Race & Politics, Theory & Essay

Is It Ever “Ok” For Whites To Criticize Blacks?

Last weekend, one of my homegirls invited me to go see “The Dutchman” — a 45 minute long one act play that’s intended to serve as an allegory for Black/White relations in America. Since Saturday was the last day it would be playing at the Bricolage Theater — and since my particular form of bougie Blackness calls for me to witness or partake in at least one “serious” conversation about race per month to offset my affinity for bottomless mimosas — I couldn’t pass it up.

Intense, disturbing, (occasionally) melodramatic, and intentionally provocative, the play itself was pretty much what I expected it to be. The most interesting part of the evening, though, was the “talk back” — the planned, hour-long discussion about race that took place right afterwards; a conversation involving cast members, the theater production people, and the audience. The theater only holds maybe 60 seats, and it’s structured so that the audience surrounds the stage on all sides. A quick jaunt to Goggle shows that this is called “theatre-in-the-round” — the perfect format to have a group discussion.

As you may have guessed, the audience was (mostly) comprised of Black people and the type of ultra-liberal, well-intentioned Whites who wear t-shirts with things like “White Privilege Sucks” written on them — basically, the exact type of audience that’s always present in any “serious” and open discussion about race that most of us have been a part of. And, usually these discussions are nothing but us (Black people) sharing our stories and airing our grievances while the Whites in the crowd nod solemnly and occasionally share their own self-depreciating stories about when they first realized that all White people are evil racists.

There was one person, though, who didn’t stick to the usual script. She was biracial (White and Native American), and she shared some not-so-positive experiences and feelings involving Black people. Her statements went over about as well as a fart in a crowded elevator; you could hear people groaning and sighing while she was talking, and everyone there — myself included — couldn’t wait to respond to and rebut some of the things she was saying.

Now, part of the reaction to her definitely had to do with her delivery. There was a certain tone-deaf antagonism attached to what she was saying. Basically, her body language and tone screamed “I’m fed up with y’all niggas, and you’re about to hear why, dammit!” But, on Sunday, as I reflected on the discussion, I realized that she actually didn’t complain about anything we don’t regularly complain about to each other.

She’s a stage manager, and the story she shared had to do with how Black actors are pretty much never on time. Once, when she asked a group of habitually late actors to be more respectful of her time, they felt disrespected and starting showing up even later just to spite her. (I actually laughed aloud when hearing that)

Again, she had the type of tone and assistant principal-esque demeanor that made it pretty easy to see why someone would respond to her the way the actors did. But, I do wonder if we just have a legitimate problem with getting “called out” by White people.

Actually, that’s a lie. I don’t wonder about this. I know we generally do not take kindly to White people criticizing anything that has to do with Black people and Black culture. As stated earlier, the criticism could even be the exact same thing we criticize about ourselves, but a White voice seems to make that criticism invalid.

For instance, in the last couple of months, there have been at least two high-profile instances of a non-liberal White person publicly criticizing something related to Black people and facing serious repercussions because of it.

John Derbyshire’s “The Talk: Nonblack version” — a “letter” to his son teaching him the best way to avoid violent confrontations with Black people — got him fired from his job at The National Review. While Derbyshire deserved to be fired for using shitty science to back his race-based racist assertions, much of what he said in his piece has come out of our own mouths many times.

In fact, three of his pieces of advice — “(10a) Avoid concentrations of blacks not all known to you personally, (10b) Stay out of heavily black neighborhoods, and (10c) If planning a trip to a beach or amusement park at some date, find out whether it is likely to be swamped with blacks on that date” — are things that can be found in our freakin book.

In one of our chapters, Panama jokes that any guy trying to avoid having to fight anyone while on a date should stay away from places that young Black people congregate, like Applebee’s, night clubs, and Detroit.

You could make the same point about Naomi Schaefer Riley, who was recently fired from The Chronicle of Higher Education for writing a piece criticizing the value of Black Studies courses at universities. Was she wrong for flippantly dismissing an entire field of study? Yes. But, raise your hand if you’ve ever joked among other Black people that a Black Studies degree is about as useless as thumbs on a roach.

Granted, Riley and Derbyshire aren’t the best examples to use when making this point. Both were being intentionally sensationalistic, and they both basically got what they were asking for. But, it’s not only the non-liberal Whites who get this type of push back. I’ve read 1000 word long criticisms of Roger Ebert — a man who’s about as liberal, articulate, reasonable, and well-read as a person can possibly be — just because he gave a Tyler Perry movie a (deservedly) bad review, and I can’t count how many times I’ve heard White sports pundits called racist because they had something bad to say about a Black athlete. In these instances, the tone didn’t even matter. It just came down to “You’re White and he’s Black and that means you can’t say shit”

Anyway, that’s it for me today. I’m curious though: Do you think we have a problem with hearing criticism from Whites? If so, do you think it has more to do with the content of the criticism, or the tone/manner used to criticize?

