get that while we may not be the type of black person who engages in that type of behavior, there are black people who do, and we don’t try to pretend that they don’t exist. We don’t deny your experience by lecturing you on how not all black people do this and it’s wrong for you to say “black people” when you really mean just Tyrone, Wayne and Junebug. There’s no necessity for that.

Basically, it’s like this: The “not all” in “white people” is silent like the “too” in “Black lives matter,” another phrase y’all seem to want to be willfully ignorant about.


Usually the people who want to come and argue “not all” are the type of people who are exactly the thing being described. They just want to be reassured that they aren’t bad people. Do your soul-searching on your own time, and stop derailing important discussions with your need to assuage your white guilt.

It’s funny how white people want it both ways. They are quick to come with the “not all white people,” but will also generalize about black people with statistics about crime, etc., when it suits them. You don’t get to have it both ways, baby.


But whatever. Just know that when we say “white people” here at The Root, we mean the white people who are engaging in whatever behavior or behavioral pattern we are discussing at the time.

In other words, not all white people.

Consider this the definitive disclaimer to end all disclaimers. May we never have to say or explain this shit to your sensitive, thin-skinned, snowflake asses again.



What if we actually do mean all white people?