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Nice and Racist: What Ellen Degeneres Teaches Us About Racism

I have a few friends who love The Ellen Degeneres Show. Though I don’t watch the show, I’ve watched clips online when I was interested in seeing a particular guest. She seems like the kind of person who’d make you so comfortable in her home. Her quirkiness and ability to pull off the most awkward of jokes with ease make it almost impossible not to like her.

Yet, even with all the qualities I described, Ellen Degeneres is still the dreaded white racist. No, I don’t mean that she actively discriminates against black people in hiring or service. No, I don’t mean that she walks around calling black people niggers. No, I don’t mean she’s rude to black guests on her show. No, I don’t mean that she is a card-carrying member of the White Knights of America. No, I don’t mean that she actively campaigns to keep discriminatory and oppressive anti-black policies on the books.

Last week on her show, Ellen played a skit parodying what the new sitcom Nicki Minaj is working on (based on her childhood) might look like. In the parody, a little black girl portraying young Nicki appears on screen with huge butt pads. The actors playing her parents also have on the huge butt pads. From her entrance, every joke thereafter centers around how difficult having a huge butt makes things. The audience and Ellen (the nice white woman) clearly thought it was hilarious.

Though Nicki herself has turned her butt into a prop, the idea of black women having gargantuan rear ends is not simply about a rapper twerking to call attention to her inflatable rear end. Common as ample butts may be in black women, the stereotype is far from universal and rooted in medical experimentation, exploitation and slavery. This stereotype is deadly and viscious.

Ellen inserting herself into a parody of Nicki’s Anaconda video may be funny. Ellen using a black child to further a stereotype about black women and trivialize black pain is most certainly not. It proves that black people and our experiences, no matter how traumatic or damaging, are always fodder for the amusement of white people. It proves that likeable does not equate to sensitive and conscious. It proves that a nice white person is not by default an anti-racist white person.

Because so many believe racism is an attitude instead of a violently oppressive system,  unless a white person is dressed in a hooded robe burning crosses on the lawn of a black family, they aren’t racist. We focus on the symptoms not the disease. We see absolute rageful hatred as the only mark of a true racist.

The average white person doesn’t walk around calling black people racial slurs, at least not to our faces, but the average white person might cross the street to avoid a black man. The average white person will smile at a black baby and compliment the mom on how beautiful the baby is, but that same white person will make assumptions about the mother being dependent on welfare and living off the public dole. The average white parent won’t flat out tell their child not to play with black children, but whenever the white child and the black child have a fight, the same average white parent will automatically assume that their child’s black friend is the aggressor.

We have to stop looking at racism as overt, simple and angry.  Most racism is covert, layered and nice. It’s a white coworker offering to buy you lunch for helping with a big project then going home and nodding his head in agreement with Bill O’Reilly and Elisabeth Hasslebeck. It’s a white teacher at a public school with 100% black student population feeling like she’s a savior. It’s a white woman with millions of dollars and her own national talk show being endearing and fun with her black guests, then turning around and mocking them with hurtful stereotypes. It’s that same white woman with a national platform and massive influence dancing happily with the black POTUS, then tweeting about how she couldn’t find Ghana on a map.

Quite frankly, I think most white people are nice to black people to avoid the label of racist. They, like many of us, have been conditioned to believe that if you’re nice to black people, you can’t be called racist. They, like many of us, have been taught that racism and being racist are horrible, but they haven’t been taught what racism truly is. They, like so many of us, believe that differing political and economic ideologies are only differences of opinion and that we can all be kind to each other in spite of those differences, ignoring that maintaining slavery was a political and economic ideology.

Much like Ellen, racist white people can make you laugh, cry and feel good. But too like Ellen, racist white people will betray that trust you put into their attitude instead of their action. And we can file these racist actions under “privilege” to make them products of conditioning rather than malice, but then what does that say about the idea of being pleasant and friendly in the first place? It tells me that being nice is as much a product of conditioning as is being racist. So then, the two can coexist without conflict.