Lastly, can you think of a time/situation where it was ever “Ok” for a White to call out a Black person/Black people in regards to something race-related?

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)

Filed Under: , ,
Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a contributing editor for EBONY.com. He resides in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes.

  • http://challyshares.tumblr.com/ Nei Jae


    • http://challyshares.tumblr.com/ Nei Jae

      Oh, I skipped all over the first question. My bad.

      “Do you think we have a problem with hearing criticism from Whites? If so, do you think it has more to do with the content of the criticism, or the tone/manner used to criticize?”

      I answer this in a resounding YES. We (in general) do have that problem. We like to liken and negative word or action towards us by non-blacks as a racial thing although, as you said, we say the same things about and do the same things to ourselves all the time. Perfect example: Black Owned Businesses.

      We complain and refuse to patronize a lot of them for an infinite number of reasons, but let us hear a non-black give those same excuses and we’re ready to call Jesse and Al ‘nem.

      • https://twitter.com/#!/mackaroto Jay

        Oh, I skipped all over the first question. My bad.

        You’re first. Thats all that matters.

        • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5FR1LGsT7E TheAnti-Cool


        • http://challyshares.tumblr.com/ Nei Jae

          if only life were that simple….


      • Jocelyn

        Lol…we do indeed.

    • Springs Love

      I hear ya, but lets be real here, people only repeat what you tell them or what they hear YOU joke about! Its only natural to do so, especially if they don’t know really what they are talking about… I say it is never okay because this is what is their gene-pool so-to-speak, call it a commonality amongst a large group that has yet to be approached in the analytical manner it requires and deserves., some people call it diahrea at the mouth…it burns cause they just don’t understand what caused it!!!!
      callin out=callin shots!!

      Out with the old, in with the You
      Thanks and blessings

    • Novelismo


    • Mike Saturno

      Thinking that Jesse and Al are actually good and worthy of “calling into action” is part of the problem!

      • http://www.heavensgiftjust4you.com Rovenea Turner


    • Bebe

      The Assistant Principal in me is still rolling on the floor. But, my right mind has to acknowledge that none of the black people I know exist in a utopian state of absolute blackness where no white influences dare to tread or demand to be heard. In fact mp pme I know wants to be heard. They want to be agreed with and that’s where the problems come in, if you ask me. If we could respect the rights of folks to think what they will without having to be bothered with their need for sympatico all would be at least digestible. But the wretched, ‘I know you won’t like this; but, I’m going to say it anyway and you shouldn’t criticize me for feeling as I do: in fact, you might just want to celebrate my courage!” bit is tedious. I care less for what you think than for my own opinions that I’m happy to own. Stop self indulging the need to have a captive audience that gets you and agrees with you, rubs your back, nods and waits for your next remark. It is a childish indulgenceand a waste of energy, (to me.) Even the white guy I married and bred with knows where the conversation is going when someone pulls that out of their behind.Whew! Glad to get hat out. Now let me get out of this chair and go check and see what havoc them kids be creating in my nice, orderly school.

  • Breezy

    No…the end.

    • http://pervertedalchemist.blogspot.com/ Perverted Alchemist

      Well…that was quick, LMAO!!!

  • Iamnotakata

    No…I don’t even have to read the post.

    • LMNOP

      you might as well read it though, since you’re here and all.

      • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

        lol. ninjas.

    • Jocelyn

      I gotta say…that’s exactly what ole girl who wrote the black studies piece got fired for. You can’t have an opinion about something if u have first done the research. Well u can but your opinion isn’t really valid. Read it…was very well written.

  • LSQ

    Uh, yea – but er ah, we don’t take criticism from ANYBODY all that well.

    • LMNOP

      good point. Actually I think that in general NOBODY takes criticism well.

      But I do think a white person criticizing ALL black people is something different, and worse.

      • kmplx

        i second that, in a sweeping statement kinda way, with exceptions to everyrule disclaimer… black people don’t do criticism too well… i’m an African, living in Africa but previously lived in Europe for over a decade, and to be honest, we do not take any form of criticism, whether constructive or otherwise, well. nto because what is being said is not true, but rather who that piece of information is coming from. we will listen blindly to someone we trust, like our pastor, our hairdresser etc with no actually reflection or consideration that they might actually be wrong. but if we feel you shouldn’t be telling us something, then we go all out and act a damn fool. i catch myself doing it all the time, and have to take a step back and breathe and reconsider that my hairdresser has got jacked up hair herself and is usually wrong.

        • http://afrikanmami.blogspot.com Locks of Love

          @ kmplx
          “to be honest, we do not take any form of criticism, whether constructive or otherwise, well. nto because what is being said is not true, but rather who that piece of information is coming from.”

