Category Archives: Race

White fragility is a phrase coined by author Dr. Robin DiAngelo, and is defined as “a state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves.” According to DiAngelo, most white people “live in a social environment that insulates them from race-based stress,” due to their privilege as part of the cultural majority. In turn, says DiAngelo, whites are infrequently challenged and have less of a tolerance to race-based stress, causing them to be hostile, guilty, defensive, or fearful when confronted. This phenomenon is white fragility. In the end, white fragility ensures that conversations about race are derailed, and the status quo of white supremacy is upheld.

— Sarah Watts, White fragility is real: 4 questions white people should ask themselves during discussions about race

(via KEW)

But like forreal I just want to copy and paste this as a response to White people I see spewing racist fuckshit on the internet. I also appreciate that Dr. Robin DiAngelo is a (phenotypically) White woman.

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We cannot expect poor women feeding their families on food stamps to have the same priorities as female lawyers hoping to become partners in law firms. We cannot expect working-class women concerned with getting paid sick leave to have the same priorities as college professors. We cannot expect women who face both sex discrimination and race discrimination to develop the same priorities as women who face only sex discrimination. … There has never been a single, unified feminist agenda. We see feminism as an outlook that is ever being reinvented by new groups of women. Feminism necessarily changes as the world women inhabit changes.

Dorothy Sue Cobble, Linda Gordon, and Astrid Henry, Feminism Unfinished

(via Now You See Me)

It is no wonder that the autobiographical medium has dominated black modes of written expression. The autobiographical moment afforded a contradiction in racist reason: How could the black, who by definition was not fully human and hence without a point of view, produce a portrait of his or her point of view? The black autobiography announced a special form of biography, a text that was read for insight into blackness, which meant that paradoxically some of the problems of epistemic closure continued through an engagement that admitted epistemic possibility. The interest in black autobiography carried expectation and curiosity. One could see the further titillation that emerged from the addendum to several nineteenth-century narratives, including that of Frederick Douglass, ‘as written by himself.’ A black man who could write?

–Lewis Gordon

(via Square Dancing with Giants)

It is a well-documented fact that by the age of 5 monolingual White children will have heard 30 million fewer words in languages other than English than bilingual children of color. In addition, they will have had a complete lack of exposure to the richness of non-standardized varieties of English that characterize the homes of many children of color. This language gap increases the longer these children are in school. The question is what causes this language gap and what can be done to address it?

The major cause of this language gap is the failure of monolingual White communities to successfully assimilate into the multilingual and multidialectal mainstream. The continued existence of White ethnic enclaves persists despite concerted efforts to integrate White communities into the multiracial mainstream since the 1960s. In these linguistically isolated enclaves it is possible to go for days without interacting with anybody who does not speak Standardized American English providing little incentive for their inhabitants to adapt to the multilingual and multidialectal nature of  US society.

This linguistic isolation has a detrimental effect on the cognitive development of monolingual White children. This is because linguistically isolated households lack the rich translanguaging practices that are found in bilingual households and the elaborate style-shifting that occurs in bidialectal households. This leaves monolingual White children without a strong metalinguistic basis for language learning. As a result, many of these monolingual White children lack the school-readiness skills needed for foreign language learning and graduate from school having mastered nothing but Standardized American English leaving them ill-equipped to engage in intercultural communication.

What if we talked about monolingual White children the way we talk about low-income children of color?

Excerpt from a satirical blog post from The Educational Linguist that makes a good point about which language skills we value as a society and the problems with talking about a “language gap”.

I’m normalizing TV.

I am making TV look like the world looks. Women, people of color, LGBTQ people equal WAY more than 50% of the population. Which means it ain’t out of the ordinary. I am making the world of television look NORMAL.

I am NORMALIZING television.

You should get to turn on the TV and see your tribe. And your tribe can be any kind of person, any one you identify with, anyone who feels like you, who feels like home, who feels like truth. You should get to turn on the TV and see your tribe, see your people, someone like you out there, existing. So that you know on your darkest day that when you run (metaphorically or physically RUN), there is somewhere, someone, to run TO. Your tribe is waiting for you.

You are not alone.

 

–Shonda Rhimes at the humanrightscampaign Gala in Los Angeles. You can read her entire speech on “normalizing TV” here.

(via because i am a woman)

Afropunk introduced me to the carefree Black girl—she, like me, rejects the idea that being Black means engaging in a constant social and cultural struggle to be accepted. She has fun, is a little reckless and defines herself not by considering what others think it means to be Black but by focusing on what makes her smile. I am happy that Black girls today might feel less alienated culturally because they have these images of natural, happy Black women to reference. But I’m also worried that the emphasis on being carefree just gives us another set of rules to follow. The notion of the carefree Black girl as the modern, best version of Blackness can be alienating to anyone who wants to wear her hair straight or appear more mainstream. It could have the same effect on girls now that “normal” Blackness had on me when I was growing up.

My hope is that the carefree Black girl concept works in tandem with other notions of Blackness. It’s possible that at 37, I’m just too old for the idea of the carefree Black girl to take root, as I’ve already found a way to be a confident weirdo. What I want more than anything is for Black girls to have balance, to feel accepted at every stage across the spectrum of their lives. I want to float back to my younger self, grab her paint-stained hands in mine and tell her that she’s already enough.

Danielle Henderson, “Exploring Blackness and Where I Fit In”

(via the dopest ethiopienne)

You do not have to trigger yourself into “proving” you are a real “activist” by hyper-consuming Black death via State violence day after day, especially since it is the most violent myth that said perpetual consumption is necessary for “awareness” of what you are already aware of, no less. You can take a break to value Black life. You can value Black life as radical praxis, actually. You do not have to center non-Black people over your own survival to “prove” your “progressiveness” while tolerating their anti-Blackness and erasure as their “praxis.” You are not their microphones. You do not have to toleratemicroaggressive/abusive and violent White allies when you feel safer and healthier being away from them. There is no solidarity/allyship where there is anti-Blackness. I know people on Tumblr/Twitter/Earth think Blackness is in a perpetual state of arrears where our labor and our very bodies as representative of labor/products/services are all we are worth and what we perpetually owe them.

I am truly tired of Black bodies, Black labor and Black hypervisibility being viewed as a resource to be excavated and consumed by non-Black people. If you make a blog that is all goddamn selfies and that is every single post, I am here for it.

[…]

Do you know that the first act of self-care for us as Black people might be recognizing that we deserve to be cared for in the first place? Seen as human? Especially Black women. Because we more than anyone encounter the idea that our only “worth” as people is finite and measured by how much people can use and consume us. And by self-care, I do not mean solely consumption in a capitalistic sense (though that is not non-Black people’s place to critique how you self-care, especially since many of them refuse to examine how anti-Blackness shapes their perception of what is “hyper-consumptive” or “capitalistic,” and how comfortable they are with Black people suffering), but simply realizing that you can say “NO.”

“No, I won’t consume specific images of Black death on a permanent media loop as everyone uses our bodies to further their careers.” Or “no, I won’t co-sign using Black bodies as rhetorical devices to recenter non-Black people.” Or as a Black woman/Black LGBTQIA person, “no, I simply do not want to attend a particular community event this evening about State violence since no one does anything to secure my safety from intraracial street harassment or sexual violence while there.”Or, “no, you cannot use my content to further your career as you slander my actual methods of discourse on social media.”

“No” is radical self-care. Self-care is not selfish.

Gradient Lair | Saying “No” as Black Self-Care