A New Year’s Resolution for White People
This past year was a doozey and it feels pretty good to say, “So long 2017!!!” My year wrapped up with a family game of Cards Against Humanity and this play rather succinctly summed up my frustration with 2017:
We all know, the ridiculousness will not end with wishful thinking and the commencement of 2018. So, white people, can we resolve to make this unfortunately real round of Cards Against Humanity a thing of the past?
White people, it’s time to stop liking…
Create space for oppressed voices to be heard, speak up when it’s time, and get out of the way when it’s not your turn. We have power because we are white, so let’s use it for good. Being an ally requires little effort and yields high impact. Listen. Share the stories of people of color who inspire and inform you. If you protest, consider your motivation before you do and ensure your actions are not self-serving or jeopardizing voices that need to be heard. If social media is your thing, use it, but use your real voice, the one mastered by vocal cords, too. Break the white girl smile and let your inner Bitch roar when the time is right. The possible repercussions are small for us, white people. And a little moving and shaking goes a long way.
Stop fearing difference. Stop fearing change. Hating ourselves won’t benefit the world, but it’s time to recognize our whiteness. Our history is tainted with conquest and colonization and we need to stop trying to bury it like it will sprout into a future of beautiful flowers if we’re really nice. It won’t. Don’t write it off as privilege. Don’t smother it with guilt. White is not the norm. We are an extreme. There are no translucent people. Face our culture and our history. We have the power to change one of these things directly. Change our culture, and we will, with time, change history.
Enjoy learning and let go of knowing. Explore different sources. Not only news sources. Talk to people who are different from you. Travel if you can and see for yourself. Read. Ask questions. Be comfortable knowing we can’t know it all and the world will keep turning — or implode — regardless of how secure we are in our beliefs. Truth will always be relative to a degree. Seek to view situations from diverse lenses so we can begin to grasp co-existing realities. Profoundly understanding another person’s perspective is the most valuable truth we can attain.
If you still listen to Nickelback, well, the reality is, you’re a minority, even among white people. Own it. Own the white people shit that you love, whether it is Nickelback, burritos sans spice, or “savasana and unicorns” tank tops. Just know that it’s white as fuck. It’s our culture. Yes, every white person’s culture is different. And this individualistic view of self is our culture too, white people. Some white people shit is inherently oppressive and needs to die out with Fox News, but as for the rest of it, critique it, take what you love, and recognize it is white. Simultaneously, explore other options. Genre bending, breaking, and blending is creativity maxed out. The human race has the incredible necessity to innovate what we already know. Culture is inevitably shifting and we humans continue to get closer and closer now that we can almost literally hold the world in the palm of our hand. Cultures are rapidly twisting together. Embrace this or be left behind as we remake the world.
So, white people, what do you think? In 2018, can we stop liking silence? Can we stop liking White people? Can we stop liking Fox News? Can we stop liking Nickelback? This won’t happen overnight. This won’t happen in one year. We cannot erase our history, but with a little more conscious effort, we can change our culture and shift course.