          I disagree with your statement. We are constantly on the receiving end, and negatively so. We DO take criticism too well, in my opinion, never questioning the why’s, where, who, and what. We are known to be ass kissers! We should just all throw up our middle fingers and tell them, FUG YOU, WE DON’T NEED YOU! And my assertions can be backed by the prolific economist, Dambisa Moyo’s thought provoking, “Dead Aid” book and Prof. George Ayittey (one of my greatest role models). He tells it like it is, never once, mincing his words.

          “but if we feel you shouldn’t be telling us something, then we go all out and act a damn fool.”

          Please, do not GENERALIZE and put all Africans into this box of yours. I and many others I know, do NOT act a damn fool! *blank stare, like really?!* If anything, we are a curious lot and ask a lot of questions.

          • Andi-A

            NOT OKAY. I am beyond tired of ludacris black shame constantly weighing on our shoulders. Do the whites sit around and ponder the embarassment the media reports on starting at the crack of dawn, their overall lacking standards of hygiene, how spending that “1st” night in jail is celebrated as some right of passage for them, how easily some use just being a republican as an excuse to hold to every ignorance possible so they never have to learn a damn thing, or at least to why they are one of the most socially dumb groups when it comes to knowing and understanding any other group or race? No they don’t ponder because it’s their heritage to take and take over, meanwhile the smoke screens are created time after time…

            • http://www.heavensgiftjust4you.com Rovenea Turner

              so true

        • Kandi

          I agree and would take it so far to say that black people do not take criticism well from anybody, and I’m speaking to public criticism. I still remember the incident on Spellman’s campus when they spoke out against Nelly (blasphemous right?). The truth of the matter is we cannot dictate how white people speak to us or what they say but, that’s true of advice from any source. What should change if anything is the knee jerk reaction just because somebody says something you don’t like. I understand it can and has functioned as a defense mechanism but, it is preventing us from excelling.

          • Justmetheguy

            ” What should change if anything is the knee jerk reaction just because somebody says something you don’t like. I understand it can and has functioned as a defense mechanism but, it is preventing us from excelling.”

            Exactly. Which is much easier said than done. We also need to choose our battles much more wisely and stop fighting at least 30% of the battles we regularly fight (with much enthusiasm too). And most importantly we need to understand that most people will never fully understand or like us. Accepting that alone will do wonders for your quality of life. Trust me

            • Kandi

              The picking battles is the utmost of importance. For example, there are women now that are protesting not getting into a nightclub because of race. Now, I know the embarassment of being excluded/ignored but is that really the biggest issue facing black people in the US today? If 1/2 the people that complained about the Psychology Today issue complained about the state of the school system in our major cities things would change. Sometimes its as if black people have this childlike relationship with white people, Im like why are you trying so hard to impress people that will never like you and will never willing share power/wealth with you. I think that they are just hoping that one day we’ll awake up and start treating us like equals but the truth is we have had to fight for every right and that fight is not over.

              • http://www.mysixcents.wordpress.com K. LySha

                On the picking battles based on the significance to the progression of our race scale, getting into a nightclub ranks close to the bottom, but I completely feel the girls filing that lawsuit about that nightclub because some girlfriends and I tried to get into that same nightclub on a recent vacation to Miami. We only chose it because it was walking distance from our hotel not because we were seeking acceptance from “the man”. We got the exact same treatment those girls got. We had no idea they allegedly discriminated based on race or looks or whatever their random entry criteria are. We were just annoyed that we got dressed up to go out but wound up standing in their lobby area watching only white women being granted entry. If it weren’t pouring raining outside and incredibly late we would have taken our patronage some place where the music and the treatment would have been far better instead of waiting an hour before realizing we weren’t going to get in. Just because whether or not we’re accepted at some douchy club isn’t important doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be called out. I hope those girls win their lawsuit and I wish I could get in on it too. But this is completely irrelevant to this conversation.

              • Lisa

                You are right. The worst part of the whole thing is, us a african so call american do not have a home we call our own. We were sold by our own in Africa and send to to America as slaves we will never be equal the the whites If we look back in history they are takers this is there nature, take USA from the indians. And this country became strong on our backs. But do we get credit? No, the whites do and I am happy to participate in this forum. We are talking about race and this is good. I wish the politicans would grab the bull by the horn and discuss this as well. But they do not want blacks to be mad. We are already angry, because we deserve to be treated as humans-equals since we billed this country.

  • http://afrikanmami.blogspot.com Locks of Love

    Yes, Both. No, I can’t think—->my eyes are pregnant with sleep.

    Happy belated mother’s day to all, in particular too:

    1.) my femboo, 2.) my e-wife, and 3.) my queen

    Hope ya’ll had a blessed day, as I had, thanking God for his gracious and beloved mercies for making me mommy to two beautiful dogs. Love you babies!!!!! woof woof.

