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.

  • InezPerez

    You forgot the “A black person hurt my feelings once so therefore racism doesn’t exist” letter.

    • Junegirl627

      I went to school with that guy. “Hey the cops stop me when i walk through the neighborhood too! its not racism!” when I say Nooooo they stop you becausein their minds good white people don’t belong around here and if you are here you’re up to no good. They deny that too.

    • Looking4Treble

      Or the “I kicked it with a Black womanman once, or have mixed babies, so I am down and understand your struggle” letter.

      • Junegirl627

        “Its okay for me to call someone a dusty nig… I’m not racist I had a kid with a black woman and I love my son. I just make sure to tell him everyday that he’s not black he’s mixed. And I always tell people my son is half white not half black but you know what I mean. I punched my alcoholic Dad who used to beat my mom in the face the first time he called my kid a niglet would I do that if I was a racist?”

        • Looking4Treble

          And that is just before they pull out their tired “Heritage – Not Hate” trope of the Confederate Flag if they hail from the South, but they only fly it on Robert E. Lee’s birthday – ’cause they ain’t racist.

      • miss t-lee

        Mayne…

        • Looking4Treble

          I know.

      • Glo
        • Looking4Treble

          The prosecution rests.

    • “M”

      Two words: False equivalence.

      *sigh*

  • Diego Duarte

    The first is the most infuriating because they dog-whistle you entirely on purpose. And when you challenge them to say their mind explicitly they will always answer with a “You know what I mean?” and STILL somehow twist themselves into pretzels and claim you’re making everything about race, because they didn’t specifically call you a beaner.

    “MAYBE IF YOU HADN’T DROPPED OUT OF HIGH SCHOOL YOU WOULDN’T BTCH ABOUT YOUR FINANCIAL SITUATION!”

    “Well maybe if you weren’t selling drugs on the street, you wouldn’t have a problem with law enforcement!”

    “LEGAL immigrants don’t have a problem with Donald Trump, so why are you so bitter, huh?”

    “I bet you crossed over from Rio Grande”.

    “Well, I don’t know how it is in your country but here in America we:

    – respect law enforcement.”

    – know how to work as a team.”

    – believe in the Golden Rule.”

    – believe in hard work.”

    – fuck our cousins.”

    – fuck our pigs.”

    – have heard of Darwin and the evolution of our species but want no truck with it.”

    – have a commitment to willful ignorance, anti-intelectuallism and widespread stupidity.”

    I added those last four as a bonus, out of spite FYI.

    • Junegirl627

      Diego sometimes i read your comments and I just say “who hurt you?” Dont get me wrong I love them all and I love you but sweetie breathe. Your are so chill deficient.

      • Diego Duarte

        Noted. I have anger issues. Answer is complex and so is past, I’ll TRY to take it easy(ier).

        • cdj

          Keep posting like youve been posting. If youre anything like a lot of us, you probably self- censor when you’re out in the world dealing with them. Internalizing that stress/anger can be a killer.

        • Junegirl627

          No don’t change how you post sweetie. Just make sure you stay balanced that’s all. Im just saying have a happy place to go to after you let out your frustration.

          • Diego Duarte

            Thanks for the heads up.

            • Junegirl627

              No problem. I just don’t want you to think I want you to change because I don’t.

              • Diego Duarte

                Nah, it’s okay, I need to change. This is a serious conversation I’ve had with my siblings as well. We essentially grew up with two narcissistic parents who routinely delegitmized our feelings, which taught us to bottle things up. In my sister this manifests itself as crippling anxiety and depression, in me it manifest itself as fury.

                Working to get there, but it will take sometime. We will get to therapy eventually, but when there’s time.

                • Junegirl627

                  Okay but in the meantime if you need an outlet go for it. Don’t leave it bottled up.

                • I_AmU

                  Being self aware imop means you’re on the way to handling your ish. We all have issues. Believe dat.

                • Spencer Grace

                  damn, I see we had the same childhood.

                  • Diego Duarte

                    Too many narcs among the Boomers seems like.

                • Janelle Doe

                  tell your sister about us, she may like it here :-)

                • No Google

                  Fuck that, say whatever you want. Let it all out.

        • Hugh Akston

          You good….say what’s your mind..your thoughts stand on their own

        • Alessandro De Medici

          Nah tell em how you feel.

        • miss t-lee

          Nah bruh. Don’t water it down.

          • Kas loves Jamaican Breakfast

            Straight, no chaser is how we do it.

            • miss t-lee

              Zacklyyy

        • “M”

          Tell ’em how you feel, boo.
          We have your back
          http://verysmartbrothas.com/an-email-every-black-person-who-writes-about-race-has-received-from-a-white-person-at-least-once/#comment-3230439470

          then come to the gym and work out with us.

