You’re Not Special; Just White

Yesterday on Facebook, I came across an article from The Wall Street Journal (I didn’t add the link cause it’s not free to read the whole article and I know how y’all are) about a woman who sat out of the workforce for two years and came back to end up CEO.

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Apparently, her story is supposed to inspire the rest of us. Similar to Sheryl Sandberg with her book, “Lean In” and all these other people who have pulled off career feats, these people allegedly show us the power of focus, tenacity, and intention.

Unfortunately for The Wall Street Journal, that lady they reported on (Deanna Mulligan off Guardian Life Insurance), Sheryl Sandberg and the rest of them, there is actually no magic here.

They aren’t special. They’re just white.

At one time, I had a friend who is an attorney. I remember her telling our friend group (confidentially, of course), that she was conducting a deposition at a hospital. One of the people she had to depose was the VP of the hospital. They opened with a line of questioning on this VP’s credentials.

Two years of college at a community college, no degree, no work history in the medical field nor hospital administration.

No, she didn’t start as the janitor at the hospital and work her way up. She came in as the VP making more than the fucking president.

She was also a white woman.

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*sits back and folds arms and re-reads that shit and gets mad all over again thinking about the highly qualified Black people that applied and interviewed for that job but they didn’t get it cause….*

Black women are the most educated demographic in the country, yet we can’t seem to pull off these dynamic feats in the workplace where we are allowed to take time off to raise kids, recover from divorce, go through an extended illness, etc. and come back and slide into 6-figure positions as if we never missed a day even though our education and previous experience suggests that we are a fit.

Nobody “takes a chance” on the high-achieving Black woman with potential. Instead, we get bombarded with questions about what we’ve been doing the last two years and statements that express doubt about whether or not we are capable of performing the job tasks adequately. If we’re offered a position, it’s usually some administrative support role with a shitty salary under the supervision of someone who shouldn’t be left alone with a goldfish.

Almost a year ago, I sat being interviewed by two non-Black women. In that interview, the following statements were made:

“You’re really confident.”

“I believe you could do well at this job.”

“That was a great idea!” (followed by her writing down my idea that I’m sure she used}

“You seem really competent.”

After an hour of that, one of the same interviewers said, “I’m sure you can do the job well, but I don’t know…”

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Mmmkay.

About four months later, I saw that the job was back up on the company’s website so apparently, the less qualified candidate they hired (I already know) didn’t meet their expectations.

For all the kvetching that white women do about how unfairly they are treated in the workplace, they still do better than non-white women and even when they “make it,” forget that 1) white privilege was likely a huge part of their rise and 2) there are women of color who should be where they are but aren’t and never will be because white men have convinced themselves that hiring a white woman in upper management is what Affirmative Action is all about.

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This is from an article the NY Times wrote about the fact that this partner class was so…white.

Deanna Mulligan noted that her time off taught her focus and made her realize that life is not a straight line. No shit, Sherlock! Black people could have told you that because no matter how hard we work, no matter how educated we are, we are faced with the prospect that people like yourself can and will shoot past us simply because of systemic racism.

Let me back up one minute. Click here and scroll down to where it says “Leadership” and see all the white faces that run the show over there.

Am I saying she’s not qualified for her position? Not necessarily. But what I know is that a Black person can’t be out of a job for 6 months without interviewers behaving as if all the knowledge they previously acquired has leaked from their ear and evaporated, thus disqualifying them from the position. What I know is that for all the articles I’ve seen on LinkedIn about not staying in a position for too long because you risk becoming stale and unattractive to future employers, every Black person I know who has tried this is believed to be a “job-hopper” by white interviewers and passed over.

So I guess these employment hacks, like “leaning in” and bouncing every 10 months only work for white people; the men first, and then the women.

I watched this video where Deanna Mulligan talks about her “unorthodox” rise. It’s only two minutes but you’ll hear the delusion I’m mentioning in this blog post. “Find your passion,” “be yourself” (since when has being yourself EVER worked for Black women outside of rap?), “hard work” (Black women are and have always been the hardest working people on the planet – we have no choice).

In that video, the claim is made that she mentors women. I wonder how many of her mentees are Black.

To the people who’ll say she probably had good connections, I’ll offer this: because Black people are often boxed out of the positions that qualify someone to be a “good connection,” we’re back at square one. The fact is that white people are in a position to close ranks at whim and if they want to hire the mediocre son of a golfing buddy over the brilliant Black MBA, that’s what they do (which is why I don’t listen to white people who claim Black people want a handout when they are the original makers and takers of handouts).