    • http://afrikanmami.blogspot.com Locks of Love

      Oh llllllllawwwwd hammmmercy, the one who gives me the Biblical giggles is back!!! iCAAAAANT! iSHAAAAAAANT die from hysterics!! In Jesus name, Amen :)

    • nillalatte

      *takes Locks of Loves right hand by her right hand, leans forward, kisses her on each cheek while saying* asalam al elikum habbiti…. happy mother’s day to you too. *steps back and places her right hand over her heart*

      • http://afrikanmami.blogspot.com Locks of Love

        oh hun!!! you are welcome!!!

        But girl, I advise you not to read any of my comments after this, coz I’m goiiiiiiiing in

        Lawwwwd, I still luuuuuuuuuwwwwwwe ma QQQQQQQQUUUUUUEEEEN!!! Oh heavenly mercies, why do I love thee???!!?!?!

        • nillalatte

          Nah, it ain’t no thang Love. Say what you like. Beat up on white folks. Some of them deserve it. I’ll beat up on some black folks. Some of them deserve it too. At then end of the day, we’ll move on. Life. It is what it is.

      • Medium Meech

        I knew it.

        • nillalatte

          You knew what Meech?

        • http://afrikanmami.blogspot.com Locks of Love

          You knew what? *said with a tude, and smacking of booblygum*

        • Medium Meech

          That you were Muslim.

          • http://afrikanmami.blogspot.com Locks of Love

            u my dear are as confusing as your name!!! I ain’t understand, where you got that notion from.

          • nillalatte

            LOL… that gesture was Arab in culture, not so much Muslim. But, yes, many Muslimahs do greet each other in this fashion. I have taken Shahada, but I’m not a practicing religious anything. Where you been for the last six or eight months I’ve been playing on VSB? You didn’t uncover a secret dear. :)

    • A Woman’s Eyes

      Thanks! And thanks again for that sizzling picture of my favorite Benin man to lust after. Gorgeous body!

      Champ you have the habit of giving us the answers before you ask us the question. lol

      I do not care to hear White people’s criticism of Black people. The tone is often “why can’t they be as wise as I am?” to “I have the need to vent to the nearest Black person because I can’t stand those ignorant %%#*%@&”

      • http://pervertedalchemist.blogspot.com/ Perverted Alchemist

        “The tone is often “why can’t they be as wise as I am?” to “I have the need to vent to the nearest Black person because I can’t stand those ignorant %%#*%@&””

        This is something that I like to refer to as the Bill O’Reilly syndrome.

      • http://afrikanmami.blogspot.com Locks of Love

        You welcome boo!

        But I’m hella mad that Kimora got my man! Shoo, I was going to be his sweet, full of obnoxiousness life, boo thang!

        That’s alright, I have Idris Elba!!! *fans sef, faints and resurrects in time to catch the madness of this post*

    • Kema

      Nothing for your fem crush? *hangs head*

      • http://afrikanmami.blogspot.com Locks of Love

        Oh mi gooosh, girrrrrrl I swear to the heavens I love you and your ASSets, and it was not intentional that I forgot you ma!!!!

        My apologies, and with all due respect, Happy belated Mothers day darling!!!! I hope you had a blessed and full day, as the ASSets indicate!!!


        Imma need to keep a diary!

    • MJoy

      Thank you fembooboo!!!!!

      It took me a min to figure out your avi… I thought it was a guy’s face with a big neck/back with the forehead cut off with two horns coming out of the top…

      I got super drunk for mother’s day.

      • http://afrikanmami.blogspot.com Locks of Love


        LMAOOOOOOOOOO@ your description of my avi.

        • Kema

          Thats what I saw too!!! I had to look at it for a lil bit but the time was well spent. lol!

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5FR1LGsT7E TheAnti-Cool

    Welp. I can see where this post is going…

    • http://afrikanmami.blogspot.com Locks of Love

      I’m seeing it going down by the riverside….where exactly you seeing it going?

      • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5FR1LGsT7E TheAnti-Cool

        I’m just predicting a lot more nos and folks coming in hot and ready to tear Champ a new one for even entertaining such a foolish notion.

        Dang. Did you change your pic that fast? Sometimes I feel as if I don’t know who you are anymore.

        • naturalista88

          She’s the Mystique of VSB *lol*.

          • https://twitter.com/#!/mackaroto Jay


          • That Ugly Kid

            I LOVE Mystique! I was mad as hell when Wolverine didn’t smash that in X2. I mean seriously, she’s ultimate roleplayer in the bedroom. She can be anyone. Anyone you wish! Feel like re-enacting Monster’s Ball with Halle Berry? Boom, done deal.

