Double standards and mutual racial fragility


I don’t understand why people on all sides of the racial debate, despite wanting equality, suddenly splutter and get defensive when people criticize another race, even when it is valid. I see white people replying “all lives matter”, because they feel that “black lives matter” is somehow diminishing them. I also see black people in online spaces who get defensive whenever a negative aspect of black culture is highlighted and blame white supremacy as if that negates responsibility and makes expectations of personal agency unreasonable.

Surely, if our goal is to ensure that race – which cannot be changed (yet, waiting on science to make it a choice) – no longer matters, and pursue equality, I think we need to be open about it. I see white people saying that racism doesn’t exist and that black people are “the real racists”, and black people saying that all whites are racist and share sole responsibility for helping black people.

It doesn’t make sense to keep passing the buck back and forth when we already agree on the solution: stop discriminating. I am not advocating for complete “color-blindness”, but rather that we acknowledge what has happened and opt to not perpetuate it. We acknowledge that discrimination exists, and choose consciously to refuse to continue the cycle.

I am a white (MtF) woman, and I wouldn’t want to be called “white trash”, “cracker”, or “white devil”, just as a black person wouldn’t want to be called the N-word, or the C-word, or J-a-B.

The way the media buries white hate crime victims (unless they’re too huge to ignore, like that one disabled guy who got tortured by four racist black girls), makes me feel that my efforts to reject and challenge racism are going unreciprocated. I feel like the onus is always on me when we should be lifting each other up and bonding over the common acknowledgment that being victimized is a horrible experience for any human to experience.

How did we get the idea that understanding that white people can be victims too become an attack against the black community, or somehow implicitly racist? It may not happen as bad, or as often, but I doubt that matters to the actual victim of a hate crime. If I’m being beaten, or robbed, or murdered, am I really going to care that other people are getting it more often?

The buzzword “white fragility” is thrown around a lot, but every time I mention that we can also be victims, people freak out as if I’m trying to steal their thunder or something. There is nothing wrong with adding nuance to a conversation, in my opinion.


Tweets by Michele Norris