By the way, by the time I post this, I would have written an e-mail to corporate headquarters asking why every single person listed under the “Leadership” heading on Guardian Life Insurance’s website is white. Deanna Mulligan is the CEO and the other woman is head of Human Resources and well, we all know about white women being in charge of Human Resources.

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Here We Go Again: Justin Trudeau

Another day, another white person that most people liked being exposed for Blackface.

Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, was exposed for wearing Brown and Blackface on three separate occasions in the past. 

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As usual, he has issued the obligatory apology and talked about how he shoulda’ known better (cue Monica). 

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When I first heard about the story, I didn’t even bat an eye (or at least, I don’t think I did). I went on about my business. I mean, a white person doing some racist shit? At this point, it’s like your little cousin asking if you have games on your phone. That shit is gonna’ happen; probably more than once.

Trudeau, in a press conference on the matter said a lot but in part, he was reluctant when asked if what we’ve all seen were the only times he had donned brown or blackface. The Week reports that this was his answer: 

“”I am wary of being definitive about this because the recent pictures that came out I had not remembered,” Trudeau said, adding that because he comes “from a place of privilege,” he has had a “massive blindspot.” These revelations come a week after Trudeau launched his re-election campaign. –Brendan Morrow”

When I started out, I was going to write about how I’m tired of Black folks, in particular, being shocked and appalled at white people being racist or doing and saying racist things. I mean, it’s been 400 years and we didn’t get over here because our good friend Connor invited us to visit and we loved it so much we decided to stay. 

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But that piece of Trudeau’s statement is what struck me. I want to talk about this “blind spot” that whites always claim to have when they get caught in racism. 

I think it’s bullshit.

African-Americans especially are very expressive people who are strongly tied to tradition. A whole lot of what we do and know comes from learning from our foreparents. Even the things that we do and know intuitively come from this place that is inexplicably in us such that we just know what we know. 

Though I don’t believe that white people are as spiritual, you’ll never be able to convince me that they don’t know the same history we know. They’ve had no problem perpetuating that same 1619 racism generation after generation. There’s a reason that 18-year-old Rebecca knows Blackface is wrong when she gets caught on Snapchat. They know using “the N-word” to refer to Black people is wrong at a very young age and that’s why the solemn affirmation of “I’m not racist” and “it was a mistake” starts flowing almost by rote when they are exposed. There’s a reason they still skip us in line at the deli counter, or refuse to move out of our path when we have the right-of-way, or interrupt us as if we don’t exist in public spaces….exactly like their ancestors did. 

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Yes. She learned probably by the time she was 15 but here she is on her way to 50 acting like she learned yesterday. 

Just like Black people teach our kids about slavery and Jewish people teach their children about Hitler and the Holocaust, white people teach their progeny their legacy as well. Now, how they teach it is up for debate, but none of them can say that they have a “blind spot” or didn’t know better in reference to Blackface. To do so is intellectually dishonest.

I honestly believe that white people just don’t care. They’d rather ask for forgiveness because doing so is an easier game than confronting the grave underbelly of what Blackface signifies enough to punish oneself for even thinking that it might be okay to do. 

I wish for once that when a white person is busted, instead of the typical “I’m not racist/I didn’t know better” script, they’d say, “I did that shit. I knew it was wrong but I did it anyway because I wanted to and thought it was funny. I have no excuse.”

If more white people were honest, I think that’d be a huge step forward for race relations. 

Elizabeth Warren: White People Are Never White When It’s Time To Address Racism

This week, Elizabeth Warren issued an apology to a Native American tribe when it was found out that on her bar registration in the 80s, she listed her race as “American Indian.” If you’ll recall, a couple of years ago, Warren declared herself Native American and Tronald Dump (intentional) made fun of her about it, much to the chagrin of many a Liberal.

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Maybe four months ago, after DNA testing, it was revealed that Warren is anywhere between 0.1 and 2% Native American at most (6-10 generations ago according to this report). I don’t recall what her reaction was at the time (and I’m not finna’ look because this is a blog, not a scientific journal) but I know I laughed like a humyena© (human + hyena…get it?!) and so did many people of beautiful brown hue because we knew what white people didn’t and that was that the results would turn out exactly as they did.

