Four Emails White People Send To Black People When Black People Write Or Talk About Racism » VSB

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Four Emails White People Send To Black People When Black People Write Or Talk About Racism

A word.

In the fifth graf of “Racism Is Really Bad”, you cite a story about a time your great uncle applied for a home loan, and wasn’t able to receive it because, according to you, the bank didn’t loan money to black people. As you stated, the bank manager even personally came out of his office to tell him “We don’t loan money to your kind.”

Your piece was definitely punctuated well and mostly legible, I’ll give you that. But it falls apart when you center your premise around such a shaky story. Are you certain “your kind” was a reference to race? What evidence do you have to support that? Where’s the proof?

You later state that your great uncle was a farmer, and that he enjoyed reading the newspaper while sitting on the porch. Tell me, since you’re so smart, how do you know that the bank manager didn’t just have an animosity for farmers or readers? Or perhaps even porches?

I know racism exists, I’m not denying that. But you do yourself no favors with these types of race-baiting hysterics.

Alex

 

 

Hello Mr. Young!

I just read “Racism Is Really Bad”, and I have a question to ask you! (If you don’t mind!)

When I was eleven years old, a lovely black family (“The Robinsons”) moved two doors down from us, making them the first black people on our street. They had two adorable chocolate sons, “Ralph” and “Ronald,” and Ronald was close to my age. None of the kids in the neighborhood would play with them, though, and I felt really bad about it. Some days, you’d see Ronald pacing up and down the street, peering into windows with his big brown eyes and sparkling white teeth, hoping that someone would come and toss a football back and forth with him. He even knocked on my door once, and I approached the door, thought about opening it, but instead screamed out “nobody’s home, blackey” hoping to convince him that no one was home. It didn’t work. He just stared at me through the screen door, put his head down, and walked away.

This went on for weeks. Ronald would want to play with us, and we’d ignore him, and he’d go on his porch and cry for hours. Ronald sure had stamina! Once, he even attempted to join a wiffle ball game we were playing in the street, and as soon as he asked, we all dropped our gloves and bats and went into our houses. It was a coordinated effort, and I felt terrible.

A couple months or so after the Robinson’s moved in, a group of neighborhood kids and I robbed and murdered an old man who lived at the top of our cul de sac. (Mr. Conrad, I think his name was.) He had cash and we wanted it so he needed to die. Naturally, we framed Ronald for the crime, and he ended up going to juvenile detention and then prison. His family eventually moved too, after we firebombed their station wagon.

Anyway, long story short, fast forward to the present day. I was browsing Facebook last week, curious about what all the guys from the old neighborhood are doing now, and I found Ronald! He works as some sort of youth pastor or cook or something. He looks great, all things considered. Still has those big brown eyes and that beautiful smile. (And he’s still in the city!)

I’m emailing you because I wanted to know if you think it would be appropriate to friend request him. I still feel terrible about everything that happened, and I’d like to buy him a coffee or maybe just send him my favorite scripture. I’ve read a lot recently about racial microaggressions, and I don’t want to cross any lines. Any advice on how to proceed would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks!

Tom

 

 

Damon I’m so fucking tired of White people and being a White person. We are so fucking awful. I hate myself. I hate my white skin and my even whiter than my white skin teeth. I hate milk, white sheets of paper, whiteout, white chalk, white plaster, white turkey meat, ranch dressing, fettuccine alfredo, polar bears, salt shakers, Mentos, iPhone chargers, Norway, and Nicole Kidman. I can’t even eat popcorn or play the piano anymore, because the whiteness on the kernels and the keys infuriate me. Sometimes I look in the mirror in the morning and I just want to peel my skin off like an orange, taking each layer of whiteness off and tossing it in the trash with the rest of the fucking garbage. Actually, since oranges are covered in white pith after you peel them, that analogy doesn’t quite work. I guess bananas and apples and pears don’t either. Shit, have you ever realized how disgustingly white most fruit is when you peel the outer layers off? Goddamn there’s no end to this shit.

Fuck racism, fuck white people, fuck whiteness, and fuck fruit.

Emily

 

 

Good afternoon, good sir.