Nice white people take us off guard. We overlook their microagressions because we assume that Sally would never intentionally offend us. We ignore the smart comments they make about a black acquaintance being ghetto because we know Brody would probably say the same about a loud white girl. We humor their neck-rolling impersonations of black women because not to laugh would be rude and we don’t want to offend Kathy even as we’re offended by her racist caricaturing of black women. We let nice white people off the hook because we assume being nice means you’re a good person and a good person could never be racist.

And then the nice, good white woman crosses the line with a “joke,” and we move the line up a little. Then that nice, good white woman crosses the new line with another “joke,” and we move the line again. If we keep moving the line because we’re assuming that nice and racist are not mutually exclusive, eventually we’ll go over the ledge as we’re backing up to move the line. So, yes, it’s quite possible for a nice person to oppress you based on race. It happens often. Reevaluate your definition of racism because in the words of the brilliant Ta-nehisi Coates:

“Racism is not merely a simplistic hatred. It is, more often, broad sympathy toward some and broader skepticism toward others…”

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94 comments… add one
  • I did not see the show you speak of, but I am a black woman who had large hips all my life and the way I was made to feel about that part of my body. were hurtful. one day while working with a Gentlemen from Africa he said that in his country I would be a queen they revered women with large hips and that I was
    beautiful to him . and that was not how my American men had thought of me it was alway sexual or like it was not normal. now everyone wants them to the point of doing harm to themselves to get large buttock. yes people will make jokes about them . they joke about everything and everyone.

  • Vanessa ,

    Why did you equate thugs with black people?

  • Thank you for this.

    Also, have you seen her interactions with Sofia Vergara. In which the two of them (and it bothers me that Vergara is complicit in this) basically use Vergara’s accent as the punchline of every joke. The first time I saw them interact I couldn’t even finish watching. It was so racist and uncomfortable.

    And, on top of that, Ellen’s crusade against seal hunting in parts of Canada. Sealing hunting is an old Inuit tradition and used for survival. Who the hell is she to tell Inuit peoples how to live?

    Ellen is awful.

  • Reblogged this on A woman on the internet.

  • a white guy ,

    I’m a white male trying very hard to better understand differing view points. I can see, after reading a multitude of different perspectives, that I take many things for granted, that there is far more hardship for some in American than I’d have ever perceived. I will probably never understand what it’s like to be any sort of minority in this country – no matter how hard I try to step out of my own two shoes.

    That being said, if you’ll permit me to be candid here, the more I read and digest the more fearful I get day-to-day to say anything around others. Sometimes I wonder if that’s the intent by some, and other times wonder if I’m just not getting the message, if my ignorance is somehow systemic. I suppose I’ve come to a point where I’m not sure what is correct and fear nothing I can say or do will be.

    Hopefully I can break out of this and maybe gain the necessary insight that is lacking. Just want to close with saying thanks for the opportunity to view the world through your lens..

  • Jim H ,

    I agree with this soooooo much. I struggle, as a bearer of privilege, to explain racism to my family and others who embody it so strongly but with extraordinary ignorance and/or denial.

    Ellen would be, I believe, quick to apologize and willing to listen to this, as both a woman and a lesbian – she understands intolerance.

    “Microaggressions” – “subtle” – “covert” — the embedded parts of a culture founded on racism are the hardest to confront and the most subversive, corrosive vestiges of our history.

    I fight my own indoctrination daily. I am grateful for this thoughtful expression of an important point.

  • I remember when she pronounced Chinese names and that the sketch revolved around the concept of her own ineptitude with language learning, not how funny the names sounded. That does spread the idea that white people are just fine without putting more effort into correctly pronouncing ethnically diverse words and names, so that’s unfortunate.

