Hey, White Americans. We Need to Talk.
Okay, fellow white people. We need to talk.
Let me tell you a story: I was an angry punk teenager. Not violent, but I did a shitton of trespassing, and I got into a lot of screaming matches with cops.
I have never been arrested.
I have never been violently attacked by police. Hell, I have never been seriously threatened by police.
I am fully aware that I’ve survived to adulthood largely on the benefits of my race.
When you are white in America, you get away with all sorts of shit. Have you read this account from a white dude who actively tried to get himself arrested? You should. It’s telling.
So, if that’s your main frame of reference for dealing with law enforcement, it is really easy to assume that when someone else gets targeted by the police, they must have done something really bad. After all, you know the police aren’t that petty, right? They’re there to help: That’s what TV tells you, what your teachers told you, what your parents told you. “If you’re in trouble, find a police officer. They’ll help.” And, y’know, if you’re white, most of the time, that’s probably true.
When you’re white in America, it is awfully easy to pretend that you don’t live in a country where the nonviolent physical presence of black people, especially black men, is considered sufficient threat to justify use of lethal force. It’s really easy to pretend that laws are enforced equally; that arrest rate has any demographic resemblance to actual crime rates; that the police are there to protect us from the bad guys.
And, I mean, I get that. It’s a lot more comfortable to pretend that safety correlates to virtue than to confront the ugly truth that a system that benefits you very directly does so at the cost of other people’s lives; that what you were taught was the just reward for being a good person is, in fact, the privilege of your skin. That’s a big part of why we work so hard to retcon narratives about how the black people our police murder must have been dangerous, highlight every casual infraction like it’s a killing spree. We are so desperate to believe that the system that feeds us is just.
It doesn’t feel good to acknowledge that stuff. It feels gross. A system we trusted—one we should be able to trust, that should work for the benefit and protection of everyone has made us accomplice to some deeply horrifying shit.
But here’s the thing:
This happened. This is happening. Not recognizing it; stonewalling and insulating ourselves in our little bubbles does not make it go away.
And not acknowledging it, not having asked for it, does not make us any less complicit, or any less responsible for owning and fixing this. We are actively benefitting from a fucked, corrupt, murderous system. That is on us. As it should be.
So educate yourself, get the tools, and start dismantling this fucker. You have the time: after all, no one’s shooting at your kids.
Privilege is the bandwidth to speak up and dismantle because you’re not in fear for your life. And there is no conscionable excuse for failing to use it.
I like selfies because I am in complete control of how I am being presented that is powerful like boys on facebook laugh at the “stupid girls taking mirror selfies” and media mocks “generation selfie” but maybe that is because girls are controlling how they are presenting images of themselves to the world and that is scary to them
This is a really good point, damn.
i just saw a woman pull food stamps out of her louis vuitton purse to pay for her groceries
but that’s none of my business
It was probably a fake.
Or an inheritance. Or a gift. I have a coach purse my auntie gave me but that means she’s the one with money, not me.
Or how about this: say she’s on food stamps and Medicaid. You have to keep a minimum amount in your bank account to keep qualifying for your health care (oh, and you’re also disabled, so that health care is important.) maybe she decided a designer purse would make a nice investment.
Maybe she bought herself a nice purse and then she lost her job and while she ‘s looking for a new one she, you know, kept carrying her purse to feel professional and look good at job interviews.
You don’t know her. You don’t know her story.
I’m sure the American public would rather have people in impoverished situations all get matching jumpsuits, a big red P embroidered on the back, and everyone would have to carry their keys and wallets and Chapstick in those thin throwaway plastic sacks you get buying your groceries in the dollar store. That way these people could be even MORE easily identified and discriminated against.
And remember, we’re living in an economy where a recently built WalMart had a higher rejection rate of applicants than Harvard University. That’s right. It’s easier to get admitted to Harvard than get a job at a brand new WalMart.
Judge not lest ye be judged.
And don’t be an asshole.
Why do so many people seem to find it impossible to think someone could have bought an expensive item when they were rich and then still have it once they’re poor? Or that they bought it used from a Goodwill? Or been gifted the item? Or even just put aside $5 every week until they had the money?
Because of the attitude (promoted, I have to say, mainly by conservatives and Fox News) that poor people don’t deserve nice things. That poor people should be punished for being poor. That if you need assistance, you’d damn well better be “poor ENOUGH” (whatever that means).
I’ve told my friend’s car story here before.
I recall Hanne Blank writing, years ago, about being in line behind a lady at the grocery store who was buying things obviously for a kid’s birthday— cake mix, frosting, candles, probably balloons?— and paying for them with food stamps/EBT. And having someone else in line comment audibly on what she thought of this woman buying such frivolous things instead of staples.
Hanne called the person out in no uncertain terms— “Right, because poor children don’t DESERVE to have birthdays!”— but that is exactly the attitude that person had. They don’t deserve it. They should be just barely surviving, and if they have enough to occasionally have a life beyond mere subsistence, then they don’t deserve ANY help, ever.
Also, considering that tumblr user asian claims to have seen someone pulling “food stamps” out of this expensive purse, rather than “an EBT card”, my guess is that they made the whole scenario up for notes anyway, since not many people who don’t have some kind of personal experience of getting food assistance realize that the literal stamps stopped being used ages ago.
Sometimes you need to remind yourself that you were the one who carried you through the heartache. You are the one who sits with the cold body on the shower floor, and picks it up. You are the one who feeds it, who clothes it, who tucks it into bed, and you should be proud of that. Having the strength to take care of yourself when everyone around you is trying to bleed you dry, that is the strongest thing in the universe.
1) You’re empowering.
2) I like your voice.
3) You’re strong.
4) I think your ideas/beliefs matter.
5) I’m so happy you exist.
6) More people should be listening to what you have to say.
7) You’re a very warm hearted person.
8) It’s nice seeing such kindness.
9) You’re very down to earth.
10) You have a beautiful soul.
11) You inspire me to become a better person.
12) Our conversations bring me a lot of joy.
13) It’s good to see someone care so much.
14) You’re so understanding.
15) You matter a lot to me.
16) You’re important even if you don’t think so.
17) You’re intelligent.
18) Your passion is contagious.
19) Your confidence is refreshing.
20) You restore my faith in humanity.
21) You’re great at being creative.
22) You’re so talented at ____.
23) I don’t get tired of you the way I get tired of other people.
24) You have great taste in ___.
25) I’m happy I stayed alive long enough to meet you.
26) I wish more people were like you.
27) You’re so good at loving people. 3:29 p.m. feel free to add to this! (via expresswithsilence)
i have limited sympathy for people who get told “no” after a public proposal because public proposals are pretty much emotionally abusive
if you think it’s kinda cute, you can discuss it beforehand and then do a staged one later
but putting someone on the spot in front of a crowd of strangers (or worse, friends) and demanding they give you a yes or no answer to a complex question which will affect the rest of their life is
really not okay