Ask Ijeoma

Where I answer the questions you ask me at ask.fm/ijeomaoluo.

I’m a white anti-racist in the south, and I try to do as much as I can to improve my own corner of the world, e.g. try to convince white acquaintances that society isn’t post-racial, etc. What throws me for a loop is when friends of color deny said problems; I feel strange correcting them. Should I?

Nah — we’ll take care of it. White supremacy can do a number on black people. Just keep working to tear down white privilege and make room for voices of color who get it.

I’m half black half white & often feel that I don’t have the right to ID as black. I see many full black ppl say that the 1-drop rule must be abandoned because it’s a product of white supremacy & that ppl w/ only 1 black parent must be considered “mixed” and NOT “black”. How do you feel about this?

My mother is white, my father was Nigerian. I identify strongly as black — I look black, I’m percieved as black, blackness is a huge part of my life, my history, and my future. That said — I do have lighter skin and therefore have to try to always be cognizant of the priviledge that affords me and avoid co-opting that struggle. I have to work to dismantle that priviledge, and never deny the different experiences of black people with darker skin than me. You don’t have to identify as black — and many mixed race people choose to identify as mixed race. That is your choice, but chances are, the black in your heritage defines much more of your everyday life than the white.

I am curious to hear your thoughts about for example a white male raised by a black family, in a black neighborhood, living as a black person would. He gets a lot of the same lived experiences as his black peers, yes? I recognize he could theoretically “just walk away” anytime while they can’t.

No, a white person raised by a black family in a black neighborhood would a)not be living as a black person would and b)not have the same lived experiences. My mother is white and raised me in Seattle — which is predominantly white. This did not in any way make me white. It did not improve my level of healthcare, it did not remove teacher bias, it did not make cops nicer to me, it did not immunize me from the school-to-prison pipeline, it did not prevent me from being accused of shoplifting, it did not make it easier for me to get a job, it does not make my brother safer out in the world, it did not stop men from fetishizing my brown skin. Race doesn’t rub off.

I’m white. I was in an elevator yesterday with a black woman, and two other white women. The women were commenting on the black woman’s braids. Annd…You guessed it. One of the white women asked her “Can I touch your hair?”. What could I have said in this moment?

Ohhhhh man. That’s a tough one. You don’t want to fight another woman’s battles for her, but white folk definitely need to check other white folk on this shit — especially since society puts so much pressure on black women to just take this shit. I would have probably said something like, “Wow. Seriously?” to let the white lady know that what she just did was so uncool that you can’t fucking believe it. Then you can gage the comfort level of the black woman unlucky enough to be stuck in that elevator.

When you sweet-talk trolls sarcastically and they appear a bit obsessive, aren’t you afraid by doing so, they’ll move into the realm of stalker? I’m very afraid of people like that so I’m interested in your technique and what you think is the best way to handle bigoted trolls! Thank you!

I think the best way to handle trolls is whatever way that you are comfortable doing it. I don’t worry about them much — not because I’m naive about how much of my info is probably out there on the internet, but because they want me to be afraid. Also, the part of my brain that get’s bothered by trolls appears to be missing.

For me personally, I recognize that these dudes want me to feel as shitty as they feel. They want me to feel as weak as they feel. I’m not going to give them that. I’m not going them to dictate conversation on my TL.

whats the best way to defend yourself against a man in a fight? video response

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