I really enjoyed “Racism Is Really Bad” — your expert deconstruction of racism, race as a social construct instead of the biological certainty it’s believed to be, and privilege; especially how you articulated its historical and present-day connections and interlinkages to all aspects of American life. I never quite understood how it resonates on both a literal and metaphysical level, and your piece really drove that home, contextualizing everything to even the most minute distinctions.

Racism generally and the treatment of displaced Africans specifically is our national disgrace, a shame both literal and existential, and your examination of this sickness was brave, blunt, and necessary. There is no piece of literature existing today that is more pertinent, prescient, and relevant, and am I proud to call you my countryman, my neighbor, and perhaps, if you bestow the honor, my friend.

Also, you’re a nigger.

Best,

Todd

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Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for GQ.com And he's working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at damon@verysmartbrothas.com. Or don't. Whatever.

  • Kat

    “Also, you’re a ni**er”

    Perfect ending. I found my inner ni**er while reading this. She’s been suppressed due to racism, real and imagined according to Emily. Not Becky but Emily.

    Some days I forget I’m black.

    Not really but I’ve always wanted to post that somewhere. This was perfect for that.

  • Fuckin’ Todd.

    Also, I’m 100% Emily.

  • Junegirl627

    Where’s the “Why does everything have to point back to racism and if its so bad go back to Africa and get (insert deadly ailment here). Because this is Amerikkka and if you want something you gotta work for it and not be a welfare queen” — sample letter?

    • Damon Young

      those are too easy. as are the ones with a trillion misspellings and awkward subject verb agreements.

      • Junegirl627

        ahhhhh

        Okay, going for the more nuanced stupidity.

        • nuanced stupidity – is a thing!!!!

  • HouseOfBonnets

    Well you know what I’m here for…..

    *Places tear collectors around the parameter*

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/df23642979aa50cc207e0ed39dcf69103d8d6a9ce915337e8f0fc2220871eaac.gif

  • Courtney Wheeler

    I never got the type of white person that feels the need to ask permission from a random black friend to do something. If you feel the need to ask permission then you shouldn’t do it to begin with.

    • Duncan Frame

      Yeah but the asking permission thing IS the racism.

    • Junegirl627

      that’s white priveledge. They want to know if they have done enough to get a special pass that allows them to say racist white stuff in black spaces.

    • MsCee

      I think the worst example of this was in my first year out of college. I made a really cool work friend that just happened to be whyte. One day, after we’d been going to lunch together for some time, she said “you know, I was so scared of you when I first met you…but now I see that you are super sweet.” Lawd, I died. I didn’t even bother to ask any follow up questions.

      • Courtney Wheeler

        I have a similar story. When I was in college I would go to a lot of punk shows and struck up a friend with a group of girls. One night we were all hanging out and one of the girls goes “oh im so glad we started talking about became friends I remember when I first saw you, you were hanging with that group of black girls down the hall..they’re so un-inviting, but you’re so different than them.”

        …whatever

        • Wild Cougar

          You got the “you’re different from those other Blacks”? Me too. It was often paired with ” I don’t consider you Black”. People get fooled into thinking that’s a compliment and they’re better than “The Blacks” and pretty soon they’re in the sunken place laughing at jigaboo and mandingo jokes and that’s how Kanye happens.

          • “M”

            “and that’s how Kanye happens.”

            /dying

          • Glo

            Worst example of this: I was in high school. We were on a trip volunteering at an orphanage in Mexico. It’s evening, and we’re all going out. White girl says, “We need to be careful when we go out there. All the Mexican guys are going to hit on us nonstop because we’re white.” I stare at her. She goes, “Oh, COME ON, Glo. You know what I mean. You’re black, but you’re not BLACK black, you know? They’ll see you as white, too.”

            There were so many levels of stupid in what she said that I didn’t even know where to begin.

          • Blueberry01

            Preach, WC!

          • La Bandita

            That’s how many, many Black guys happen and mixed race girls. They buy into “not like other Blacks” story. I read Clarence Thomas’s book and and yes – he goes into this. And most if not every conservation Black male – will begin to pontificate about their special brand of better blackness.

        • “M”
        • MsCee

          Lawd, take me now. What exactly about “that group of girls” made them “uninviting?” Which is totally the first cousin of “sketchy” BTW. Lol

          • Courtney Wheeler

            I think most whites either swell with pride or fear when they’re near a group of black people.

            • La Bandita

              Or prideful fear -ha!