            The only thing I’d be worried about is if she can control her powers when she’s all spazzing out during an orgasm. Because things can get mighty awkward if she shape shifts randomly, to both men and women, during this time. Nothing will kill an erection quicker, as well as give you a lifetime supply of gruesome nightmares, like having Zoe Saldana riding you one moment, closing your eyes for a second, and opening them to find a naked Morgan Freeman on top of you.

            • http://afrikanmami.blogspot.com Locks of Love

              @ TUK

              You have an overactive imagination. iDIED @ Zoe and Freeman

              You do know shape shifting is REAL! and it happens right?

            • LMNOP

              My daughter’s father wanted to name her Mystique. I actually thought it was a nice name until he explained that it was from the X-men.

              When I was pregnant and working overtime, he would “help get ready for the baby too” by going to the bookstore to look for baby names in comic books.

              • That Ugly Kid

                I see no problem there. He was putting in hard work and doing extensive research. When I have a son, I’m going to name him Jiraiya after a character in the Japanese manga, Naruto. That will be my prep for the baby!

                • LMNOP

                  lol. Men…

                • NYCgyal

                  I swear I told my brother that I’m going to name my son Jiraiya too. We have a lot of males with the initials JAD in our family, so Jiraiya is going to be the next one. LOL at the thought of two Black boys named Jiraiya walking around.

                  • john

                    Too many vowels and impossible to pronounce. Take it from a white boy David or Steven is better..

              • Aly

                Ha! Your ex sounds like mine. He gave me the choice of either Xavier (which is actually a great name) or Wolverine (which is not).

                • LMNOP

                  Wolverine? lol, glad to know I’m not alone in this.

                  • Aly

                    Yeah, he said he was joking about that one, but that ninja wasn’t joking.

                    • http://pervertedalchemist.blogspot.com/ Perverted Alchemist

                      I mean, you could call him Wolfie for short- kind of like how Eddie Van Halen refers to his son Wolfgang…no? Moving right along…

                • MJoy

                  my options were Kortez, Koleone, or Kamali….

                  I went with Kameron.


                  saw the Avengers, it was AWESOME

                  • That Ugly Kid

                    I KNOW!!! That was my favorite superhero movie of all time!!!

                    • demondog06

                      no black panther, no luke cage or captain marvel….black folks aren’t gettin no love with the superhero movies

                    • That Ugly Kid


                      To be fair, the movie chronicled the foundation of the original Avengers, in which none of the characters you mentioned were present. The only characters they left out, were Ant-Man and Wasp.

                      However, black people or no, that movie was f*cking fantastic.

                  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5FR1LGsT7E TheAnti-Cool

                    The Avengers? YES. I loved every second of it.

            • A Woman’s Eyes

              omg I can’t take you lmao!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

              • That Ugly Kid

                “omg I can’t take you”

                I’ll give you three guesses as to what my response to this will be, but you’re only gonna need one.

                • A Woman’s Eyes

                  oh yes it involves your superhero pen*s.


                  • That Ugly Kid

                    *tear* You know me so well. I’m finally understood…

        • http://afrikanmami.blogspot.com Locks of Love

          I like men. With locks. I like men who are dark as night. Therein lies your knowledge of who I is.

          • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5FR1LGsT7E TheAnti-Cool

            *noted and filed away*

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5FR1LGsT7E TheAnti-Cool

      But let me answer your questions anyway:

      Do you think we have a problem with hearing criticism from Whites? If so, do you think it has more to do with the content of the criticism, or the tone/manner used to criticize?

      Yes. I think it’s both but more the former than the latter. It’s like the whole “I can talk about how fcked up my family is but if you say something we gonna be moving furniture”. Knowing our own dysfunctions is one thing; knowing that other people that aren’t OUR people know it too is something else.

      As for whether its “okay” for a non-black to call us out on decidedly black sht…It depends on who’s saying it, what’s being said, and how it’s being said. So, ultimately, not really.

      • LMNOP

        It’s like the whole “I can talk about how fcked up my family is but if you say something we gonna be moving furniture”

        very true.

        • E. Reed

          Historically, White people’s criticism and opinion of Black people has been rooted in ignorance, staggering preconceived notions, and limited interaction.

          Of course, Black people are wary and unwilling to accept criticism from a white person; there will always be an underlying tinge of race that colors the conversation and alters perception.

          From my perspective, the limited interaction with Black people is something that leaves white criticisms void and null.

          It’d be like a wealthy individual who has NEVER been poor basically pointing out every flaw of poor people that they see in passing on a daily basis.

          Forming opinions based on very limited info is not good.

          • Justmetheguy

            @ E. Reed- I haven’t read but maybe a quarter of the comments, but so far yours was the best I’ve read. Great points and great analogy (with rich people trying to tell poor people how they should be living). No outsider will get license to criticize a group with unique challenges/circumstances without being policed by the semantics police (because being PC and choosing your semantics accurately aren’t quite the same thing contrary to popular belief)

    • http://pervertedalchemist.blogspot.com/ Perverted Alchemist

      This post is going hammer!!!!

