When I was a little kid, my mother forbade me and my sisters to hit each other. Sometimes, however, when we were really mad, we would push each other into a corner, start swinging our arms wildly and scream, “I was doing this first.” We’d inform the person in the corner that they were free to exit the corner at any time, but if they caught one of those wild punches, it wasn’t our fault. In our child brains, it made all the sense in the world. It excused us from any pain we inflicted, because, hey—I was doing this first.
They call that “white-peopleing” now.
Of all the distasteful, repugnant and annoying habits that fit under that catchall term, perhaps the most admirable is wypipo’s extraordinary ability to manufacture outrage. Wypipo can get mad about anything—Cheerios commercials, fist bumps, Santa Clauses with melanin—you name it. This weekend, they had barely rehydrated from all the tears they expelled over Netflix’s Dear White People when the greatest foe of the entire white-peopleing movement reared its ugly head: political correctness.
After months of protests by students, on Saturday, Yale University announced that one of its residential undergraduate colleges will no longer be named Calhoun College. The Ivy League university will rename the college, named after famed South Carolina politician and white supremacist John C. Calhoun, after Grace Murray Hopper—a naval officer, computer pioneer and Yale alumna.
The move is the latest in a rising trend toward publicly removing names, symbols and icons that some find offensive. Last year the city of New Orleans decided to tear down four Confederate monuments after the City Council declared them public nuisances. The University of Louisville also removed a statue of a Confederate soldier near its campus. Ole Miss banned students from waving the rebel flag at football games and rebranded its mascot. Most famously, after Dylann Roof’s white supremacist slaughter at Charleston, S.C.’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, the South Carolina Legislature voted to remove the Confederate flag from its Statehouse.
In each of these instances, there was a red-eared, outraged, mostly white uproar over the obliteration of these long-held symbols of supremacy. In New Orleans, black protesters had to chase Ku Klux Klan leader and reptilian albino demon spawn David Duke away from a demonstration calling for the removal of a statue of Andrew Jackson. Some Republican legislators in South Carolina so vehemently opposed transferring the Confederate flag to a museum that they led a raucous 13-hour debate where 23 state lawmakers still voted against the proposal. Even about Yale, conservative commentator and douchebag professional agitator Geraldo Rivera tweeted:
— Geraldo Rivera (@GeraldoRivera) February 12, 2017
Nothing jump-starts instances of competitive white-peopleing like the idea of political correctness.
Conservatives, libertarians and even some self-aware liberals hate the idea that their white, God-given right to do whatever the fuck they want can be infringed upon simply because it might cause other people some pain. Whenever I encounter the self-righteous fury against political correctness, only one thing comes to mind:
“Damn, that must be nice.”
It must be nice to be able to live inside the two-faced privilege of throwing a tantrum over a Netflix television series because it fictionally denigrates fictional white people, but dismiss the notion that students could take offense at having to pay tuition to sit in classrooms named after real living, breathing oppressors who hated people who looked like them. But hey—they were doing it first.
It must be nice to believe so wholeheartedly in your supremacy that it outweighs the concerns, emotions and beliefs of everyone else. That the names of dead white men are worth more than living black sensibilities. It must be wonderful to live in such an entitled state of whiteness that every other idea, belief or feeling is automatically insignificant.
White-peopleing looks like so much fun.
What is “white-peopleing”?
White-peopleing is believing that a flag that represents treason and white supremacy is part of your heritage, but a flag that simply says “Black Lives Matter” is “un-American,” like when aggrieved white people bawled about a Black Lives Matter flag at the University of Vermont.
This is just about as un-American as it gets in my book. The uber liberal University of Vermont has a flag po... https://t.co/Rsh6Xigl1D
— Democracy In Motion (@DemocracyMotion) September 25, 2016
White-peopleing is putting your so-called history ahead of someone else’s pain. White-peopleing is repeatedly punching someone in the face and telling him or her to stop crying because it can’t hurt that bad. White-peopleing is the privileged belief by people in the majority that they should get to determine what is racist, sexist, homophobic or offensive.
And wypipo love white-peopleing.
In the next few days, you will hear arguments on both sides of this issue. To be fair, there is a legitimate debate to be had on what the erasure of these symbols of America’s shameful legacy actually accomplishes. On one hand, there are some people who believe that removing the iconography of slavery and intolerance is a subtle whitewashing of history that doesn’t actually solve the problem. With the lowering of the Stars and Bars, has the state of South Carolina eliminated prejudice from within its borders? When Yale etches another name into the edifice of its building, will that automatically make the campus less racist?
The answers to all of these questions are subjective, but there is only one reason that individuals would scream and yell about losing symbols of racism, bigotry and hate. It might just be that they are using the logic of children or abiding by the rules of white-peopleing. Perhaps they, like the designer of the rebel flag, believe that it will be “hailed by the civilized world as THE WHITE MAN’S FLAG.” Maybe they identify with Calhoun when he called slavery a “positive good.”
Maybe they were just doing it first.