Touchy White People
I know a lot of Touchy White People. Probably, you do, too. They are all over the place, in your school, on your block, at your Church, in the Supermarket buying milk. They are your friends and your coworkers. They teach your kids, they sell you comic books, they fix your computer. In
The last thing in the world that TWP’s want to be called is a racist. They hate the idea of it so much, in fact, that they don’t like it when you refer to them as even being white at all. They also get really upset if when you suggest that white people, even other white people, are racist. Amazingly, they will sometimes say that calling white people racist is itself racist. I’m serious. TWP’s are the reason that every movie about racism made in
TWP’s have some favorite words. Their number one favorite is “generalizing”, as in “you can’t generalize and say that the Republican Party is racist.” Their number two favorite is “extreme”, as in, “I agree that there are problems, but its just extreme to say that all white people bear some responsibility to make things more equal.” They also like “irrational”, “hysterical” and the phrase, “now you are being just as bad as they are.”
I bet, right now, some TWP is reading this and thinking “now he’s being just as bad as they are.”
It seems that there are two different kinds of TWP. There are those who are touchy because they think there are a lot of big problems in
Let’s start with the “generalizing” thing. Touchy White White people love this one because it allows them to be the “super-anti-racist”. They get to defend themselves by making it seem as though they are defending the true ideals of equality and brotherhood. For them, being non-racist is about treating everyone as an individual. The problem with this way of thinking is that it assumes that everyone thinks this way. There are a lot of racist white people in
Black and brown folks generalize because there is a general problem, and it’s a huge and important one in our daily lives.
Lastly, we are not just as bad as they are. We didn’t capture anyone or burn down anyone’s civilization. We don’t systematically exclude, exploit or vilify white people. Even if we wanted to, we don’t have the power to. If all the black people in the country hated white people, it wouldn’t change white people’s lives very much. As I said before, our generalizations are defensive strategy, not a tool to hold anybody down.
Sorry, did that last part scare you?
The basic thing to keep in mind is that a lot of black and brown people are angry. They are angry that their schools suck, that there are more of them in prison than in college, that they are poorer than white people, that their elections are stolen, that people keep saying that they are lazy. They are angry at each other for some of this, and they understand that some white people have it pretty bad. But they are still angry about racism. So when they hear that they are being irrational, or that they should just calm down, that makes them more angry. It’s just patronizing.