          #PilatesIsForBoysToo

        • I_AmU

          Nope. Be exactly who you need to be. Venting here will keep us from have to start a GoFundMe page for your exorbitant bail. Microaggressions are little paper cuts on your psyche and your soul.

          • Diego Duarte

            “Venting here will keep us from have to start a GoFundMe page for your exorbitant bail.”

            LMAO!

        • Janelle Doe

          don’t take it easier, you will work through them. Ask Todd and others – early Todd and now Todd are so different – and I think it is because he took the time to rage/vent that gave space for him to heal.

      • MsCee

        He do be worked up tho…all.the.time. Lol. But still, we love you Diego.

        • Diego Duarte

          Love you too guys :)

      • Charles Johnson

        Can’t a brotha vent to ppl who know? Microaggressions weight hard on the mind. folks be sayin some wild racist shyt with damn near impunity from society, and what’s scary is that it’s been normalized

        • Junegirl627

          Of course he can but I care enough to hope that he doesn’t only have rage. If this is where he vents so he can get through the day vent away.

        • “M”

          Yes He Can

          :-)

      • cdj

        It can be hard dealing with white people like that constantly. I used to work in an environment with them, and I wish I’d had an outlet like this. It would have saved me a lot of stress headaches.

      • NonyaB?

        LOL, let Diego cook. Seems he lives near and works with perpetrators of major fxckery and he probably can’t unfurl his thoughts on them for economic, social and safety reasons.

        • Junegirl627

          yes love.

          • BrothasKeeper

            Plus, his name alone is ridiculously pimp-esque!

            • Junegirl627

              I don’t get it…. rewind don’t get it either…

              • BrothasKeeper

                His name makes you think of a criollo who resents his wealth in light of fellow landowners’ harsh mistreatment of the townspeople and hacienda laborers, so at night he wears a mask, dons all black, and crusades for truth and justice, stealing from the cruel jefes and returning their ill-gotten gain to the people.

                • La Bandita

                  Like Che?

                  • BrothasKeeper

                    Guevara = “Malcolm Equis”.

        • “M”

          ‘STruth!

          Also for all of us who would otherwise be “Angry Angela” to the likes of Joe Walsh and I know you know what I’m talking about since Miss April and Aunt Maxine got dissed yesterday by Potato Sponge BillO and Shouty Spice — despite the WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT and CONGRESSWOMAN titles attached to their designer suits.

          /yes I’m still mad

      • Val

        Chill deficient? Stealing that.

    • SoonToBeMrs

      I ain’t even gonna lie, I thought you were white this whole time and when I seen your comment I was like didn’t you read about Todd.

      Let’s commiserate.

      • Kas loves Jamaican Breakfast

        What happened to Todd?

        • SoonToBeMrs

          What do you mean? The last white persons name listed is Todd. I liked his response hence the emphatic usage of his name. THAT IS ALL.

          • surge79uwf

            Todd is an asshole and so is Alex. The other two are somewhat tolerable.

        • NonyaB?

          Pay attention, Kaswell. Read the post again!

          • Kas loves Jamaican Breakfast

            I never pay attention to names.

      • Diego Duarte

        I laffed.

        Let us, but before that let me leave something clear and come clean to all of you. I’m what is known as a Hispanic white. Meaning here that, despite the fact that I face discrimination and have had racist comments hurled my way (Hispanic white is still, after all, just a lighter shade of brown), this comes NOTHING close to what Black people experience every day.

        – I’ve been detained over nothing, and so has my sibling. It still doesn’t come close in proportion to the amount of times Black people are detained.

        – People have implied that I’m uneducated and a third world savage. It still doesn’t match the level of condescention and contempt YTs give Black people.

        – People have doubted my credentials and professional background, and one had the gal to ask my mother (a bio-molecular biologist) if she was a janitor, when they saw her at the hospital where she worked. It still doesn’t come close to the level of disrespect Black professionals face every day.

        This is not a contest, I know. But you have it way worse. And the reason I continue to come here isn’t just to vent but because reading your experiences is beyond sobering.

        I’m not going to pat you in the back and say “it’s admirable that you can handle all of this”. No, nobody can and should “handle” racism. If this much takes a toll on me, I can only imagine how crippling it must be for you guys.

        So, until THEY listen (and this includes the Hispanic dumbfucks who voted for Donald Trump) we’re going to keep all this fuckery visible and fight back.

        • NonyaB?

          Per your roots, I assumed as much, given your name, avi and stated native country. The People’s Bureau doesn’t get such wrong.

        • “M”

          Me gustaría mucho que hablaras con tu primo Cubano aquí

          https://twitter.com/carloslcurbelo/status/841085746387812353

          .. because when DAVID DUKE tells you “Yes, you are One of Them”

          https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/03/13/rep-steve-king-says-his-somebody-elses-babies-tweet-isnt-about-race-except-with-king-its-almost-always-about-race/

          and you are still over there clinging to your (R) like you don’t have the good sense your mamita gave you, there are maybe some things you need to rethink.