  • http://twitter.com/InAnimateAlpha Animate

    Yes its okay. Delivery is key as with anything else

    • http://afrikanmami.blogspot.com Locks of Love

      uh oh!!!

      *waving a sweet hello there mista*

      How you doin?

    • Rog

      In my experience it’s always in the delivery of the criticism.

      Whenever the discussion came up in class in college it was as if the white kids thought ” Yes, I’m finally in a setting (classroom) where I can let all my emotions out without fear, time to go all in”. Its like all their negative experiences or pre-conceived notions finally had an outlet and there wasn’t much restraint.

      • http://voodoochile88.tumblr.com/ Craig and Dem

        So I’m not the only who noticed this? Thank God! White people love to cut loose in a place and situation where they know they can’t be harmed or yanked out they seat.

        Now as I say this I mean no disrespect to you educated White people who know when to air out your beefs. To the latter you know I’m lookin dead at you

        • QuiteExasperated

          Is liking to be able to speak without fear of being “harmed or yanked out they seat” somehow unique to white people?

          If this is true, I may have to re-examine my beliefs on mental diversity and race. I would have thought everybody preferred that state of affairs.

    • http://pervertedalchemist.blogspot.com/ Perverted Alchemist

      Absolutely. What White people don’t seem to understand is there is a difference between criticizing and throwing people under the bus. In their case, they do the latter as opposed to the former.

      • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

        that may be true…but hell, they learned that from us. we throw them under the bus all the time, why should things be different? lol.

        cant really blame them for that.

        • Breezy

          Nah PJ, I beg to differ. I think we throw each other under the bus on our own…white folks took that as a indicator that it was alright for them to do so as well and then took the crap too far. Like Kevin Hart said on TLAW…”black people marched, fought, and died for the right to treat each other like shit.”

          • Justmetheguy

            +1 Breezy- With certain Caucasian individuals it’s like you can literally see the look on their face after you make some insightful (but respectful) criticism about black folks. They’re eyes will light up like “OMG, so it’s cool to talk about how idiotic and backwards they are now? Guess what else?!” and I’m like slow down there cowboy, one of us has context, empathy, and a micro as well as macroscopic lens for the cause and effects that influence our community it DETAIL. So when I criticize it’s from an empathetic perspective, whereas you seem to just be disinterested or apathetic of our history and culture at best and flat out misinformed and disrespectful at worst. In short, I have way more context and I also complain because my intention is to diagnose then resolve our issues. These individuals are only complaining because they’re annoyed by and uncomfortable with black people and need an excuse to deride and dehumanize us. They still feel guilty about what’s gone down these last 3-5 centuries and are sub-consciously trying to justify all or at least most of the oppression towards us that their people have been on the guilty end of.

            • MJoy

              Beautifully stated. I only partially agree but your eloquence is s*xy all the same ;)

            • http://afrikanmami.blogspot.com Locks of Love

              @ jmtg,

              you is edjumacated. you’ve been on that intellectual tip for the past 3 posts. uh oh!

              I’m happy my femboo got her a man, that can conversate.

            • nillalatte

              You know JMTG on that point, I have a difficult time processing when folks talk shyt about their own people. Yeah, yeah, I know I have talked about backwoods rednecks and such, not often, and I guess it processes differently.

              I heard my ex call his people (i.e. Arab people) stupid, backwards, etc. It never really set well with me. I told him, “Stop it. These are your people.” To which he’d gesture like move away.

              When I talk to my Filipino friend, OMG, the shyt that comes out of his mouth about Filipino people is just crazy. I remember he was talking about a Hispanic dude one day and said the term “wetback.” I stopped him mid-sentence and asked, “Why do you use that term?” He stuttered then said, “Oh, girl a minority calling another minority a name ain’t all that.”

              I guess to that end, we all should not bash our own race of people so haphazardly. If we did raise the bar in that manner then others would hopefully follow. Just pondering here.

              • Namia

                i agree

  • mena

    Yes. It is more than fine but it is about the delivery. Blacks need to stop being so sensitive all the time. If we can criticize others, why can’t they call us out? Why are we so quick to dismiss other peoples criticisms of us but want for others to not only listen but reflect on the criticisms we have of them?

    We will never be able to have an open dialogue about race until we all air whatever problems we have with each other and then sit down and dissect the problems.

    • mena

      Tone, delivery, intent, doesn’t matter one bit in the big scheme of things. You say something negative, we are ready to jump and defend without listening.

      • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5FR1LGsT7E TheAnti-Cool

        Plus, tone, delivery and intent can be misread unless you are willing to take some questions and conversations further at the risk of being proved right. Cause there is a chance you might be wrong and you could miss the opportunity to make someone genuinely willing to learn a little more informed.