    I had to look up the time she impersonated Sofia Vergara, but it appeared to be more the same joke of “ain’t I terrible at accents/speaking foreign languages?” and “lol boobs and butts”. Vergara tries to teach Ellen in Spanish “I am proud of my breast and my body,” to the ecstatic whooping of the audience, so that was actually kind of nice.

    Here’s a video for reference:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ayZlUpf_Nc

  • Judging by the fact that it was every member of the family that shared the sensitive physical attribute in question, it was certainly intended as a gag without basis in anything other than, “Nicki has a big butt. lol”

    I believe if Ellen, a generally sensitive person, and her (presumably non-black) team were more versed in the tragic history of African-American women’s body image that this joke would never have been aired. That’s why not only a more thorough historic education is necessary to help combat the cycle of ignorance, but why we need more diversity of writing staff.

  • Sophia Sophia ,

    Hi LaSha, I’d really appreciate it if you took the time to respond to my comment further up, please. As a reader of your blog who is a member of the LGBTQI community, I find your statement that all white people are racist as they are socialised that way to be slightly worrying, as you have written in the past about how you were socialised in certain ways against LGBTQI people. Do you feel that white people, assuming they are all racist, can change and become no longer racist? If not, then how can I (and your other gay and queer readers) be sure you’ve shaken off your homophobic socialisation?

    I’m not trying to attack you, and I really appreciate how you’ve been honest about how you grew up in a homophobic household in a homophobic community. But I am shaken by your assertion that all whites are racist and cannot be allies to the black community, as then it stands to reason that straights are homophobic and cannot be allies to the LGBTQI community. And regardless of how good your writing is (and it is generally very good), I don’t want to read a blog by someone who isn’t an ally to my community.

    I feel this is an important and interesting discussion to have, and I would like to hear your thoughts.

  • Che ,

    Since YOU are obviously upset how is the term “the average white person” offensive?. How does the term demonise and degrade white people?. Does the USA discriminate against average white people? longer prison sentences, are average white people targeted by the police ? thought to be more aggressive criminal in nature?. Please how exactly being referred to as an average white person adversely affect you?.
    Fake outrage because you do not like what is being said is just that fake outrage and example of you exercising your privilege

  • Joanne ,

    Ellen has form when it comes to being racist – not just against black people. Watch the video of her pronouncing Chinese names, or the one in which she pretends to be Sofia Vergara, or the one in which she interviews Mila Kunis and speaks to her like she has a disability when she says she’s Ukrainian. Watch her Jackie Chan interview which is solely based on caricaturing him and making fun of his accent. I vaguely remember her being racist towards Indians as well.

  • Sara ,

    I acknowledged that phenomenon in the last sentence of my comment.
    I also said I agreed with the rest of her points.
    I merely pointed out that she might have been adding the racial context to that particulr joke. That happens when you’re sensitive because of years of oppression, not anyones fault. Doesn’t mean it’s the correct context though. Having different interpretations of humor doesn’t make anyone arrogant. Acting like you’re teaching someone a sociology lesson is. I’m sympathetic to her understanding of the joke, but if you really think you can know the mindset of someone who says absurd things for laughs, that’s the death of comedy.

  • Sophia Sophia ,

    Hi LaSha, thank you for replying. I’ve just tried to post my original comment again – hopefully it’ll work this time and won’t vanish into the Wordpress ether!

  • Sophia Sophia ,

    Woah there. Are all straight people homophobic? You’ve written yourself in the past about how you were socialised into thinking words like “dyke” were acceptable for a long time. My mother is bi-racial – is my white grandfather racist? Because society marginalises, misrepresents and under-represents trans people, are all cis-gendred people transphobic?

    I generally agree with your original post, but I can’t agree with the statement that all white people are racist, because then what would that say about the other privileges that we ourselves have?

