In this evermore divisive progressive tsunami, which seems bent on pitting ordinary people against each other for no logical reason, a new term has emerged from the depths of the cognitive abyss: “whitesplaining”. This would refer to a white person discussing racism with a person of colour in order to find alternative explanations for an instance which the latter perceived as racist; apparently, they have no right under the sun to do so.
It’s not like as human beings we are all equal, should feel free to speak and exchange opinions on any matter. It’s not like a person can ever overreact when it comes to what others mean to say and might – just might – be wrong about a particular situation.
But while these well-meaning reasons for correcting me feel true, it’s also true that you can act on subconscious, implicit biases leading you to dismiss what I have to say because I’m Black.
In an age when it’s so popular to be an amateur psychoanalyst, we often see people dismissing others – all the while admitting their arguments make some sense – on the basis of suspecting a subconscious bias. Which is something anyone can engage in, as it requires no proof; it requires nothing but the absolute wish of the amateur psychoanalyst to impose their view at all cost.
For many people, it’s tempting to speak up when you encounter a fact you believe is wrong. Correcting someone seems pretty straight forward – so does it really relate to racism?
In certain cases, it does. And if you’re a white person talking with a person of color about racism, it’s best to keep this possibility in mind.
This is followed by a few more paragraphs which have nothing whatsoever to do with the heading, which is about facts and contradicting others when the facts they present are wrong (to one’s knowledge anyway). Facts are empirical, objective, obtained from trustworthy sources; stating them is in no way connected to the lengthy whine about how white people “think they are entitled to talk over others”.
Presenting a fact which contradicts the narrative of the person you’re speaking to has nothing to do with their race or any other characteristics.
There’s nothing wrong with clearing up information if you come across something you believe is incorrect. But approach the situation with some humility. Ask questions to figure out why there’s a difference between what I’m saying and what you believe is true.
You might find that your information is wrong, that I interpret it differently, or that we’re on the same page, but I use different language rooted in my experience. And you’ll probably learn something new.
“That I interpret it differently” is not an argument against any proven fact.
So it’s not up to you to decide what I should be offended by. Save your whitesplanation if you want to explain why I’m overreacting to a well-meaning compliment (which isn’t a complimentat all) by cringing at “you’re pretty for a Black girl.”
After I’ve dealt with microaggressions on a daily basis for so long, it’s just cruel to expect me to minimize my feelings about racism.
First of all, several paragraphs list this one imaginary “compliment”, you’re pretty for a Black girl, as an argument (and I’ve seen it elsewhere on the site). Please explain to me how this manner of approaching a person would even germinate in the mind of someone who doesn’t suffer from severe mental retardation.The only type of person likely to think that way (but not stupid enough to say it to a woman he’s attracted to) would be a genuine racist. And a genuine racist is not likely to approach you in the first place.Anyone with a brain can see that is not a compliment. Hence listing it as an example of dodgy compliments you receive and throwing the rest in with it is intellectually dishonest.
Like so many whitesplainers, you believe what you say is important because you have logic on your side. Objectivity is an understandable goal, but think about what it means to believe you’re the only one who can bring “reason” into the conversation.
The truth is that you’re just as biased as anyone else – your perspective is influenced by your own experiences and position of privilege. That also gives you a biased point of view on what “objectivity” means.
What position of privilege? Would you say the same to a homeless person or one that has lived in poverty all their life, just because of skin colour? How racist is that?
There is no possible bias regarding what objectivity means. Bias and objectivity are antithetical notions. Here’s a definition:
“judgment based on observable phenomena and uninfluenced by emotions or personal prejudices”
For instance, have you ever felt the need to point out that a person of color was “generalizing” white people when they talked about racism?
Of course. Only when reading bullshit articles from bullshiters on bullshit websites; such an interaction has not presented itself in real life yet (perhaps because most people’s heads are not so full of bullshit). The logical reason one would raise the issue is that such a generalisation is indeed racist.
Except there’s actually a problem with rushing to say that “not all white people” are part of the problem of white supremacy. If I focused on reassuring every white person that they’re not personally responsible, then nobody would get the chance to examine how they might contribute (..)
Therefore they are a problem, all down to the last one, and all just might contribute to a system of thought which is actually marginal in western societies. Not racist at all, huh?
OK; I’m done quoting as I just don’t have the patience or stomach for this stuff.
My two cents on this issue: when people empathise with others who have been subjected to real racism, it’s not because of the race of the latter; it’s because we’re all human an can all put ourselves in the shoes of someone who has suffered as a result of discrimination. Solidarity is meant to create unity, not more division.
The reason people engage you in a debate is because they presume your intelligence; your rational capability; your ability to discern one situation from another – as opposed to presuming you would think or feel in a certain way because of your race.
The only thing this type of rhetoric achieves is turning potential racists into full-blown ones, as well as scaring off people who are inclined to feel insecure about relating to those of a different ethnicity, race or background, for fear of stepping on a landmnine of oversensitivity.
No good comes out of this. None whatsoever.