Recently I posted an article on Facebook about a white woman sharing her experience of being married to a Fijian man and how her husband and son have experienced a disgustingly large amount of racial hate crimes. In the midst of me sharing this post, I said: “white people are trash”. In the same regards as to how men and straight people are trash, due to their position of power and undenied privilege. In response to this, a fellow Facebook ‘friend’ (who is white) came back and replied, “tell you how white people aren’t trash… nice blanket statement hahaha” (note the white superiority during those “hahaha’s”). Clearly, he didn’t read the article. Clearly, he didn’t read how kids invited the Fijian’s son out, pretending to be his friend, just to batter him and call him various racial slurs. Clearly, he didn’t read about how the Fijian kid had to move schools because of the amount of racial hate he was getting. It is ridiculous to me that a WHOLE school, probably white dominated, as it was in Scotland, allowed racism to exist, INCLUDING TEACHERS, to occur and not do anything about it. Do you know what that looks like? Students racially attacking one boy? And instead of them dealing with it as a school, their solution was to move him out? That to me is a demonstration of how white people are so quick to avoid racism in hope that it doesn’t affect their white guilt. To me As for this ‘friend’ who was quick to defend his whiteness, his reaction is an example on how no matter our experience, a white people are able to change the narrative to defend their white guilt, whilst also somehow making them the victim. I am tired of this reaction.
“That’s racist towards white people”
First of all, let me tie my hair back because we about to lay things down *pulls hair back*
Let’s get this out the way and just say that the definition you read online, which by the way was written by white men, is a definition that was written in order to include white people and take away the fact that it was Y’ALL who invented the term in the first place, so y’all can feel some type of way up there. The term ‘racism’ was invented in the 17th Century in order for white people to differentiate skin colour and features from those of colour, where in the racial hierarchy, white people have always been on top. So, since then and now, the term has always held some sort of white supremacist undertones.
Since white people are placed superior in the structure of racism, it impossible for any person of colour to be racist towards white people. People of colour can be prejudice towards white people, but to be racist is a different thing, as there are no larger system that exist to oppress white people. So don’t put too much trust in the dictionary’s definition of racism, I mean, the oxford dictionary defines ketchup as “spicy”, so like, not really trustworthy.
“Not ALL white people are trash/racist”
Yes, I know that not ALL white people are evil beings, of course that’s not what I mean. But let’s compare it to this:
If I were to say “humans are trash”, we would agree that this statement is true due to the trauma and evil we put this world through. We kill, we have wars, we massacre various animals and species for the sake of land development and dump on spaces that altogether, is harmful to us, the planet and all of God’s little creatures. However, that does not mean that as individuals we aren’t nice people, I mean take Marsha P. Johnson for example, the woman who ignited the fight for LGBT+ rights and is basically the reason for gay marriage.
So, with my statement of “ALL white people are trash”, I know as individuals, some are great, but with the history and impact colonialism has had on those of colour, you would have to agree that white people have not been the greatest. Even with the aftermath of imperialism and colonialism, you can see how white people have managed to put themselves on top of all social structures and benefited off things, like racism (and no, benefiting off racism doesn’t mean you’re racist, it just means the existence of racism doesn’t impact you as much as those of colour).
“There are white people who fight against racism”
Yeah, I know, but are you? I know there are some white people who are like “omg, treat people of colour equally”, but that doesn’t mean that they as white people are still not benefiting from the structures of racism. This is where we explore the term “white privilege“, mmmm yumm!
White privilege is a societal system where all white people benefit from, simply being white. You may say “oh, but I’m a broke white person”, yet when you step out into the open, when you turn on your tv, when you open up magazines and newspapers, you will see that white people are well represented in every way possible. Heck, even in movies about people of colour, you have managed to put white actors in those roles rather than just putting the people who actually represent those communities.
White privilege goes on from just being about being well represented in the media, it goes deep into other sectors like social, economic and political, where the distribution and representation are hardly ever equal. I mean, that was one of the reasons why the Grenfell fire happened; not only was it gentrification, but that in itself has an aspect of white privilege. From, being rich and white enough to move wherever you want. From being white to come into a space and then dominate it and change the environment to suit ‘your kind’. It’s these small things that you, as white people, need to take notice of when existing. We are not here to make you feel guilty about being white and your privilege, however, we do want you to use that superpower to allow others to be able to have the same privileges as you, to the extent where it’s not just white privilege, but privilege for all.
If you’re still struggling to understand where I’m coming from, just read Peggy McIntosh’s now-famous 1988 piece “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack“. It’ll give you an insight on white privilege, from a perspective of a poor white person. It will differentiate race from class in the case of privilege and even offer you examples of other type of privileges, like gender, sex, ability, citizenship. In reading into your own privilege, you’ll understand how other people are going through experiences you have never had to deal with, so like, help a brother/sister out once you fully understand.
To conclude, I know that not ALL white people are trash, but if you’re one of those people who are watching the injustice that is struck upon those of colour and you do nothing about it, well guess what, you’re no better than those KKK clans. A person who watches a murder and stays quiet about it is just as much a culprit as the murderer. So when I say “trash”, I’m just referring to those who are benefiting of a certain social structure and aren’t using their privilege to help those below. Now take that superpower and really do something about racism, we’d appreciate any form of alliance.