          • KCG

            Ooooooooooh I hate when they say something is “sketchy”! I’ve heard that one more than I’d like.

      • “M”

        If you are scared out of the box, maybe you are already doing something you shouldn’t be.

        #ThingsWypipoNeverThinkAheadOfTime

        • MsCee

          Right, like what about me makes me automatically scary. The fact that I’m 5’6? Maybe my stature? Ummm, the way my desk is decorated? Ohhhh, just the fact that my skin is this color and I just so happen to be one of the few at this company who work in a department outside of collections? Ok, got it.

      • La Bandita

        Ooooo, oooooo – I have one too. I’m a cheerleader hanging with the other cheerleaders in Uni at lunch and we’re sitting at the lunch table right? One of them brings their boyfriend. He keeps staring at me and goes on and on about he lives in an all wyte neighborhood, only wyte, because wyteness and wyte skies blah, blah, blah. I am only half listening.

        Then he turns to me and says, “Your’e Black right? (doesn’t wait for answer) Why do Black people always sing when they walk?”

        I didn’t miss a beat. “You said you didn’t know any Black people. Why are you making up mythical singing Black people? Is that what wyte people do in their spare time? Make up things about Black people.” I got up and left. And I swear that this happened. And also learned that at my wyte uni ANY ONE with even a hint of color was considered Black. And nobody tanned.

    • TJ84

      When I was teaching in rural, RURAL South Carolina, I had a white student who would cry every day he entered my classroom. This was third grade, mind you, so I told him to “Dry it up” before he came into my classroom. After a couple of months, he stopped his crying and came into the classroom like a normal 8 year old. His mother ran into me in the hallway and had the audacity to say, “He was so afraid of you at the beginning of the year. I had to tell him, “Brandon, even though Ms. TJ is black, she’s a really nice person, okay?”

      So much side eye that day. Couldn’t stand that family.

      • Coco

        Wow.

    • La Bandita

      That’s the I have a friend, lover, cousin’s dog of insert race (racist amendment), so I can do insert racist thing.

  • soulofstl

    Or the, “We grew up poor so don’t tell me about privilege” speech.

    • Courtney Wheeler

      I HATE THAT. And ya know..I have some white friends that love to say that and I know I grew up way more financially stable than them. But the fact they can dismiss their inherit privilege is annoying

      • Charles Johnson

        Relative deprivation–they may seem poor compared to other whites, but in actuality they got a whole lot more than AAs. I remember one white girl saying she grew up poor and knew the struggle. One question, HOW THE FLYING FVCK DO YOU GO ON VACATIONS?!?!

        • Junegirl627

          Wait! Now I went on vacations and we didn’t have electricity sometimes…. in brooklyn

          • Charles Johnson

            how the… you know what? that’s some financial sorcery.

            • Junegirl627

              Lol

            • Junegirl627

              How so?

          • Hugh Akston

            Chuckles***

          • RaeRae

            My husband pulls that poor family from Dallas card, but his family vacations were Hawaii, San Diego, San Francisco, Disney World, and skiing in Colorado.

            • Junegirl627

              oh nah I went to visit family that lived in nice places.

            • Kas loves Jamaican Breakfast

              Pretty sure, though not not absolutely certain, his family wasn’t poor.

              • RaeRae

                Ha!!!They weren’t poor. They were comfortable, but I’m still trying to understand his definition of the word.

                • Kas loves Jamaican Breakfast

                  Same way I claim being a country boy, when my azz grew up in the suburbs outside of Los Angeles.

                  • Blueberry01

                    You got country tendencies, tho…

                    • Kas loves Jamaican Breakfast

                      My family is country as hayle.

                    • Blueberry01

                      It’s all good, homie ?

                  • La Bandita

                    Or I say I know the struggle after going on a family vacation, girls trip and spa back to back to back. It’s how here for a…. wife, mother combo and such.

                • KNeale

                  ITs like when people (nearly all of my friends) say they grew up in the hood. What is this ‘hood’ you speak of. I need to see it for myself to understand because some of yall stories aint adding up.

              • Junegirl627
                • !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                • La Bandita

                  Wedding! Wedding! Wedding!

                  • Junegirl627

                    lol really?!! VSB Love boat staff is working HARD! lol
                    You are crazy, lol. All we did was go see a movie.

