There are a number of things that are a part of the racist system that consistently get a pass as “Not racist” because they don’t come down to, “I hate you because of your race.”
Here are five examples:
1- It’s okay because I didn’t know. This one is slightly easier to spot but often considered, no big deal. This is the common situation of pleading ignorance. “What I just said was racist but I’m going to tell you that I didn’t know it was racist and since you have no way of truly knowing if what I’m saying is true, you have to (as far as I’m concerned) let me off the hook.” This shows extreme entitlement. My ignorance trumps your pain. This comes from a person who, while claiming they “didn’t know” will also claim that “not knowing” is a perfectly justifiable reason not to apologize or even stop saying it. “Because I didn’t use it that way, it really isn’t racist. Therefore, I can keep saying it because I didn’t mean it in the racist way.”
2- It’s okay because I know better. Although all of these examples are infuriating and painful, this may be the one that causes the most rage out of the most people. This comes from someone outside of any give racial group talking, with expertise, about another racial group. “Oh you think AAVE is part of Black culture? No, it’s not,” says the white guy. This is usually followed with some explanation, largely backed with racist scholastic teachings. You’ll find that this most often happens when someone is new to college or is a recent college graduate. They took a class once, so they know. Again, this is extreme entitlement. The very idea that you not only know more than the speaker but the entire race of people, a people that you are not a part of, is such an extreme form of ignorance and self imposed superiority that it’s almost difficult to understand why this is so common. Almost.
3- It’s okay because I make the rules. This one usually comes in after a comment has been made or a conversation has been had. It only applies to the minority and not following these rules (Ya know, the ones you didn’t know about) makes you far worse than any racist. You’ll find this often with tone policing. “You should have said it nicely” or “That was impolite.” The dignity is for the oppressor, never the oppressed and they will tell you this at every turn. You will also find actual rules here, but they too will only be applied to the minority, never the racist. You see this often with the rule of “Onus.” You made a claim, now the onus is on you to prove it. There are two issue here. The “Onus” that many of these people talk about is that of providing proof to one’s equal. When in a scientific debate, it is not any ignorant fool that you would “Prove” your theorem to. Imagine being a scientist and having each and every random person off the street walk in and say, “I don’t agree, prove it to me.” That doesn’t happen to scientists because it is both a waste of their time and a waste of the method of providing evidence. In order to have evidence provided, you would first have to understand the history, context and substance of each moving part. Racists, don’t know the background but place the “Onus” on you to “Explain” the foreground. They do this because they can not fathom a single topic that they are not more versed in than you. Including, but not limited to, your life. So the idea that they don’t understand the historical context connected to your point of view, is not only lost on them, they see it as improbable. The second issue here is that, it’s often a false statement. Take for example the argument over what the correct definition of racism is. While I might make the initial claim that racism is systematic, the person disagreeing with me will not just say, “No it’s not.” They will also make a claim. Their claim being that racism is hate of another based on skin color. In this situation, there are two separate claims being made but only one will have the “Burden of proof” placed on their shoulders. Once again, extreme entitlement.
4- It’s okay because my show is in the center. This disturbing phenomena is about keeping the racist, or more to the point, the racist’s world view, the center of the conversation. We see this heavily in action each and every time a violent tragedy strikes here in America. Take the Boston Marathon bombers for example. There was a great amount of hurt (Both physical and emotional) due to racism and xenophobia but the calls of “It’s not about race” rang loudly. You see, the racists would talk about how the people who got hurt in the explosions were of many races. Therefore, race doesn’t matter. Yet, they conveniently overlooked the fact that innocent people were being harassed, beaten and had their families accosted simply because of the way they looked. Let’s not forget, based on absolutely nothing, the bombers were first described as “Dark skinned male, possibly Black.” Why? Well, we can’t discuss the “Why” because it’s not about race. We also couldn’t talk about the way the media first described the bombers, then changed their tunes quite a bit when they were found to be white. All the while, still trying their best to distance themselves by calling them anything but white. At this point, race…was not a factor. Remember just moments ago when the bombers were “Dark skinned?” It was a factor then. Why not now? Oh and before you make the poor decision to say that it mattered because they were looking for the bombers. This justification doesn’t quite work when there was a “Possibility” that the bombers were white, not a CERTAINTY but with nothing but the possibility, the entire news cycle changed. Literally. Within minutes. This is one of the more disturbing items because it does two things. It stop (or tires to stop) any and all conversation about the racial inequalities of the treatment of criminals. While at the same time, often accusing those that are talking about the racial inequalities, of “Not caring” about the victims. Just in case you didn’t know before, I’ll let you in on a little secret. It is possible and probable to hate the inequalities in treatment AND care about the victims of a senseless crime. The entitlement here is that race ONLY matters, if the criminal isn’t white. The bigger problem is that while racists yell, “It’s not about race” and use the victims of the bombings as proof, they overlook the victims of racial profiling due to the first, blatantly false and racially charged, description given. There were more victims of this crime than those that stood at the Marathon. Yet, to the racists, it’s about everything but race. No matter how big a factor race plays. Entitlement.
5- It’s okay because I like it. This may be entitlement at it’s finest. It also serves to dehumanize the very people you claim to “Like.”
- It’s okay for me to be a perfect stranger and walk up and touch your hair because I think it’s pretty.
- It’s okay for me to fetishize an entire race because I find them attractive.
- It’s okay for me to pose naked wearing nothing but a war bonnet because I “adore” the culture.
In every scenario, the “Adoration” and “Like” ends when anyone from the group you are forcing your entitlement onto says that they have a problem with what you’re doing. The moment someone from the particular group says that it’s not okay for you to treat them this way, your reaction is not only to justify what you’re doing but to also let them know that they don’t get a say in their own treatment. “Why are you mad? I touched your hair because I thought it was pretty.” In a racist and entitled mind, you liking something means you can simply take it. The same non-Black women who put their hands in the heads of Black women without permission and then get offended when they are told that their advances are not welcomed, are the very same women who would take their shirts off and march if a man were to do to them what they did to another woman. It comes down to, I am superior to you so you should be HAPPY that I like you. Egotistical entitlement.