  • YuktheNomad, I’m also White. But I’d argue that someone making an assumption about your viewpoint may be prejudiced, but this is different from being racist. Racism = racial prejudice + social power to back up that racism. Everyone is a little prejudiced, but we White people have an entire American history of privilege and domination. As a result, the entire American social, political, economic, educational, and penal system all benefits us to the detriment of everyone else. This is an important aspect of racism: it’s not just about individual people’s prejudiced attitudes.

    So no, if we’re talking about America, the article certainly could not have been about Mexicans, Blacks, or Muslims. None of these people have systematic advantages and a history of being favored at other people’s expense in our nation. In fact, they’ve all been routinely denied privileges and been discriminated against. There’s a difference. Again, racism is *far* more than simply racist actions or attitudes.

    And no, the author wasn’t racist, not even in her tone. She didn’t lump all White people together. She talked about the “Average white person,” but this does not imply that this is true about ALL White people. She’s also more equipped to talk about the average White person than you or I would be to talk about the average Black person. Hear me out, because at its surface this might seem unfair. The truth is, you and I know relatively little about Black culture. You probably did not grow up as a minority in Black culture, surrounded by images and media almost exclusively Black, and in systems (like educational systems) that were predominantly Black. You didn’t grow up intimately aware of your race and of Black norms around you. Black people in America *do* grow up intimately aware of their race and also of the White norms around them.

  • Sara, saying “it is merely coincidental” is one of the most common excuses that I hear from other White people (and I’m also White) when discounting or minimizing or explaining away the experience of Black people. When a Black person is shot, or a Black person is pulled over, or a Black person is followed in a store, we White people want to treat these situations as one-off, coincidental anecdotes with no wider context. Unfortunately, there is a wider context. Black people are very aware of this, and when they are gracious enough to point out the context to us and explain the racism to us, it’s quite arrogant of us to dismiss their lived experience and much deeper understanding of racism than our own as “coincidence.” This, too, is a type of racism… even from nice, generally non-racist White people.

  • Kinfolk Kollective avatar LaSha ,

    I don’t know what comment you’re talking about. Don’t apologize for your comments though. You should always tell your truth.

  • Sophia Sophia ,

    Hi LaSha. I’m a fan of your blog, but I’m a bit confused as to why you haven’t approved the previous comment I left on this post? I wasn’t trying to be attacking in any way, but I’m sorry if it came across as such and that’s why you haven’t approved it.

  • Kinfolk Kollective avatar LaSha ,

    Thanks, Leah.

  • ellebelle ,

    The writer is suggesting that when these skits “harmlessly” poke fun at cultural identifiers like Nicki Minaj’s butt (utilising a black child, no less), the takeaway is that – at the very least – an unfairly wide and two dimensional net is being cast over an entire community of people who continue to have no say in the matter. We are arguing impact not intent, seeing as this whole issue of “but I didn’t mean to” seems to be what gets us white people in trouble time and time again. Just because our action/what we said was not intended, it 1. does not mean it wasn’t racist, and 2. does not mean a POC is not within their complete and total rights to tell us how and why it was not acceptable and to please stop. If a black man or woman pausing and breaking down just one of what may [must] be many microagressions they have faced feels as though they are “creating a wall,” then I feel sad that we apparently lack the empathy and the communication skills to truly listen and recognize that – maybe, just maybe – it’s not actually the job of a POC to help make the historical majority feel comfortable having the dreaded race discussion. This wall of which you speak will only be created by inattentive white people who continue to make ineffective statements like, yeah, “it’s a difficult subject, it’s sensitive, and people are going to say things that upset each other,” ¯_(ツ)_/¯ which – in its complacency – totally undermines just how bad racism truly is in America today. It also further illuminates the writer’s sentiment that “many of us have been taught that racism and being racist are horrible, but haven’t been taught what racism truly is.”

  • Great article. The only part about which I’m skeptical is regarding her tweet. I interpreted it as self deprecating in regards to her lack of knowledge, not a dig at Ghana… I could be wrong, though.