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Fast-forward to earlier this week. Warren issued a perfectly-timed apology for calling herself “American Indian” and I’m pretty sure it’s due to the speculation that she will throw her hat in the 1st-grade prize grab bag that is the Democratic race for the 2020 presidential election. Warren made a point to say that she was apologizing because tribes decide tribal citizenship. Those of you who can read between the lines know to chuckle and shake your damn head at that line.

The reason this is concerning is that whenever the topic of racism comes up, it’s white people’s natural default maneuver to claim some other heritage or religion to deflect their receipt of white privilege and deny that they have racist philosophies or have engaged in racist practices. The reason that Black people were not surprised when that DNA test blew up Warren’s spot was because 99% of us have been in conversations with white people about racism, prejudice, or inequality and heard them claim that they are actually “part” Native American (Cherokee…it’s ALWAYS Cherokee) (or Jewish) and therefore cannot be a party to racism because their pale, straight-haired, blue-eyed, aquiline-nosed selves aren’t even really white.

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I went to college in Oklahoma. By the end of my first year, I had gotten my fill of white people claiming Native American heritage to explain (without anybody asking them) why they were part of the minority scholarship class or were receiving some type of stipend to make their lives easier while in college. I would usually look at them and then walk away because I knew that it was all bullshit. Plus, I’m Black. I’m still owed reparations with interest in the names of the estates of my ancestors for building this place and making white people comfortable enough to pretend to be another race so they can continue to knock POC, particularly Black people, down several more pegs.

I also had a Black friend while I was in college. Her great-grandfather was at one time honored for his work as a Native American elder. I saw the pictures. He was a real Native American. She and her family had been trying to get their official standing within the tribe. They couldn’t…because they are Black.

See, here’s the thing: white people don’t realize how pervasive and insidious their anti-Blackness is. Their brand of anti-Blackness, where they don’t believe the treacherousness of their ancestors is still alive in them today, where they don’t want to hear how their past actions have negatively affected African-Americans generationally, where they even think they can be Black better than actual Black people, has seeped into the psyche of other races as well. That’s why my Black college friend couldn’t get her tribal membership approved (though she was the spitting image of her Native American ancestor), but Rebecca with the blue eyes and honey blonde curly perm could proudly state that she was Native American while knowing 0 actual Native American people, participating in none of the customs, celebrating none of the hallmarks, and speaking none of the languages. Even true non-white people are anti-Black and complicit (to varying degrees) in systemic racism against Black people.

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Back to Warren, not only was what she did dishonest, but it’s harmful. If I had to bet, Black people are some of the most “mixed” people on the planet (due to centuries of rape) but we don’t get to opt out of being Black when the circumstances don’t suit us. We don’t get to get the job at the 99% white tech startup by declaring we’re actually the 15% Anglo or 6% Chinese part of us. We don’t get to become 11% Greek before we walk into that job interview, or courtroom, or hospital so that we can have a better chance of a successful experience.

Further, if suddenly the visual standard of a race is the whitest with all the conveniences and privileges that come with that skin, where does that leave the authentic members of a race when it’s time to get real about systemic bias and change in virtually every industry in this world? What happens to Jacy Runningwolf when “Native American” now applies to Jessica Richardson, the random white woman who “pulled herself up by her bootstraps”? What happens to Tamika Jenkins when “Black” now applies to Susan Q. Whitewoman who has been able to step in front of more educated and experienced Black women all her life?

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White people need to get real about race in this country and that includes giving up the game of Psychological Brown/Blackface they like to play to avoid being held accountable.

 

 

 

2520s: The Scourge

Scourge

[skurj]

noun

1.

a whip or lash, especially for the infliction of punishment or torture.

2.

a person or thing that applies or administers punishment or severe criticism.

3.

a cause of affliction or calamity:

Disease and famine are scourges of humanity.

 

I don’t have a clever entrée for this piece so I’m just going to go for it. White people are a scourge upon humanity. I know it. You know it. They know it. As addiction science teaches us, the first step is admitting the problem. I’m naming the problem: white people.

In the last two weeks or so, those of us who read have read several accounts of white people calling the police on Black people for doing innocuous things from napping in a college common area, to barbecuing, to not waving and smiling at them (if that’s not some early 19th century “yessa’ master” racist bullshit, I don’t know what is). These incidents are not only infuriating because they are clearly raced-based, but they demonstrate that the dark underbelly of white racism is alive, well, and going nowhere. Further, white people apparently relish in it.

