The biggest reason why I despise Tim Wise has nothing to do with the validity of his work. His works are usually legitimate because the ideas expressed in his books are the result of centuries of hard work done by brown and black people all over the world. When he talks racism, usually what he says is on point BECAUSE he is simply recycling other people’s (minorities) concepts, ideas, experiences. The fact that he makes money telling people something that they could discover from talking to POC or reading works by POC makes me angry - but it’s not the reason why Tim Wise makes me so unhappy. Tim Wise talks about racism, and he gets a gold star. He is paid to talk about racism in this country. He profits from this discussion. I’d say that Tim Wise, as a white “anti-racist,” has led a pretty good life because of his work.
I talk about race, and I’m shunned. I’m told I’m too radical, too angry, too political. I lose friends. I alienate people. Being a brown anti-racist is a lonely and stressful life. I see racism everywhere because it IS everywhere, and no one will listen. I am honestly screaming into the wind 99% of the time, hoping something sticks, hoping I get someone to THINK for five seconds. Hearing racist shit, it physically pains me. But I have to hear it and discuss all the time because ignoring it is the only more painful than immersing myself in the struggle. Tim Wise will never experience just how hard it is to be anti-racist, and that pisses me the fuck off. I will never support him.
I don’t expect white people to give a fuck about the black community. I don’t expect white people to give a fuck when an unarmed black kid is murdered in cold blood. It comes as no surprise when white people go out of their way to excuse racism. I’ve been brown for damn near 21 years and I’m used to that shit, trust.
But I don’t think I’ll ever get used to other PoC throwing black people under the bus. It baffles me how some brown people will do anything to make sure white people don’t view them as “too angry” or “too political.” Non-whites need to realize that they might be seen as “acceptable minorities” if they white knight for Zimmerman but at what cost? White folks will turn on you in a minute, and you’re really trying to screw over your fellow brown people for Becky’s approval?? I guess Zora was right when she said all my skinfolk ain’t my kinfolk. Y’all need to stop.
I am a black man and I am still alive. And, yes, I am a revolutionary because I daily choose to live! But I am a black man whose black mama’s body and spirit was terrorized by another black man’s hands and words. Sexism and patriarchy are not part of the revolution. I am a gender-maneuvering gay black man whose spirit was terrorized by other straight black men. Heterosexism and heteronormativity are not a part of our revolution. I am a black man who has ignored the plights of so many of my brothers. Separation because of difference and elitism based on class is not a part of the revolution. Indeed, my living is your living, is your father’s living, is my father’s living, is my mother’s living, is the stranger’s living, and it is the revolution.
being brown is such a huge part of my identity; it influences the way i interact with other people, the way i approach learning, the way i view myself, my self-esteem, my self-worth, my relationships, my goals, my dreams, my humor, my character, my capacity for resilience, and my capacity for love.
but when i’m friends with a white person or when i date a white person i feel pressured to close off that part of myself. when i’m with white folks i lack substance. i become small. i become quiet. i get pissed off.
the legacy of slavery, the roots of racism, the inequality in this country’s very structure - these things aren’t theoretical abstract concepts. they don’t stay in the classrooms. i don’t stop thinking about these things when I leave socio 101. and when i meet a white person i can put a face to these concepts, to my oppression, i can attach a face to the years of self-hate i endured as a curly headed brown girl growing up in the South. white people make me angry. even the nice ones. my cousins, my family. i feel so robbed of my agency. i feel so powerless against whiteness. i don’t want to be the angry black girl but i really don’t have a choice.
We still demand a queer political agenda that centralizes the experiences of prisoners, poor people, immigrants, trans people, and people with disabilities. We reject a gay agenda that pours millions of dollars into campaigns for access to oppressive institutions for a few that stand to benefit.
This is why I cannot stand behind gay marriage or behind the queer community as a whole. Ask yourselves if you want to be part of a community that prioritizes marriage over the rights and protection of the poor, the black & brown, and the disenfranchised. The gay community needs to step it up or get out of my face.
Of course I emphasize different things. Doctor, history has treated my people differently than yours.
Richard Delgado, professor of Civil Rights law
I honestly don’t know what mental hoops you have to jump through in order to get to a place where having light skin somehow means being white, but a lot of you all seem to confuse the two. There are ways to acknowledge that lighter skin usually garners a different reaction than darker skin, and that being closer to the ideal (white) has privileges and advantages without erasing the fact that a light skinned person black person is still black. I’m not going to feed into an Us. vs. Them scenario, where light skin is pitted against dark skin. And fuck you if that’s your plan.
Being told that I’m not black enough by black people is so fucking hurtful. There just aren’t words. I’m not your enemy, so please stop trying to erase my identity in the name of racial justice.
I recently had a discussion with a brown friend of mine, and we were discussing the dissonance required when dealing with sexist, homophobic, or racist family members. We both have no shortage of those in our family. Usually, because the universe loves fucking with us, our closest loved ones are usually the ones who are the most… well, ignorant, to say the least. We also discussed a lot of the rhetoric used in social justice world and the anger and hatred that so many activists feel towards our more discriminatory family members. Both she and I are non-straight, non-white women. I’m from the Southern United States, and she is from a different country, far away from mine (I’m leaving her place of birth out of this, just in case someone she knows reads this) Regardless, we’re both minorities in this world. We’ve both been angry so many times at Whiteness, at patriarchy, at straight privilege. Yes, I’m sure she has felt hatred toward her oppressors and her fellow minorities who hold oppressive views. Fuck, I know I have. I’ve hated so many people and organizations and political parties, and I apologized for my hatred just as much as they apologized for theirs. Hint: they didn’t.
Still, as my friend and I talked about our respective family members, I couldn’t help but feel her pain at being involved in a type of social justice fueled by anger and hatred. This hatred and anger is inadvertently being directed towards the people she loves, people who are just as much victims as they are perpetrators. I feel torn every day by having a family whose beliefs run counter to my fucking existence, but they are my family. I feel like such a bad womanist or social activist or decent human being because I can’t hold on to this anger anymore. I don’t like being pitted against men of color, other women, my family and my friends, but I feel like a lot of my social justice circles expect me to be able to do look injustice right in its ugly face and fight it; how am I supposed to do that when the face belongs to my mother, my father, my sister, my best friend? I just wish more people, feminists, equalists, womanists, etc. tried to remember the kind of emotional strength it takes to exist this way, and why so many break off from these circles. I know that, personally, I’m just not strong enough for it. It doesn’t mean we’re crying for the plights of white men everywhere, and it doesn’t mean we accept sexism and other isms in our lives. It just means that some of us can’t handle being apart of your revolution. I have to let go of my hatred because it’s poisoning my relationships with my family and my friends, and it’s poisoning me. My anger needs to evolve into a desire to educate and listen, something I feel is lacking right now in my social activist neck of the woods.
And before I get anon hate, let me say that the anger and hatred you feel as a minority is understandable, and I’m not here to dictate to anyone how to survive in this world as a member of the LGBTQA community, as a woman, or as a person of color. This is just my own personal revelation.