            • Siante?

              That’s not poverty. A poor person’s vacation is taking a trip to visit family down south, going to your cousins wedding or family reunions. Wow, typing this out has made me realize just how poor I really was growing up. Dang! Lol

        • raul

          Did you actually read what you redponded to?

        • The funny thing is that I knew White people who were legitimately struggling, and they’d kick his a$$ on principle. White poverty is not a game, because to be White is to be comfortable, and they’ll just through All The Hoops to hide that ish.

          • La Bandita

            I was so scared of the poor wyte people in my Uni town. They were so angry. And there were nooooo people of color. Just a few native Americans- they kept arresting over and over.

        • Actual poor white people do exist. I never went on vacations growing up (heck I don’t as an adult either b/c I can’t imagine paying that much just to sleep in a different location), our only heat was a wood stove, never went to the doctor or dentist…but I would never deny having white privilege. And being poor in the country is different…we grew a lot of our own food, and there was no fear of crime. My husband is mixed and grew up poor in Dallas, and it was way different.

          It’s true some white people seem to want to claim to have less money than they have. I had a friend once in college who got mad when I said she was rich. I was like let’s see…you lived in Palo Alto and your hobbies are dressage (fancy horseback riding) and playing the oboe (fancy clarinet). My hobbies were reading library books and playing with mud. So, I don’t care how much your parents make, you’re rich to me.

        • <-I'm making $90 to $120 per hour. I used to be jobless 6 months past, by doing this on-line occupation but I'm getting a relly great wages. I am extremely grateful to God and my employer. If you want to get a good quantity of salary per month like me , you can check my details by clicking the hyperlink below… http://kingler.us/6c

      • soulofstl

        exactly.. they may have been “poor” but its about access. not money. Privilege has nothing to do with money!

        “My parent grew up poor and they still went to college and provided for us. – Oh really. so your parents were not banned from their state college because of color? How nice.”

        • Mike A

          Eh, class privilege is a thing, just like racial or gender privilege is. It’s just that having one doesn’t cancel out the other.

          • Nancyvcrooker

            Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours & have longer with friends and family! !dg60c:
            On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
            !dg60c:
            ??
            ??;?? http://GoogleFinancialCashJobs350WebMediaGetPaid$97/Hour ????????????????????????????????????????????????????::::::!dg60c:….,….

          • Koriahiggins

            Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours & have longer with friends and family! !dh81c:
            On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
            !dh81c:
            ??
            ??;?? http://GoogleFinancialCashJobs371ShopTapGetPaid$97/Hour ????????????????????????????????????????????????????::::::!dh81c:….,……

          • Celia Gonzalez

            ~~~intersectionality~~~

      • Michelle

        The thing that these po’ wypipo don’t want to admit is the fact that they lived (majority of them) in predominantly-white communities, where they were subjected to acts that were motivated by elitism.

      • KNeale

        And the “I grew up poor” part is still within the stereotypical bounds. I went to college. I have a lot of student debt. My old coworker a WW went to college and for free. When I said I had debt she says “oh well I grew up poor so I got financial aid” to try to get something on me. (The 2520s are like salivating dogs when they think they’ve found something to outstruggle you on) Ok thanks my family is also poor and I also got financial aid and it wasn’t enough for my school so thank you for this elementary level analysis of class you idiot.

        • Blueberry01

          “The 2520s are like salivating dogs when they think they’ve found something to outstruggle you on”

          Facts.

    • MsCee

      Knowing poor means…my parents only paid my college tuition…I didn’t get any assistance when I graduated. Orrrrr, my parents only paid for my first car in cash…when I wrecked that one I had to pay for my own.

    • SoonToBeMrs

      Listen, Todd you are privileged poor. That’s my answer.

    • Glo

      “I was white and grew up in a predominately black neighborhood. The black kids always made fun of me. I know more about racism than you do.”

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/818b9d70a213c344d95e6bfb291b11c4206e7f269610fbf0418e25af281f9666.gif

      • La Bandita

        That’s Howard Stern.

    • La Bandita

      Can I say poor wyte people ARE. THE. WORST. I would rather lynch myself then be around them.

