Back in October, one of my Black friends back home was upset because the White folks on her street gathered to project movies on a movie screen in their cul-de-sac for Halloween instead of trick or treating because of Covid, and they didn’t invite her and her kids. She indicated she probably wouldn’t have gone anyway because of Covid, but it offended her her White neighbors of five-years gathered without her.
She lives in a predominantly upper-middle-class community of White folks. Her neighbors have never really been all that friendly to her, but the ones who were most friendly when she initially moved there have moved on. Most of her current neighbors have been in their homes for 30-years of more. My friend was Black, and new, two strikes for her. She believed because she could afford to live among White people in the suburbs with her six-figure salary, her neighbors should have been welcoming to her and her kiddos. Unfazed, I stared blackly at my phone.
I really don’t understand what Black folks are thinking about when they move into these types of communities. The whiter the community, the more self-insulted and racist the communities are, even if they don’t realize it. I am tired of Black people moving in White communities and then crying about they won’t play with them. I just don’t have time for this shit anymore. Because we’re in the middle of a soft coup and the beginning phases of violent civil unrest, I had to keep it real with my friend.
“The didn’t invite you because they didn’t want you there,” I said to her.
She was silent for a moment, absorbing the sting of my words. She continued talking about her feelings about being excluded, talked about her having kids that might have wanted to take part, and then I just stopped her.
I said, “Look, you moved into the community because it was White and you wanted “good” schools for your kids. You wanted to be where White people were because you believed being there helps your household’s community standing. Those White people planned that community and moved there because it was all White, and they didn’t want any N-words there among them. Your presence in their community reminds them of the thing they are running from, us. They don’t want to be around you, or your kids. Anyway, your kids don’t socialize with the White kids in the neighborhood, anyway. They don’t walk to and from school together, even though they live a few homes down from each other and stand at the same bus stop together. You may live in that house, but it’s not your community, it’s theirs. You were intentionally excluded because they don’t want you there. Get over it.”
I also reminded her Covid was raging. She agreed. The exclusion still bothered her, though. It’s a microaggression racists use all the time.
Exclusion is a Microaggression
My friend’s exclusion from White community events is another way her neighbors show her who belongs and who doesn’t. My friend was upset until I broke it down to her. I asked her what she was going to do about it, because it will happen again. Will she stay because “good White people’s shit” is worth slights from neighbors, raising kids in isolation with no culture and no Black friends? It sounds like she’s in for the long haul with White Supremacy. White slights and isolation are things she has a high tolerance level for, apparently. She gave me the old tired trope about Black folks not having nice things, and I pointed her to places like Marietta, Ga, parts of Columbia, South Carolina near Fort Jackson and other place across America with racially diverse or predominantly Black communities excelling, nice communities with all the amenities, etc.
I broke it down to my friend. Her choice was a lazy thought-process because she believes it’s the simple choice. She chose to live where she lived because she valued Whiteness more than she valued her Blackness and would deal with microaggressions and intentional exclusion for a good education and a nice home value. I asked her if she believed she was providing her children a White education.
There are many reasons for exclusion, and exclusion has many purposes.
Exclusion Is Fear
White people use fear as an excuse to exclude Blacks and People of Color in their communities they deem otherness. At the heart of every matter, there is White comfort which leads to White fragility. Because White people have not done the work of getting to know people, so they fear what they don’t know. Instead of getting to know non-White people outside of superficial metrics assessed used to judge us in the same way we Blacks and other racial groups, they exclude them. White people believe getting to know folks is the job of otherness, not White people. Their beloved White Supremacy teaches them to either fear or not respect non-White people, and most White folks haven’t engaged in any antiracism to understand how wrong, racist, and stupid their thought-processes are. Nothing makes White people look smaller than when they fear otherness for no reason except White Supremacy ingrains in White people they must fear us to survive.
It’s like teaching a lion to be afraid of a sheep.
In the racist minds of simple White neighbors engaging in exclusive community events, they believe excluded minority neighbors can’t see them all gathered together in their seas of White enjoying their White people stuff. And even if we don’t see them, we see their coordinated efforts to be on the same page when everyone has the same decor except the Blackitty Black or Brown neighbors. The entire reason White people are in their White communities in the first place is because they are racist, and fear drives that racism. They do not welcome otherness to the barbecue, or in my friend’s case, the racist Halloween movie.
Exclusion Is To Maintain Inequality
White people work to maintain inequality, and exclusion is the primary way they keep inequality alive and well. Although it’s may not seem like a big deal, exclusion erodes trust. When White neighbors exclude their Black and Brown neighbors from whatever White people shit they can’t do in our midsts, they erode community trust. Ya’ll have two sets of meetings, we know. Sometimes Black and Brown people will foolishly let the guards down, believing because they can afford a home in certain upper-middle-class communities, they will be viewed as an equal and received with open arms.
Most Black upper-middle-class homeowners end up learning they are just in a new, more expensive place they chose on their own to be subjected to White folks’ exclusion tactics. Most are angry Blacks and People of Color are in their White spaces, and the only thing they can do to make you feel bad and unwelcomed because you made “it” to “good shit” town is to exclude non-White folks. Why anyone wants to be subjected to that is beyond me, but I’ve seen it and lived it for a few years myself. Being the only Black person in a White community is the most uncomfortable shit I’ve ever experienced. You know you’re going to be judged, and you can expect some unfairness to happen. It’s part of the pulling yourself up by your bootstraps experience. Go figure.