          • Kas loves Jamaican Breakfast
            • “M”

              I .. have a whole rant on that. I don’t think you want to hear it.

              • Kas loves Jamaican Breakfast

                I’m just killing time at the airport. Go for it.

          • Diego Duarte

            SMH. These fools won’t stop trying to be white until they’re thrown into an oven and baked into a brownie.

            • “M”

              No te mentiré; era demasiado difícil ver las noticias de ese muro de vergüenza

              :-(

              • Diego Duarte

                Si crees que las noticias eran un bodrio, deberías leer los comentarios. La mayoría defendían esa división y el tufo discriminador con el que lo hacían era digno de un buen golpe en la cara.

                • “M”

                  “La mayoría defendían esa división”

                  The guy in the car! The guy in the caaaaaaaaaaaar ….

            • Junegirl627

              I love it! I love it all

              • Diego Duarte

                Just thought of another one on my way back home. Next time you meet a Hispanic who voted for Trump ask them the following riddle:

                “What’s white and blonde, has huge blue eyes?”

                “Dunno, what?”

                “Clearly not you, you’re brown as fuck. So stop pretending.”

                • Junegirl627

                  Fucking savage!

            • I_AmU

              I literally laughed the eff out loud! Dude you are not “chill deficient” tat all.

        • I live this dream, daily, Diego (I’m probably your mother’s age so I’ve lived it a LONG time). Keep venting here, so you don’t explode all over the Outside World. But also, remember to breathe. You fall out ? They win.

          xoxo

    • miss t-lee
    • Tay
  • I’m in the first 25 comments finally!!!!!!
    My thoughts:

    1. SOOOOOOO spot on it’s not even funny.
    2. For part 2, please work in the “I don’t know why the cashier at Walgreens got mad when I called her “girl”…my black friend Sharlita says it all the time “hey girl!”.

    • Val

      “I’m in the first 25 comments finally!!!!!”

      I guess folks have given up trying to be first. Lol

      • Kas loves Jamaican Breakfast

        It’s cool but once you have done it once . . .

        • “M”

          LOL. Okay, Jack Nicholson from Cuckoo’s Nest.
          XD

  • NonyaB?

    You forgot the “You’re racist and being divisive by having the audacity to mention this racist issue that we’re ignoring”.

    • miss t-lee

      Girl…

      • NonyaB?

        You know! Especially those that have the nerve to mention it in discussion on a POC-based group, then act appalled when the group revises membership or creates a sub-group to strictly POC only with no “allies” allowed.

        • miss t-lee

          Seriously.

    • “M”

      They seriously need to take “divisive” out. Of. Their. Mouths.

      • RagesAgainstMachines

        Right. Like bish we’re already divided. That’s the whole ENTIRE point!!!

        • “M”

          And who did the dividing? Let’s parse that.

          Oh – you don’t want to continue the conversation now …?

          *smh*

    • Diego Duarte

      Nowadays it seems only Blacks can be seen as “racist”. “He who smelt it dealt it” racism, as Jon Stewart once pointed out.

      Fucking Leonardo Dicaprio winning that oscar fucked up the timeline and put us in an alternate universe.

    • Glo

      “Racism won’t go away until you people stop bringing it up all the time.”

      • “M”

        Complete with “you people”

        :-/

    • Andrea

      “I wouldn’t have to be racist if you would just stop being black”

  • SoonToBeMrs

    This is hilarious.

    Also you are a nucca. That took me out. Love it.

  • PunchDrunkLove

    I Horshacked laughed on the second letter.

    • SoonToBeMrs

      Omg. Where is that on your profile pic?! So tranquil. Baby B and I need to be there a.s.a.p.

      • PunchDrunkLove

        I was on vacay

  • Wild Cougar

    It could have been what he says to everybody, did you consider that? It could have been because you’re tall, wearing a red shirt. Maybe he’s a bull and red makes him mad. Did you take the time to consider that before you jumped to this offensive conclusion that somebody is offensive because of race?! Huh?! What if he’s just a jerk. Maybe his girlfriend broke up with him. Or his boyfriend, did you consider that he might be gay you race baiting scourge?! Did you search Google and do a peer reviewed study of every possibility in the universe and cross reference it with probability statistics and chaos theory before you decided it’s racism? No? You’re the problem then. You’re why racism exists, because you fail to give greater weight to EVERY OTHER possible motive so white people don’t have to feel guilt. Damn you!

    • SoonToBeMrs

      WC who you talkin to? Feels like they right next to you? They still breathing or nah?

      • Wild Cougar

        I’m talking to white people who NEED it to be anything but race, please.

