Dear White Privileged People: This Post Is Not About Your Needs
One of the great things about the internet is how it lets people do things like exchange information. In many ways it has replaced things like the Green Book or word of mouth for transmitting info about places where stopping for more than gas (or stopping at all) wouldn’t be safe, where hotels will be welcoming, & where to avoid after certain times/at certain points of the year. Folks pass around info about where to find food/clothes/cocoa butter as well as what job markets are likely to be more welcoming and/or to require you to be a token in fact if not in name. This is important information. And yes, this information may make you feel something…unpleasant when you have to confront our view of the towns where you like to spend summers or where you grew up or whatever. Guess what? I feel something unpleasant when I can’t stop to pee for 50 miles because even though Jim Crow is over, no one in my car wants to risk a fight/jail/death because I forgot to tinkle in the last place we saw brown people walking around. Sundown towns had to put away their signs, but that doesn’t mean they had to put away their attitudes.
So, as you’re seeing these conversations roll across your screen, you may feel a need to jump in the middle & explain how that one family in that one town isn’t like that so we shouldn’t lump them in with the 35 other families in that town that are like that. Unless that one family in that one town is going to provide me with an armed escort? I don’t care about them. I care about the motherfuckers that might think it’s a fun game to run me over. And if you think that could only happen in the South? You haven’t been paying attention to where all those police brutality cases come up. Or what happens when POC go missing. Here’s a hint: Except for our friends & family no one really seems to bother raising a hue & cry over our disappearance.
Now, I know there are about to be some more feelings splattered all over the place because I wrote this post. Feel free to have them. You can even share them with me if you must, but do please give us all a break from your need to get in the middle of other conversations to insist that because your white self is safe in these predominately white spaces all other bodies are safe too. I’m sure you’ve never seen any racism in that all white neighborhood/town/region. That doesn’t mean it’s not there, that just means no convenient target has presented itself when you’re around. Now, if you want to do something to change the impressions of these places? Don’t waste energy arguing with us to go against all common sense. Go talk to your neighbors/cousins/friends about exactly why POC avoid the places where they live. You know why I advise you to do that? Because it would actually be a step toward resolving the problem, instead of continuing to ignore it in favor of hoping that we’ll make it go away. Pro tip: The people who are the targets of bigots aren’t the ones with the problem.