Write Right White Words

Write Right White Words
Written by Grandpa Dinosaur

Sometimes, Davita and I are told that our writing is “unprofessional” (I admit I write like unprofessional… I’m 22) and that it should be re-written to be more softer or “easier to read.” Unfortunately, a majority of these people who have a problem with our honest, truthful writing style and want us to “tone it down” are White.

I was told recently, when commenting on another with my personal internet art journals, was told that I was insensitive when it came to people feelings.

My answer to the solution in dealing with that sensitivity is to not say anything when asked questions about Race, Feminism, my own super-personal ideas about Sex or anything that might conflict with any of this person’s sensitive feelings. Nothing at all, gather my belongings, pay the bill and leave.

And yes, it would make me look stupid for ignoring a conversation and yes, I know that not saying anything would allow the other person to dominate and gain validation for all their ideas (right or wrong), but in a situation like that anything I would say would be meaningless.

I prefer to say nothing because everything I would say would be perceived as a personal attack or an attack against an idea, and it is my right to deconstruct or question any idea I don’t understand in order to gain a better understanding.

But to respond and have to deal with my side of the conversation to be perceived as “insensitive” is bullshit, I just say it how it is. It’s not my fault the person can’t handle a response or argument to something they’re just said. It’s their fault. There’s a difference between being sensitive and unable to deal with shit and have accountability.

To me it spelled out many things, and much upping of the fuckery of which I would not put:

  1. I couldn’t say anything, and if I did I would have to prune a lot of things I would want to say and NOT say those things for the sake that they would be INSENSITIVE. Nuope. Not doing it. I’m not censoring myself.
  2. The sensitive person may be hurt by what I have to say, but doesn’t take consideration that what I have said is a response to to what they have said and they do not care about or want any repercussions. Only approval and an issue to continue. By validating, I would be approving. I don’t that for no one, even Davita.
  3. Again, my words would not be considered anything valid and would be taken as a personal attack.
  4. I have standards. I would rather walk out of a conversation so I could go and have the very same conversation, without the worry or problem of personal offense, I could get called out and not feel like I was it was because of someone taking personal offense and something great would happen.

I don’t care if I’m wrong, I care if I can’t say something, anything at all if it is wrong and have someone say something wrong too and THAT be fair instead. Because I could make an apology, be all cool, move on, start a better conversation with the same tone with someone else, build a better relationship with OTHER people—but I’m unwilling to sacrifice what I have to say and the vision I have for the sake of being more sensitive.

When one person talks, expects the person to listen and before hearing a reply—I don’t think that’s a conversation. I think it’s a rant, a one sided rant with no repercussions or accountability. I don’t think people should be allowed to talk without understanding that what people may say may hurt someone’s feelings.

I sent an e-mail asking Davita Cuttita to tell me what I said was wrong, and there are times where I am the only differing opinion and I wonder if I am crazy and I need to know if I am wrong. She told me it was a symptom of something deeper, something I couldn’t and didn’t want to admit. Those two words that no coloured person trying to gain an anti-racist but finds out that he/she has it: White Privilege.

I’ve commented on this issue before about censoring, babying and sweet-talking when dealing with those with privilege. I understood from that conversation that one should not talk down to White people when confronting their White Privilege and when questioning their anti-racist views because they are smart enough to know better.

But White people understand, to be anti-racist and TRULY anti-racist, you have to have a standard, maintain it and not make exceptions when you see a flaw that goes against your anti-racist standards.

You can make a mistake, but realize your mistakes. Pick up, and keep going. Keep that standard up. Make it the standard. Make people know you have a standard when it comes to your anti-racist beliefs.

I have to be anti-racist too, you know! I have to be anti-racist when dealing with White people. I do my part too. I check my self before and after wrecking to see if my standard is met.

You know why, because I have to set an example. And kids, people, neighbours, people have been giving me more respect and more responsibility to be a good example.

I’m rather tired of people trying to befriend me, under the guise or anti-racism and then being inconsistent with their ideas. I’m also tired of people claim they are anti-racists, but are unabashed snobs when it comes to class and standing. It’s one think to have personal standards, it’s another thing to think you are above someone and you are better than them. Don’t ride on my colour, don’t ride on my anti-racist platform, don’t ride on my friendship. Have some accountability and responsibility.

Free speech is not free. It comes with the heavy weight of social responsibility and accountability.

When I talk, I take in consideration that my words can easily be misunderstood but I always try to clarify and make amends. I always will. I try to talk to and not down as much as possible.

When I write, I write to express my feelings thus the words I write are an expression of my feelings. I understand I can say the wrong things at times, and I can take ownership when I say the wrong things and do the wrong things, make amends and apologize.

I’ve put a lot of thought into how I communicate and try to communicate with our readers, I’m glad I am able to have a lot of dialogue and more and more readers are commenting.

I’ll admit I am actually shy, if you haven’t notice if you do e-mail I not usually the one who responds and get the message second hand from Davita. But I’m not shy when you leave a comment, and I’ll be a little more responsive.

I will continue to refuse to censor myself.

Never compromise yourself.

Never compromise your feelings.

Never re-write who you are.

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~ by l on September 4, 2008.