  • Speaking as a white woman who tries to be nice, if I unintentionally say something that hurts you (and I assure you, it will be unintentional) please, please, don’t “move the line.”

    *Tell* me. Don’t call me out publicly, please, though if you must, you must. Just let me know. I will apologize publicly, and, nearly as importantly, I will learn and not do it again.

    We can be taught. It’s not your job to teach us; but I, for one, appreciate the help.

  • Kinfolk Kollective avatar LaSha ,

    Thanks, Holli! It’s a constant process.

  • Holli ,

    Thank you for this essay. As someone who tries to be a “nice (non-racist) white lady,” your article highlighted things that I still need to work on. For instance, I sometimes do or say things that could be construed as racist. Even if that’s not my intent, it doesn’t matter….if other people are offended, it’s not okay. We can always be better at being good human beings, and most of the time, it requires educating yourself, self-reflection, and healthy dose of empathy. Thank you again.

  • Sophia Sophia ,

    Whoah there. Are all straight people homophobic because of the system they’re born into? You’ve spoken yourself in previous posts about how you struggled for nearly three decades to rid yourself of the association between gay/lesbian people and harmful words such as “dyke”. My mother is biracial – is my white grandparent racist? Are cisgendered people inherently transphobic because we’re in a society that still marginalises, discriminates against, under-respresents and mis-represents trans people?

    I broadly agree with your original article, and I appreciate you starting an important and vital discussion with your posts, but I’m going to respectfully disagree with the statement that all white people are racist, because then what would that say about the other privileges in our society that we have?

  • Sophia Sophia ,

    Whoah there. Are all straight people homophobic because of the system they’re born into? You’ve spoken yourself in previous posts about how you struggled for nearly three decades to rid myself of the association between gay/lesbian people and harmful words such as “dyke”. My mother is biracial – is my white grandparent racist? Are cisgendered people inherently transphobic because we’re in a society that still marginalises, discriminates against, under-respresents and mis-represents trans people?

    I broadly agree with your original article, and I appreciate you starting an important and vital discussion with your posts, but I’m going to respectfully disagree with the statement that all white people are racist, because then what would that say about the other privileges in our society that we have?

  • ellebelle ,

    No one is forgetting that Nicki wants her butt to be the subject of the conversation. Indeed, that’s the focus of LaSha’s piece: that Nicki has made her butt a prominent visual asset, but – hey – it’s not up for comical grabs by a white woman for considerable reasons. Think about it: black women’s bodies have been fetishized for generations, resulting in some pretty fucked up but deeply entrenched, racial politics that women like Nicki (and Beyonce!) combat every DAY by switching the narrative when it comes to how they handle their bodies and take ownership of what the Western World has decided to be their *specifically black* body parts i.e. their thick thighs, big butts, etc. Honestly? I would lose my shit if I were a Black Woman in America, reading bullshit cover stories in Vogue stating things like, “The Booty is Back!” (when did it ever go away? or did a white woman editor just decide it was fashionable?) or the endless trend pieces that seem to pop up like clockwork every summer, telling me how “Cornrows are In Style,” featuring a picture of Kylie Jenner. For hundreds of years, there were too many Venus Hottentots, too many Jezebels, and too many black women whose bodies were owned by white men and shilled out for profit because they were considered “exotic.” And now there are too many white industries (and people!) taking a lot of ownership for a lot of shit that is not Of Them: it’s Of Black Women. For a long time, a big butt was considered undesirable by the Western World, but now that it’s trendy, Nicki is rubbing it in our face by enhancing, ornamenting, and flaunting her butt. As she damn should because it’s her identifier, and it’s historically the identifier of so many black women before who did not have the power to take the kind of ownership of their bodies that she has. Her butt is so much more than a prop: it is a symbol. Ellen mocked an entire culture by mocking Nicki’s butt the way that she did. That is covert racism.