    • darkskinforeskin

      MY N****!!!!!!, my first job outta college was at a nonprivate in houston. I swear after the 3rd client slammed the door in my face, my trainer told me ff they don’t wanna work with you we didn’t want them there in the first place and he understand my plight because he grew up on food stamps. GTFOHWTB

    • AOM

      I’ve stopped referring to it as “privilege” and now refer to it as “reasons someone gets the benefit of the doubt.” The comparisons of being poor to being black go down (but don’t disappear entirely) when I do that.

    • Jonathan Colby

      Man, my single mother grew up so poor, I think there were things done to make ends meet that make my skin crawl. I got into trouble and was marginalized at school.

      Life was still a relative breeze compared to the First Nations in my town. White privilege is real. Unequivocally. Solidarity, folks

    • miss em

      omg, miss em, you’re whiter than me! Oh so I have to be poorer and less educated to be authentically black to you? GTFOOHWTBS. I’ll show you just how black I am.

    • Jeffery Allen Jr.

      I’ve had to say this so many times but when people make that argument I simply reply that your econominc disenfranchisement ? racism. End of discussion. Stop conflating the 2.

  • Diego Duarte

    Shame on you Todd.

    • “M”

      *tries not to holler*

      *fails*

      =D

  • Keisha

    RIP Bernie Mac (thanks for reminding me, Emily)

  • Junegirl627

    The saddest part about the “Becky with the self-hate” chicks is they are also the ones who will over defend your right to be black but call the cops on the “suspicious” black guy that parked his car, walked up to the door and used the key to enter. And when 911 doesn’t sound appropriately alarmed will swear she thinks she saw a gun.

    • “M”

      That woman, Becky, is Harvard Professor Skip Gates’ neighbor.

      All the time.

    • MrDBenoit

      You see em all throughout Harlem here. They often come from the Midwest. Love James Baldwin. Usually a social worker or in education cuz they want to “help out”. And they definitely love dating black men. They love black people so much but are terrified of a black person…..I know of this from experience.

      • I_AmU

        Seeing wypipo in Harlem behaving as if they belong there makes me feel stabby. Like they’ve Columbused something and ish. PUHLEEZE ITCHES! (Someone used “stabby” on a VSB string and I knew I had to have it)

        • Kas loves Jamaican Breakfast

          Do you ever find yourself using VSB slang outside of the comment section and people just look at you oddly?

          • I_AmU

            YUP! That’s the beauty of it Kas It’s our own world here.

          • I_AmU

            If I’m truthful people have always laughed when I say certain things because they think I’m trying to be funny. But I am deadly serious. Things such as “Resilients”, “wypipo ain’t happy unless they’re making other people unhappy”, “I have no reason to consider your opinion because what I’m talking about you couldn’t possibly understand” or “(insert any dismissive sentence )” and end it with “damn lack of melanin people get on my effing nerves”. All of this I have said in full voice in front of all types of people.

        • MrDBenoit

          But yeah. They brag to their friends about how safe and clean it is now, and they pay a fraction of the rent cost they paid in the upper eastside (which is still sky high for Harlem), but they still go to Trader Joes or Whole Foods in the city, cuz they don’t trust the Harlem stores. Get outta here!

          • I_AmU

            Truth! Let em go. The less of them I have to see on a daily basis the better.

          • Blueberry01

            But they trust that Starbucks on 145th between Bradhurst and 8th.

          • “M”

            TJs on WEST 72nd STREET.

            That TJs doesn’t deliver above 10027 zip code, tho

            *smh*

    • cakes_and_pies

      If Rachet Dijonaisse admitted that she was White, this would be her.

  • Karine1976

    What about Emily’s friend Jennifer: “Hi, I’m trying as hard as I can to fight the system because I’m a really good person [goes on to list credentials]. Tell me how to help fight the power because I try really hard and I can’t [goes on to list why she can’t fully participate]. I feel really bad that I can’t do more no matter how hard I try” Jennifer’s heart is in the right place but she also has has a martyr complex.

    • SoonToBeMrs

      Ain’t that bush rat, Nkechi aka Dolozenol her?!?!

      • BrothasKeeper

        You mean Ncheke Amare Badu Zulu Kufi Kinte Thalmus Rasulala.

        • SoonToBeMrs

          I mean, bish bye.

    • Monica Harris

      So here’s the thing. The letters were hilarious, but I think it’s unfair to mock people who want to do better, which Damon did. At least they trying.

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