how to tell when your general statement is probably racist - a guide for white people
October 5, 2013
still annoyed by this post from yesterday talking about how awesome fandom is on tumblr. about how fans have weaponized emotion and it is all just so great.
you can tell, reading through it again, that the author is likely white. and likely has not interacted with many (possibly any) iaopoc fans of anything. i think one of the reasons white people continue to write and speak about universal things that only apply to them is not only because the same media we get fan feels about enforces this lie, but also because they likely only have white friends. we can call this the ‘girls’ phenomenon1.
given the way that the internet works and the way that white = default human, i’m guessing a lot of white fans assume (probably implicitely) that the other fans they interact with are all white, unless someone has explicitly marked their race (and many do).
and so. two ways to tell that your general/universal statement is racist:
When you look around the people you interact closely (online or irl), if all or most of your friends are white, any general statement you make is invariably going to be racist2.
Why you may ask?
Because in most places it actually takes a reasonable amount of effort to not make any poc friends. Because we are everywhere. and, speaking globally, there are more of us than you3. it usually means that you are putting effort into excluding poc from your life either by simply avoiding interaction or by being such a giant pile of toxic white supremacy that poc avoid you.
If some of your friends are poc but none have ever discussed racism with you, any general statement you make is probably racist.
Some may have looked above and said “phew, i’m so glad i have that one Asian friend”. Nope. Even the poc embodying as much internalized racism as they could possibly have (and,really i’m thinking of my dad when i say this) can usually mention at least one clear incident of racism that has happened to them. But if your poc friends never, ever, not even once have breathed a word about racism while you were in earshot? it is because they know that you are racist enough that you’d react poorly. they’ve likely done the mental math and decided you are not worth the time, energy, and effort to try and have an honest discussion with you. Or, in actual fact, that one Asian friend you have isn’t actually your friend. You just think they are.
there you go!