In 2017, one should never underestimate how far white Americans will go in trying to self-identify as ‘oppressed’ in the very country they have stolen, exploited, appropriated and objectified for centuries. Much in the way they have appropriated our music, food, fashion and creativity, white folks are now trying to culturally appropriate our struggle and resistance.
Like many, I was side-eyeing Twitter over the weekend as #WhiteLivesMatter trended worldwide. On Saturday, there was a flop rally of the same name that happened in Shelbyville, Tennessee — the home state of the Prince of White Privilege, Justin Timberlake — with counter-protesters outnumbering their attendees by double.
During all of this public white noise, I noticed a great deal of white silence online from those who often post about missing dogs and destroyed rainforests. Clearly, they felt that they, too, mattered, and this trash hashtag is somehow just as legitimate as #BlackLivesMatter.
Perhaps they were a part of the 55 percent of delusional white folks in a recent NPR survey who feel as though they are the victims of discrimination in American society. Or perhaps they felt as though “reverse racism” is a real thing because Kim Kardashian is being dragged for dressing up as Aaliyah for Halloween, but the very Black Keke Palmer wasn’t. Ironically, white people are rather silent on Tomi Lahren and Kid Rock disrespecting their American flag as tacky dress rags, but quick to slam NFL players for refusing to stand for the National Anthem.
Reverse selective outrage, perhaps?
Either way, it’s very clear that white people have become obsessed with transforming their fragility into a false sense of victimhood. Now white tears and guilt are being weaponized against Black people’s legitimate trauma. After electing a man who was endorsed by the Klu Klux Klan whose last name rhymes with dump, white people have the audacity to claim they are now the targets of racial injustice and discrimination.
Believe it or not, there are some of them who will read this and consider me ‘racist’ for simply stating the obvious. And there are some Black people in a Sunken Place that will co-sign their whining because they have no clue what racism is and thinks any discussion on it, is in fact, racist. Well, fortunately, I could not give any cares or white tear cloths about it, because the truth is, the receipts and history doesn’t lie.
Sorry to break it to you, Becky and Ben, but let me give this to you in a revised-woke Taylor Swift lyric: White people, will never, ever, ever, be oppressed together.
This isn’t how any of this works. And to the Black celebrities who keep trying to act like racism — just like your money, is a universal experience — this is the farthest from the truth. White feelings of being “oppressed” is just them finding out that the world is round and that other people with different colors outside of white also live in it. The days of white privilege roaming freely and not being checked is over. And if white people feel as though them being held accountable is a form of racism — that’s just their white guilt taking over.
Fact: The first #WhiteLivesMatter rallies weren’t held in 2017, but decades ago done by the same group who endorsed your current president, the KKK. Does the chant “white power” ring a bell? Before there was social media, there has always been foolish cries from fearful white folks scared that their privileged way of life would be ravished by the same people who they enslaved in order to help preserve it.
Back then, the KKK was considered a hate group. Today, we have allowed white people to rename such ideologies as “alt-right nationalism” with them acting as though it’s simply a different perspective that’s a part of this “listening to both sides of the issue” bullcrap.
Translation: Everybody knows it’s racism, but somehow some still want to make white folks feel as though it’s simply just political beliefs — which are still, in fact, racist AF.
We’re still in a world where Black celebrities like Tamera Mowry believe their white husbands got them “checked” for simply teasing them for wanting extra mayo. Because asking a straight white man in America if they want extra mayo on a sandwich they didn’t make is sooooo offensive and disrespects their identity?
We still have some in our community who believe that racism works “on both sides” and somehow they can “be a bridge” in the divide. How is that working out Chrisette Michele?
And while many fall under the trap of trying to redefine what cultural appropriation is, it never ceases to amaze how some idiot thought that the very Black Rihanna dressing up as a very Black Queen Nefertiti is the same as lily white Iggy Azalea using Black Southern slang to hijack a genre of music. It’s all just a reminder that nothing has been done to seriously address racism in America.
This new cultural derailment suggests that somehow everyone experiences racism, when it at first, racism didn’t even exist to white people. They were so “colorblind” to the issue after the Civil Rights era that it was no point in bringing it up. Then we had the first Black president and things were supposedly “post-racial.” Now after the rise of #BlackLivesMatter, white folks are trapped between choosing to address the issue or hide their hands.
As the saying goes, “if you can’t beat them, join them.” White people just decided that if they weren’t going to let go of their bigotry they would just act as though, they, too, are victims of it.
Nice try, but nobody is fooled. If we actually want to put the narrative back on track, our community needs to stop allowing for there to be concessions within the movement. What that looks like is the media putting a stop to giving platforms to our most sleepy, unqualified Black “influencers” to lead discussions on racism. It looks like correcting them onsite when they push out harmful messages that are just flat-out false. It starts with each and every one of us getting our people together online when they hear the teacup of white tears get tapped with the deafening teaspoon.
Just to be clear: Black people can’t be racist, just as white people currently can’t be on the receiving end of it. And if anyone tells you otherwise, ask them who invented it…and then tell them “I’ll wait.”
Ernest Owens is the Editor of Philadelphia magazine’s G Philly. He has written for USA Today, NBC News, BET, HuffPost and several other major publications. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and ernestowens.com.