        • Mena

          Yes. If we could just connect the two things on the side of our heads (ears) with the big thing in our heads (brain), we may make some progress.

          As much as blacks want to say that we have a high level self esteem, when it comes to our race, we just don’t. Understandably so. But b/c of this low level self esteem and the likes of Jesse and Al who remind us of how we can’t because of our race everyday, when someone criticizes us, we are SO quick to jump to the racial factor. When you hear that b/c you are black no one will ever take your seriously, like you, or are out to make your life a living h3ll, you begin to believe it.

          Many blacks who are upwardly mobile, when criticized, while go to race as the absolute LAST factor and even then will go back to points A-Y to make sure they evaluated everything completely before heading to Z. I don’t like being around people who blame everything on their race or who can’t have an open conversation about race. This just says to me that you don’t have the ability to think outside of the box.

          • MJoy

            “As much as blacks want to say that we have a high level of self esteem, when it comes to our race, we just don’t.”


    • LMNOP

      ” Blacks need to stop being so sensitive all the time.”

      Interesting. Maybe I am just an oversensitive person, but whenever I hear this, I think “or maybe whites need to stop being so insensitive all the time.”

      • Justmetheguy

        Yeah, it’s both honestly. We’re too sensitive AND they’re to d*mn insensitive.

        • Mena

          But I honestly don’t think that most whites are being insensitive when they ask us questions. I just feel like they want to know.

          Think of it this way and not to be condescending, but children ask inappropriate questions all the time b/c they want to know. They don’t actually understand that they are being inappropriate. But if you continue to knock a child’s questions down, after a while, they wont ask questions and will form their own opinions. This also stops the child from asking questions about other topics since they are afraid that they will receive a negative reaction.

          I feel this way about questions on race. All of my white friends know that they can come and ask me any questions that they choose to do so. I will then not only answer their question but will let them know if the question is appropriate or not and we usually have a discussion about it. Some may feel that i am going overboard but i can’t ask of them to think outside of the box and think about their own prejudices if i am not willing to address my own discomfort of being asked the bagillionth time about my hair or skin products or who i feel about gentrification or the democratic party, etc. It’s a two way street.

          From some of the comments on this topic today, it seems like it is a one way street that whites need to get on or just get off. Stop it.

          • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5FR1LGsT7E TheAnti-Cool

            “Some may feel that i am going overboard but i can’t ask of them to think outside of the box and think about their own prejudices if i am not willing to address my own discomfort of being asked the bagillionth time about my hair or skin products or who i feel about gentrification or the democratic party, etc. It’s a two way street.”


          • Rebecca

            Mena, I think everyone needs a friend like you!

    • Aly


  • minxbrie

    This is kinda like that Chris Rock joke about when it is appropriate for white people to say the N word (his answer was during a Dr. Dre song).

    Soo I’m going to say it depends.

    Commenting on black people and their lateness? Understandable. We call it Caribbean time in my family and tell everyone to come for 5:30 when we actually mean 7. I wouldn’t call it laziness as much as I would just say that we have different ideas about the importance of time.

    Commenting on Black Studies? Not okay. It’s unfortunate that such programs are even needed, but let’s be honest, most history only speaks about the falls and triumphs of White Men. Black Studies is needed for the same reason as Women Studies (My double-major; for any critics, talk to me when you’ve taken at least an intro-course.)

    From my perspective, the reason why white people are not allowed to criticize black people is because of the racially charged history in North America. People can moan and groan that it’s history, but it’s been so ingrained in the culture that sometimes black people are already feeling criticized without words – Example? Being watched in a store for being black.

    Or the most recent, a 17 year old getting SHOT for being black.

    I’m done now.

    • https://twitter.com/#!/mackaroto Jay

      Commenting on Black Studies? Not okay. It’s unfortunate that such programs are even needed

      Your reply to this issue sums up the whole thing. Its hard to stomach a white person complaining about “Black Studies” because in reality such things should be covered by the subject that we so charmingly refer to as “History”. Its the same thing with most other issues that white people complain about. I’m not pointing the finger of blame solely at the “OPPRESSOR”, but a lot of the issues that come up would fall into the “well we’re like that because YOU/YOUR ancestors do/did this…” category. Then feelings get involved, people stop listening, and the original issue never gets dealt with. Its like a bad relationship.

      • LMNOP

        I think Black studies programs would add valuable contributions to society, and be “needed” even outside of the long history of oppression and being ignored by academics, historians, etc.

        For example, there are european studies programs, and they are not “needed” in the same way, obviously, but I am sure they make interesting observations and contributions. They add to our understanding of humanity and the world, just like Black studies programs do.

        So my point is, the entire point of higher education is to gain and spread knowledge, and to say something like “Black studies programs shouldn’t exist” is profoundly ignorant, and really the only reason a person who is familiar with the goals of higher education would say something like that is to be hateful and racist.