        • SoonToBeMrs

          I thought Todd was right next to you and you unleashed it on him. I was just checking to see if he made it to the other side without scratches.

          I hear you oo.

          • Wild Cougar

            Todd? I haven’t heard that name in years…..

            • SoonToBeMrs

              Lol. It’s a beautiful name, no?

              • Wild Cougar

                Uhhhhh…… you on his PR team?

                • SoonToBeMrs

                  Sure.

        • miss t-lee

          Whew.

    • Diego Duarte

      I laughed too hard at this.

    • theresa.

      I’ve seen people all day using that excuse with the bill o’reilly/Maxine Waters situation. Trying to say that he wasn’t racist, he’s just being an asshole. I just had to shut down my computer.

    • lunanoire

      mental gymnastics that rival Gabby Douglas and Simone Biles put together

    • La Bandita

      Racial gaslighting at its finest.

  • I started laughing loudly at “White turkey meat.”

    And I’m at work. I don’t care.

  • Goldieloxx

    COFFEE? YOU DESTROY SOMEONE’S ENTIRE FAMILY AND YOU WANT TO BUY HIM COFFEE. IM SO ?

  • PunchDrunkLove

    What’s worse than racist white people? Black people trying to get their comeuppance and fit in with white people. I would say racist white people but I’on wanna label folks. Hahaha. Don’t get me wrong I think we all have a lil bit of racism in us, some more than others, some as counter/by default, but I’ll be kind and leave it at white people. Anyhoo, I just sniggle to myself cause if it’s transparent to me I’m certain it is to them. But hey if you’re aiming for Token of the year they’ll toss you a bone. Just know tho you just assigned yourself bottom position.

    • SoonToBeMrs

      I disagree on the we all have a lil bit of racism in us…..nah white people got that on lock b.

      • PunchDrunkLove

        Well, I stand corrected and in touch with myself and say I….LOL

        I shouldn’t speak for the masses

        • SoonToBeMrs

          I need an example. I think you are in the business of mislabeling yourself.

          • PunchDrunkLove

            Most times I can’t stand white folks. Yes, because of what they do and how they are but I got to go for and worry about me. I can’t let folks and their trifleness affect me. I’m praying to be a better person.

            • SoonToBeMrs

              That is not racism. That is emotional trauma.

              • PunchDrunkLove

                Heck I’ll take that. They irk me.

                • SoonToBeMrs

                  Lol. They irk errybody including their own.

                  • PunchDrunkLove

                    Just ugh. I’m even more irked by folks vying for their validation.

                    • SoonToBeMrs

                      I can’t stand. Or like when a black bish puts on an exaggerated Valley accent. Bish, you still black. You still gon get shot. Just stop it, already.

                    • PunchDrunkLove

                      Got both here, valley girl and token black.

      • Racism no. Prejudice? Definitely. Like I was a bit nervous because they added this old White guy to the medical practice I go to. Is it the same as Jim Crow? No. Did I prejudge dude based on looks? Definitely.

        • SoonToBeMrs

          Yap. We all have bias in us be it conscious or unconscious.

        • Val

          “Did I prejudge dude based on looks? Definitely.”

          That’s simply being careful based upon 500 years of history though. Much different from being a bigot.

        • PunchDrunkLove

          I can dig prejudice over racism.

    • Here’s the thing about the token stuff. White people think that if you aren’t either ghetto or constantly outspoken that you’re trying to play the token. I’m not sucking up to White people as much as knowing when to play my cards. I’ve shocked a few White people with some low key militancy. It seems to cut them more.

      • “M”

        Awww. If they are cut they can leave in this vehicle

        http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v624/sip44/Smileys/wahmbulance2.jpg

      • orchid921

        A former co-worker (white, obvi) made the mistake of asking me what I thought about “Girls” one night at the bar after work. She asked because I’m a journalist originally from NY and I told her straight up: “That’s my life and I wish the creator had bothered to include someone who looks like me.” She hasn’t looked at me the same since. Blame it on the a-a-a-a-alcohol …

      • We must be twins.
        I’m extremely versatile…right up until they try to say some off color shid. Then I shady check ’em so hard, they have to pick their faces up before they leave.
        As a famous VSB scholar said…
        “Run up, and get done up.”

        • “M”

          “shady check”

          *files for l8r use*

      • PunchDrunkLove

        I totally agree. Sucking up ain’t in my DNA but knowing when to play the right card is. As for low key militancy….hahaha….sho you’re

        • Word. That’s why I get annoyed with Black people who feel they have to call out Every Single Thing that is racial. I’m not saying shuck and jive but a sniper rifle works better than a bazooka with these things.

          • PunchDrunkLove

            Exactly. Every time ain’t the right time. That becomes ineffective. Playing nice gets the job done sometimes.

          • Monica Harris

            Meh, I feel like there is enough room in the world for black people like you and black people who call everything out.

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