7 Things You Do Every Day That Are Racist
As a black woman, I am subjected to racism every single day. Most of these instances are subtle, and just to enjoy my day I knowingly let some of them slide.
It's tiring having to fight every single racist remark or message I come across, especially when people don't even realize they're being racist. If I spent my time speaking up every time a racist ideal occurred, I'd have to quit my day job.
I've come up with seven examples so you can see what I mean.
1. White people changing the way they speak to black people to relate.
"Get Out" was triggering in so many ways, but one of the moments that stood out to me was the way Rose's dad, a white man, changed his tone and mannerisms when he spoke to Chris, a black man.
Every time he blurted out "my man!" followed by an awkward laugh, I was smacked in the face with deja vu.
I've been met with an exaggerated "giiirrrrrl" from white women from time to time, just as I've witnessed many of my friends being called "brotha" by white men.
A lot of times we're not sure if white people are trying to sound cool, bond with us or mock us. No matter the reason, it makes us uncomfortable.
2. The media portraying black people in a negative light.
More often than not, the media creates an unnecessary and inaccurate image of black people that tarnishes their character. This is most triggering when the media demonizes black victims while humanizing white criminals.
Let's not forget when Brock Turner was found guilty of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman, his swimming accolades were mentioned in the same breath.
However, victims of police brutality like Eric Garner and Alton Sterling were painted as violent when the media released past criminal backgrounds that had absolutely no correlation to their unjustified deaths in the hands of police.
Even when young black girls go missing, there are instances where their mug shot is used in a missing person's report.
Meanwhile, white suspects rarely have their mugshots used in the media. You'll usually stumble upon a story about rape, theft or even murder presented with the suspect's happy, smiling face staring at you.
Sometimes they're even complimented on their appearance.
3. Reinforcing strictly European beauty standards.
Recently, Cosmopolitan released -- then deleted -- a list of the 10 most beautiful women "according to science," except they left out all women of color. The list was unanimously made up of white women.
After immediate backlash, the post was deleted.
Excluding black women from standards of beauty happens on a daily basis.
Adding "science" to back up their findings only makes it even more racist, as if beauty is not an objective attribute, but something naturally and physically achievable to only white women.
Glorifying white beauty has been masked by encouraging straighter hair and praising thinner facial features. These types of ideas have been conditioning us every day.
4. Comparing your struggles to the black experience.
Remember earlier this year when Chris Cuomo equated fake news allegations to black people being called a historically harmful and racist slur? Ha, good times.
Racism is systematic and institutional.
We come across ridiculous comparisons like this all too often. The words "reverse racism" are thrown around so loosely, you'd almost think it was a real thing.
Prejudice, on the other hand, is absolutely a real thing, and is something that any and all races are subjected to. But racism? Not so much.
Racism is systematic and institutional, and white people actually benefit from it whether actively or passively.
Still, white people are obviously entitled to speak up in instances where they are being mistreated or wronged. Just don't link yourself to black people when doing so.
We don't think white people are eternally shielded from all things negative.
We don't think white people are eternally shielded from all things negative. We get it, you are human and you come across roadblocks just like the rest of us. However, our experiences are not and will never be parallel.
When you pretend as if you aren't afforded more than us or that you suffer the same adversaries, you are actually driving a bigger wedge by playing victim. It's as if you're trying save face of your privileges by acting as though we all deal with the similar issues.
5. White Guilt
This one may be confusing.
While we want you to understand how we're affected by racism and to acknowledge our struggles and your privilege, we don't need you to try to overcompensate because of guilt.
Many times, if we're not dealing with a white person who tries to relate to our experience, we're dealing with a white person who over apologizes for the cards we've been dealt.
By all means, please speak up when you witness an injustice.
That is what we need. Do not spark up an awkward conversation about race while I'm kicking back, trying to escape it all. If I'm just relaxing with my friends having a grand ol' time, please don't invade my space with your white guilt.
Let's face it: Your actual motives behind randomly bringing up how you disagree with racism really revolve around trying to prove to us that you are one of the good guys, rather than trying to actually resolve racism.
What you're doing is actually counterproductive.
We don't need special attention from you; we just want equality.
Your words don't come off as genuine or authentic. And many times when you initiate conversations about racial inequalities in spaces that are meant to be our time to unwind, you're making us uncomfortable.
If you really wanted to be the solution, you'd speak up when necessary. Any other time, you'd just prove your support by treating us the same way you'd treat a white friend.
We don't need special attention from you; we just want equality.
6. Treating each black person like they are the spokesperson of black culture.
Please do not run to me asking if I can show you how to "nae nae" or what cuffing season means. Even if I have the answer, I probably won't share it with you.
It's offensive when our opinion or knowledge is only sought out when it revolves around black cultural influences that have become the latest craze in mainstream America.
Do we not have anything else to offer?
7. Dismissing racism altogether.
Pretending as though none of these issues actually exist is the biggest slap in the face of them all.
The first step to overcoming racism is to at admit that it's real.
Being able to choose not to acknowledge racism is the greatest reward of privilege. It's pretty ironic how you can practice both racism and privilege all at once by denying it all.
The very first step to overcoming racism is to at admit that it is real.
Everything that follows truly isn't that difficult as long as you try to remain aware. At the very least, try to refrain from perpetrating any of these examples.
It'll honestly make all of our lives easier.