    • http://voodoochile88.tumblr.com/ Craig and Dem

      Commenting on Black Studies? Not okay.

      I got into an argument with a group of students who wanted to argue why they couldn’t get a white history month like Blacks get a black history month. I said plainly with no extra bass in my voice or nothing, “It’s because y’all run history. Y’all tell everyone what history is going to be and want to fight anyone else who challenges it.” Dude looked at me like I was crazy and said, “So then what’s so special about your people?”

      My Face–> =0

      I had to bust this out on him

      • minxbrie

        I hate that foolishness. Such a pet peeve. Every time I hear that, I tell people to sit their asses down.

        That’s right up there with being told I’m so “white washed”.

        • http://voodoochile88.tumblr.com/ Craig and Dem

          Let me follow that up with I despise that another black person would ever have to gall to tell me that “I’m not black enough” for whatever xyz reason.

          Yes I love Metal. Yes I grew up in a neighborhood being the only black family on the block. Blame my parents not me. No I don’t want to play basketball becuz I suck at it and all y’all gon do is talk ish about my playing the entire time I’m on the court.

      • LMNOP

        There is one month for Black history ( and the shortest month at that) and there are basically 11 months for white history.

        • http://afrikanmami.blogspot.com Locks of Love

          LMAOO!! You berrra STOOOOP itttt!

          I’ve been reading your comments on this issue, and I’m telling you my kinks miraculously started to comb, without the help of shea burra.

          • LMNOP

            Well thank you, lol.

      • MJoy

        You shot your students?


        But seriously, I should memorize that monologue. I need it all too often.

    • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

      “Commenting on Black Studies? Not okay. It’s unfortunate that such programs are even needed, but let’s be honest, most history only speaks about the falls and triumphs of White Men. Black Studies is needed for the same reason as Women Studies…”


    • http://africanherbsmaam.tumblr.com/ gullah ooman

      agreed. given that structural & institutional racism are apart of our daily lives any criticism from white ppl is considered an attack, even if it is a “correct assessment” (though, the white criticisms of Black ppl i’ve heard have all been a sweeping generalization of “shit black ppl do that we hate.”). some things, however, are just gonna be different/difficult when you’ve got groups of people moving to their own rhythm, worldviews, concepts of time, etc., constricted within a global eurocentric construct.

      bound to be more than friction.


    • http://pervertedalchemist.blogspot.com/ Perverted Alchemist

      “From my perspective, the reason why white people are not allowed to criticize black people is because of the racially charged history in North America. People can moan and groan that it’s history, but it’s been so ingrained in the culture that sometimes black people are already feeling criticized without words – Example? Being watched in a store for being black.”

      Or the other infamous things like the clutching of the purse, the constant looking over the shoulder, the locking of the car doors and the scenario of driving while black. Did I miss anything?

  • Andre J.

    no its never ok for a race to criticize another race that perpetuates racism so the stage manager did the wrong thing with choosing that forum to call out her black actors for always being late and attributing that characteristic to them being black rather than leaving that out of the discussion unless she has literally worked with a million black actors and 97.78 percent of them were always late without fail she has no backing for attaching the color of the actors to their actions. People perpetuate stereotypes all the time but when we out people about those stereotypes is where it becomes an issue. I think she simply could step to those individuals as adults as well as any other individual that is of a different race and make a complaint about them being late and how it is unprofessional period not on how its “Not a good look for your race”

    • Andre J.

      forgive me for my lack of punctuation its late lol or maybe it’s because im black who knows

    • http://pervertedalchemist.blogspot.com/ Perverted Alchemist

      Clearly she an an axe to grind there. Instead of addressing it with the people she worked with, she takes her happy as to a play and decides to cast aspersions on an entire race for the actions of a few. Way too many White people do this on many occasions and wonder why they get branded as a racist.

    • Meisarebel

      But what if it’s true? What if in all her years as a stage manager, her experience dictates that it’s only black actors who consistently show up late? That’s not her fault if that’s what she’s exposed to. IF all her white actors show up on time, her latino, native American, whatever, are punctual, but her black actors are not, even after (as Champ said) she did address the issue, you can’t fault her for thinking that’s just the way black people do… Not saying she gets a free pass, just sayin what if.

      • http://www.styleillusions.com WIP

        This was my opinion when the discussion came up about black people tipping. What if these people observations are majorly true? I’m not sure how we fault people for being aware of what they see in front of their faces.

      • Jasmin

        Could be, what no one will ever know because we’re all subject to confirmation bias. It basically means we see what we want to see and look for examples that confirm our opinions while simultaneously ignoring ones that discredit it. I’ll elaborate after work!

      • MJoy

        She should have blamed the director. A good director will put the fear of God in you if you’re ever late… regardless of your race.