8 Responses to “Write Right White Words”

  1. I love your writing style and Davita’s. And I don’t think you’re insensitive. Calling people out for racism or white privilege is not the same as being insensitive to people’s feelings, and if they don’t realise that they need white privilege 101.

  2. The unfortunate things is that some of my “friends” seem to be mad at me for grilling too hard. It’s another real life event! 😄

    Yes, I really need you to tell me to ditch my friends.

    Davita Cuttita is only one person. She needs your help to tell me that I’m not the one being the asshole and I need to ditch my friends.

  3. It really sucks how in conversations between white and non-white people, especially ones about race, the non-white person usually has to do so much more self-checking, if the conversation is eveb going to continue. Because if they don’t, then the conversation often stops when the overly sensitive, or judgmental and supposedly more “objective” white person clams up or walks away. Unfortunately, what it takes to get these kinds of white folks to have more RESPECT, that thing they usually don’t even realize that they’re lacking, is denying part of yourself by talking and acting like they want you to (if, that is, you’re non-white and you do have some non-typically-white ways of talking and acting).

    One thing I can say about this kind of white person is that they’re used to being in power in such conversations (something else they normally don’t even realize). When someone who’s not white starts getting serious about the topic, and if that means they start seeming “aggressive” or “emotional” to their white listener, then that white person actually feels like she’s losing control and power. THAT’S an odd feeling for a white person dealing with a non-white person–even a scary feeling.

    It’s not your job to tell us just how we’re being assholes this way, but still, I for one appreciate your efforts. Some white people are reading, and listening, and learning.

  4. I figured it’s much. It’s hard on me to tell a White person that they have White privilege or they might have racist views even if they might be trying real hard to be anti-racist. It’s hard to say it in a way that the White person will understand and not get offended.

    I’m glad I can have this conversation with you, it’s been real hard on me to have real live conversations with White people (and White Feminists) and really testing my self-confidence. If I didn’t have real self-confidence, I wouldn’t believe that I even should speak up on race issues and call a friend out on questionable ethics. Being able to speak as myself to White people is one of my luxuries being on PDDP and it shouldn’t have to be.

    It’s a real scary thing when you realize that a White person is afraid of your power and intelligence, even scarier when the White person begins to become upset that their anti-racist views are being questioned.

    [Tangent of which you can skip:]
    I really should explain the situation that occurred that pushed me to write this for better clarification:
    Recently, one of my old High School Friends started to write on a web-journal about how she was in conflict with a Facebook Site over it’s content. The Facebook group was a collection of Offensive Motivational Posters. The image that had offended her was a picture of an American car plastered with Anti-Islam and Iraq bumper stickers. However in her defense against why she was against the groups, of all the pictures she posted she didn’t post the picture that offended her.

    She posted a images (not links until prompted) of a hanging Black men with the caption reading “well hung Black men,” she posted a picture of a bar of soap from the group, that said “Jews put to good use.” These were all undoubtedly hate messages, but in the end she wrote: “I’m not going to report this group because I believe in free speech.”

    And it made me really question her anti-racist views, because if she saw these hate messages as “free speech” what else was free speech? Why was it necessary to post the type of pictures that offended me, but not the pictures that offended her?

    It wasn’t until I carded her that she even reported the site, and still I sit here and I wonder: “why didn’t she post the picture that offended her. The picture that offended her due to it being anti-American that was so important that would launch this tirade.”
    [Tangent end]

    When you pointed out that she wanted to be in control of the conversation, it’s a rather hard thing for me to admit always being told I was in the wrong and making a scene with these things. I write and talk like this to other White Anti-racists and they seemed to have trouble at first, but eventually didn’t take personal offense after they understood where I was coming from.

    I actually have huge difficulties due to being told that I was out of line when talking to White people, and that I was always the one being mean and aggressive.

    When I look back, I was doing the right thing, it’s just that White people wanted to be right and didn’t want there to be in conflict in beliefs.

    The courage I didn’t have to speak back then, I have now and I use. It cut me deeply being called insensitive, not because I was, but because I was being told I was insensitive in a attempt to be silenced. That’s why I chose to leave that conversation and continue it with White people who understand that I’m just being truthful.

    So I’m glad that you and other White people listen and read and respond, because it would be harder to continue not knowing that my true intents couldn’t be heard.

  5. Sorry it took me awhile to get back to this, gd. It sounds like you’re making real progress toward feeling better about dealing with white folks, especially with realizing that you’re not being out of line when people tell you that you are. You’re just being out of THEIR line, their lines, for what’s proper and what’s not. For what makes them comfortable and uncomfortable. They don’t much care about YOUR comfort when they say that. It’s great to hear that you’re thinking more about that for yourself. At the same time, it’s also good to gather, as I said in my previous comment, that you still reach out to white folks who still aren’t caught up yet (even though that’s not your “job,” and even though you sometimes want to leave the conversation). They could use it, and the world could too.

  6. (///) Thank you. *wiggles* It’s a constant battle between self-questioning and shyness, but I try to put my thoughts in the right place.

  7. I just found your blog and have spent a lot of time reading. I like your style of writing. I am drawn in by it.

  8. Thanks for reading, means a lot ta me. >:3

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