An Open Side-eye to All You Super-selective Anti-discrimination Crusaders.

I’ve got a binder full of side-eyes for you, Robert.

As you know, Robert, EmbraceRace is hosting a free conference call session called Supporting Children of Color in the Wake of Racialized Violence this Monday, October 10th, at 9 pm ET.

You can register here; 500 people already have! [THIS EVENT IS PAST. A transcript and link to the recording is available here. It was awesome!]

But I’m guessing you won’t register, Robert. Here’s your reply to our Facebook announcement of the event:

Nice. Ignore mass amounts of White kids victim of racial violence and intimidation?

Various people have weighed in to suggest that your take might be wrongheaded.

Surely white kids and kids of color are situated somewhat differently with respect to Islamophobia, police brutality, and talk of border walls and deportation forces, one person implied. Why not start your own effort rather than trashing someone else’s, suggested another.

You were unmoved:

No I feel completely justified in speaking out against discrimination. This is specifically for non White kids that deal with racism. If anyone made something for non Blacks or non Arab, or any other group it would be deemed racist.
Also starting the talk about it leads to attacks by SJWs [Social Justice Warriors?]. Men’s rights groups are bonbarded by feminist. Talk about racism towards Whites and then people attack and bring up slavery or go full retard and try to alter the definition of racism. This is wrong. This could have been done without it excluding Whites, even if it focused primarily on minority issues.

Robert, your argument, of course, is simply yet another version of AllLivesMatter, an assertion whose bankruptcy has been exposed time and again by any number of incisive arguments and metaphors.

I won’t rehash them here.

Instead, let’s talk about the discrimination you “feel completely justified in speaking out against”. Does your righteous anger extend to actual cases of racial and ethnic discrimination, I wonder?

For example, does it extend to the rampant and well-documented housing discrimination that maintains dramatic degrees of racial segregation in every major metropolitan area in the Midwest and Northeast?

To our country’s 5-decade-long system of mass incarceration, which has destroyed SO many lives, families, communities, and puts our country’s well-being at risk?

Marchers demonstrating in support of Oregon farmworkers’ right to organize

To the unconscionable wage exploitation of undocumented immigrants by so many major US employers?

Robert, I wonder if you’ve been troubled to sleeplessness by the systemic educational discrimination that means that public schools disproportionately populated by poor kids and kids of color are also the most under-resourced?

Was that you I saw linking arms with the Movement for Black Lives in its forceful pushback against police brutality, which has claimed so many black and brown lives and left both police and civilians alike in many communities at each others’ throats?

(Course, only one side can kill with impunity. According to The Guardian, US police officers have killed more than 800 people so far this year, many of them unarmed and/or mentally ill. Native and Black Americans are killed at far higher rates than anyone else.)

Was that you, Robert?

Was it you I saw speaking out and soliciting donations to apply salve to the wounds inflicted upon our Muslim neighbors by the widespread desecration of their mosques?

Protesters in Oakland express solidarity for the Standing Rock Sioux in their struggle against the construction of an oil pipeline. Photo by Peg Hunter.

Or were you too busy fuelling the protest against the federal government’s plans to build an oil pipeline near Standing Rock Sioux land in North Dakota, thereby threatening the group’s water supplies and sacred grounds?

Robert, a man of your prodigious moral conscience surely picketed the hospital emergency rooms where black kids with appendicitis are given pain medication much less often than white kids! I mean, how cut-n-dry is that?

How it must have infuriated you to review the recent Yale study showing that preschool teachers racially profile little black boys, seeing the illusion of “challenging behaviors” where none exist?

As you’ve noticed, Robert, none of these amply documented examples of racial discrimination against people of color relies on an “altered” definition of racism or makes reference to slavery (or Jim Crow!).

I know how you hate it when people do that!

Cover page of a recent report on bullying by the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

I mention all these actual examples of life-and-community- destroying discrimination, at least some of which you’re presumably calling out, because it strains belief to think that you’d start your anti-discrimination crusade by targeting a 1-hour session organized to support the many kids of color having a hard time coping with the violence aimed at their communities — and sometimes at them, personally.

(For example, 55 percent of Muslim students aged 11 to 18 in California “reported being subjected to some form of bullying based on their religious identity” in 2014.)

I ladle on the snark, Robert — thick, bitter, heaping dollops of snark — because I’m irritated. And angry. And frustrated.

In more than two decades of doing racial justice research and advocacy professionally I’ve rarely met anyone whose full-throated expressions of concern for white people, like yours, ever extend to include meaningful support for the lives and well-being of people who are not white.

To claim as the prerogatives of white people rights and protections that should belong to us all is precisely what compels so many of us to insist that Black Lives Matter, that Native Lives Matter, that Brown Lives Matter, that Muslim Lives Matter.

On a personal level, Robert, I find your message profoundly irritating. On a societal level, the fact that so many millions of Americans share your thinking is devastating and heartbreaking.

Photo by Joe Brusky.

You, Gentle Reader, should know that Monday’s Supporting Children of Color in the Wake of Racialized Violence will feature tons of information applicable across race lines. [THIS EVENT IS PAST. A transcript and link to the recording is available here.]

It’ll be a session that welcomes white adults not only in their roles as caretakers to white kids, but also in their capacities — as parents, teachers, daycare providers, and so on — as caregivers to Black, Brown, Muslim, and other children of color.

Surely you agree that the well-being of kids of color — roughly half the child population — is, or at least should be, of general interest?


If this piece resonated with you, please consider clicking the ❤ button below and sharing. Join EmbraceRace on Facebook; sign up for our bimonthly newsletter.

Thanks.