Thursday, July 23, 2015

#NoFlagginChallenge and White Fragility

Lots of hashtags today.

During the advent of the whole controversy that was "maybe we should all stop flying the symbol of an entity that fought to keep slavery legal that was revived to support segregation and commonly used to intimidate black people," black people came up with the #NoFlagginChallenge wherein black people would film each other taking confederate flags off of people's vehicles, houses, and whatever else it was flying from.

Firstly, it's pretty hilarious how quickly my fellow white people will become no fun whenever black people start doing a thing. Even the white liberals I know up here in the Seattle area who are usually all "lol those ignorant redneck southerner racists and their confederate flags, let them secede." But when the #NoFlagginChallenge started, suddenly it's all about how stealing and "vandalism" (very telling that this word was used over and over even though this challenge is just about stealing the flag) is wrong and that black people are asking to be shot.

Ugh. This is why I don't call myself liberal anymore.

When I spoke up about how fucked up it is for my fellow white people to scold black people over an action of rebellion against a symbol of the violent oppression they continue to endure in the US, the discussion turned to defensiveness and tone policing. It was suggested to me that black people would be better served educating whitey on the history of the confederate flag and why it's actually 100% about racism and the heritage of racism in this country so that people would voluntarily take it down. Yet at the same time, as I was trying to educate my fellow white people on why flapping their white mouths about what black people should be doing to combat anti-black racism is a racist and oppressive action, that privileged fragility and defensiveness popped up, making said "education" impossible.

It was a perfect example of why charging oppressed people with calmly and nicely "educating" their oppressors doesn't work. I'm just going to copy-paste my final comment that ended the discussion.

This whole Facebook feud explains exactly why I said that education is not a cure for racism. It's part of the solution, yes, but I urged you, Mike, multiple times to seek education and Katie provided multiple resources, yet you couldn't stop making this all about you and your right to an opinion. You refused to educate yourself because you believe you're not racist, therefore you don't have to. This is what happens any time anyone tries to educated a privileged person on their privilege. The privileged ego gets in the way. The moment you even suggest to a white person - and I've tried doing it in the nicest way possible, believe you me - that they need to be educated on racism, all they hear is "you're a racist." And very few racists believe they're racist, no matter how clearly racist they are. 
So you can tout education all you want, but what do you do when nobody thinks they need to be educated on racism and the second you suggest they do, they go straight into defensive mode and make it all about their feelings and their abstract right to the almighty, untouchable opinion? 
And this is why black people are stealing flags. Because they've tried educating us white people and we haven't listened. Segregation still exists. Black people are still being murdered for being black. At some point the oppressed are going to lash out, aren't they?

For more information, fucking read I, Racist by John Metta.

And if you're white, keep on shutting the fuck up about what black people should do.

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