Exclusion Is A Microaggression
When White people exclude us from their little White people’s activities at work, in our communities, in college, in our friend circles, and neighborhood politics, it’s intentional. It’s also a microaggression. It’s a way to show us yet again we don’t belong, and there is nothing you can do about it. If you attempt to address the microaggression with racist neighbors, they’ll usually turn the tables on ya, blaming you for exaggerating what you see and feel. Or perhaps they’ll tell you they assumed you didn’t want to take part. They didn’t know when they made no efforts to know. While exclusion is soft racism, but it’s still racism. It’s one of those comfortable things you can’t always prove. If your feelings are going to be hurt because you’re going to be excluded from said White people’s activities, reconsider not moving to all White communities. Waving hello is one thing. Being invited to gather for White pre-Thanksgiving socials is something completely different. They don’t care about your feelings, their comfort is all that’s important. Everything is about White comfort.
Exclusion Is American
White people founded our country on exclusion. Negros were 3/5ths of a man, excluded from being whole, free people like White men. Slaves were denied rights and treated unfairly. Native Americans had their lands stolen, they were excluded from their own nations and dehumanized. Because of their history with White folks, they’ve fought to Non-White immigrants were placed in ghettos upon their arrival. White people have always sought to make sure dirty Brown folks didn’t mix up with them. We all know how White people have treated slaves, then freed Blacks/African-Americans. Black Codes, Jim Crow, and other segregation efforts ensured they excluded Black people from White American society.
Exclusion of Black people and anyone not White is American.
Black and Brown folks have been excluded from public education. When White people allowed Blacks to learn how to read and write, they didn’t want us to be as educated as they were. White people excluding Black people and other non-White people are nothing new. Excluding for people because they don’t have the proper hair textures and skin tones is American, and its sole purpose is to ensure White folks maintain their privilege. They also receive some joy apparently from gatekeeping.
Excluding is policing, and we know at anytime, any White person can go from being a citizen to a police officer over anyone, anywhere. White people policing non-White people is also American. Controlling who comes and goes, lives and doesn’t live in their communities is policing, they just choose to see it differently.
Stop Moving Where They Are If You’re Seeking Inclusion
I told my friend the cold, hard truth. White folks move to the suburbs to get away from Black people specifically. When we show up to live around them, we piss them off. There are always going to be some White assholes who dislike us just because we made it to their good stuff. Exclusion from Whiteness is a way for them to pretend you’re not there. It’s how they keep the ignorant mindset their country is White and why they believe all their spaces need to be taken back.
Excluding us is a way for White people to put the rest of us in our places. It’s a way for them to show you they are superior and we are inferior. It’s their way of showing us we don’t belong where they are.
My advice to her was to suck it up and stop expecting them to treat her and her children as if they are a part of the community. Stop complaining about what they do. In fact, stop looking at them at all. They have let her know she’s not included, just deal with it.
She could either remain in her nice home and take advantage of all the good racist stuff she died to have (which is the entire reason for her moving there in the first place), or she could move to a more culturally enriched, inclusive community, preferably an upper-middle class Black community.
They do have those; you know?
Black and Brown folks’ addiction to accessing White folks’ good stuff has unintended consequence. Just because our money allows us to buy a home among them doesn’t mean we’ll be accepted. In some communities, we’re never going to be welcomed. Sure, you may have the right move any place you want to, but just because you move to those places doesn’t mean you’ll be welcomed or wanted. If want to live like that, raise your kids in places where they don’t have real friends, and where you can’t rely on your neighbors because they hate you, have at it. We have to deal with enough White Supremacy. Why go and make that place that lacks neighborly love your home?
It’s wallowing in White Supremacy. It’s self-hate.
Plenty of folks do it, and years later, they question their decision. Moving in communities where you’ll be excluded takes a psychological toll not only on Black and Brown adults but also their children. Those kids often catch hell at schools, because racist adults who exclude Black and Brown folks, teach their children how to do it too. Why do we Black and Brown people subject our children to racism for nice stuff? Is the psychological scars, forced assimilation, and culture confusion really worth it?
Every man and woman has to make that choice for themselves. For some minorities, they view the choice as a sacrifice. For other minorities, the choice is a compromise. Whatever the reason, don’t blame White people because they don’t want you in their neighborhood social circles and community gatherings.
White folks moved to their suburbs to get away from us. So don’t be expecting racist, gatekeeping White people to run to us with open arms after we snatch our for sale signs out of the ground in front of our new suburban homes. Some may, but most won’t. White folks will still have White meetings where non-White folks are excluded, and they’ll make White people plans to celebrate White folks’ favorite holiday activities you won’t be included in, because they rarely include your kind in their circles.
I suggested to my friend maybe she should delete the illusion of inclusion from your mind.
So if you live in a gated community or in the suburbs and you notice your neighbors are having White people gatherings and you weren’t included, don’t be offended. If the neighbors have their 4th of July tree decor going in their yard and you didn’t get the memo, find peace in your spirit and chill. You’ve been intentionally excluded, and that goes with the territory of living and working in White spaces. Everywhere belongs to them. The sooner you learn that lesson, the better off you’ll be.
So when your White neighbors gather and don’t invite the Black and/or Brown neighbors, you don’t have to wonder if they intentionally excluded them.
They didn’t forget to send the invites. The Blacks and Browns were intentionally excluded.
Marley K. in Quarantine, waiting for America’s other shoe to drop.
Follow me: https://marleyk.medium.com