 

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Sarah Braasch: the woman who called the police on fellow Black yale classmate for sleeping in a common area.

 

Most Black people can relay at least one experience of white people being hall monitors, getting into their business, and turning a benign situation into something way more serious than it needed to be. These white people didn’t do it because they really cared, but because, just as in the days of slavery, they felt the need to flex their muscle and show the power they have as white people (this is why any white person who says they don’t understand that racism = prejudice + power is lying).

 

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Jemma Beale: woman who lied about 15 rapes over the course of 3 years. k

 

These days it’s worse, as, in the last 6 years or so, there has been a barrage of unjust police killings of African-Americans and even white citizens exacting their racism on Black citizens; even children like Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis. With the acquittal of the murderer of Trayvon Martin and the judicial system’s failure to prosecute police officers who killed people (children included) for literally doing nothing wrong at all, white people have received a contract renewal to continue terrorizing Black people at whim.

 

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Ronald Ritchie: man who called the police on John Crawford and lied; leading to Crawford’s execution by police. 

 

I think we all knew that white people are crazy; and by crazy, I don’t mean mentally ill but more like a general malevolence that’s so pervasive that it’s almost undetectable. It’s a depravity so ancient that it has masks, and costumes, and is able to bend and shift better than any CGI sci-fi creature.

This wickedness walks amongst us every single day in the form of those whom we are taught to trust like teachers, firefighters, police officers, doctors and nurses, and even clergy.

But that’s not all.

This brand of atrociousness is so treacherous, scornful and arrogant that it will work its barbarity and then turn around cry that it has been harmed.

 

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The racist white woman who called the police on Black people barbecuing and then started crying that SHE was the one being harassed. 

 

Over the past few days, there have been think pieces written about why white people call the police on Black people for any damn reason. Some suggest that it’s white people’s fear of Black people that cause them to run to the police. Some suggest that as gentrification becomes more and more the order of the day, whites see calling the police on Blacks as a way to lower crime and protect their newly Columbused neighborhoods. There’s also been a suggestion that it’s merely a way to preserve the racial hierarchy.

First of all, why would whites fear Blacks unless whites had done something to Blacks that would merit Black people’s disdain of white people? According to white people, all their bullshit is “in the past” and we should “get over it.” So, why be afraid?

Gentrification? They could just go back to where they came from (advice they like to give Black people all the time) instead of threatening the people who were there before they even thought about coming or stay out in the first place. I mean, if the place is so crime-ridden, why’d they come? Seems like a simple enough solution to me.

As for preserving racial hierarchy…I thought racism was dead and a figment of Black people’s imagination because we don’t want to work hard and want to play the race card and blame white people for all of our problems, que no?

I have another theory. White people are just no good. En masse, collectively, in sum, no good. Their affinity for unabashedly causing problems wherever they go and then feigning ignorance, heroism, or good intention when called on it reeks of an arrogance that’s annoying at best and dangerous at worst. Their ability to lie so smoothly, without so much as a blink of their eyelash, is the stuff of any Black person’s worst nightmare.

 

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Carolyn Bryant: the woman who lied on 14-year-old Emmett Till and caused his death at the hands of a white male lynch mob.

 

What to do? They aren’t going anywhere and even though their reproductive numbers are declining, I don’t foresee them not existing any time soon.

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I support what I’ve seen a few tweets propose. Black people should start randomly calling the police on white people. Little Emily standing in the booth behind you at Chili’s and staring at you? Call the police. Who knows what she’s plotting? If 12-year-old Tamir Rice can be killed by the police for playing with a toy gun after one of them called the police on him, little Emily needs to be taken in for questioning at the least. Susan holding up the line at Bath & Body Works because she can’t combine coupons? Call the police. She’s being disruptive and trying to commit coupon fraud. Chad, Jr. having a tantrum at Kroger? Call the police. He’s disturbing the peace and his parents are accessories to his crime for not putting his ass in check. White waitress at Waffle House taking too long to serve your food? Call the police. It’s attempted murder because you’re starving and she doesn’t seem to care.

Call the police and then walk away as if what you’ve done has no consequence just like they do.

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People who treat other people as less than human must not be surprised when the bread they have cast on the waters comes floating back to them, poisoned.” – James Baldwin