  • Kinfolk Kollective avatar LaSha ,

    The first solution is to stop being defensive. We gotta be willing to learn from one another.

  • Jon ,

    But what’s the solution? How do we do better?

  • Kinfolk Kollective avatar LaSha ,

    It’s not two-facedness though. That’s the point. Nice and racist can coexist with a person.

  • Jon ,

    You’ve identified a problem. So what’s the solution in your opinion? How does society overcome this? This mentality you described I’ve seen across all races in one way or another where this two-facedness comes about and sometimes with each other (i.e. Nice self-hating racism). How do we do better exactly beyond Ellen and her bad Nicki jokes?

  • Kinfolk Kollective avatar LaSha ,

    I don’t know what the question is, but tell me when you have EVER seen a skit mocking white women for having flat butts that utilized a child? Sexual ozone a white little girl is a clear no-no in society, but black girls are not granted that innocence. That’s what everyone keep missing.

  • YuktheNomad ,

    can i just say something,

    maybe someone already said this, but from my standpoint, (and im a nice white person), which maybe even from saying that you automatically think my opinion comes from a certain standpoint. Which is also already from the bat racist..

    . but anyways i also grew up being discriminated and continue it for one being jewish, and for many other personal things, and even yes for being white, (mostly in slums or in other third world countries as well as here in the states when i lived in the west and south sides of chicago.)

    the point is, ive seen discrimination, hate, love, and respect in almost all aspects of their sides in about 8-10 countries.. and what i’ve noticed is everyone is racist everywhere,

    its human nature to to judge what is different, everyone does it. Your article could be about mexicans, or other black people, or jews, or muslims, or basically anyone who is nice on the outside but on the inside is different., In the end you could say,”don’t let ANY kind of nice people deceive you, because some nice polite on the outside people really just suck on the inside.

    I mean even your article about racism shows tones of racist after a bit..

    I think that these examples you gave, even though they may be true.. you still can’t just lump all (or a lot of) white people together, because that in turn just becomes racism…

    Me saying i got shot at, robbed at gun point on various occasions by different black men and youth while in chicago over the years, (is a very sad fact, and one that I see all the time by every color and creed around the world)…. but for me to say from this fact, that must mean everyone living in project housing , (or not even bad areas, but just non white person) is dangerous, drug dealing, gang banger, and then i sound and become extra racist for sure…

    i dunno if this makes sense.. but…at the end of the day, just cus you see a lot of shit, doesn’t mean you can lump groups together, because identifying racism doesn’t move mountains…

    This is human existence problem, and people need to be specific about who is causing this problem, and really dig deep in why we see each other at such horrible things, and how we as a human kind can fix this, cus it’s way deeper than spotting a happy go lucky racist. there’s a lot to be said, and sadly i don’t think my non sober argument skills are really doing it for me right now…

    so i just wanted to say,” like hey look, The point is everyone is racist to a degree, its not a big thing, that’s histories biggest repeat… lets end the repeat, rather than pointing it out to readers.

    I’m just tired of this analysis of stupid things like ellen d’s show skit, (that she probably didn’t even have the direction on or care to direct at her status,( though i haven’t seen it, or even care to see it.))

    I dunno maybe im just wrong, and need to sleep, and will wake up tomorrow thinking what did i just write, but this is what it is at this time..

    thanks, have a good one.

  • Marie ,

    I’m sincerely curious as well. I think (hope) Becki was asking for the sake of her own education. But the lack of response to the question (and rather a second spotlight on her race) sent me a vibe that drove home the concern. What’s your take? Brown woman asking.

    I would, in the case of Kim K, feel the same because she’s Armenian. If the skit were done focusing on white people with flat asses, I again would feel the same.

  • Ida ,

    one love.

  • Kinduvblue ,

    Show me a person who is unconsciously racist and I’ll show you the Freudian slip of conscious bigot.

  • Alyson ,

    “The average white person…” (However, this phrase is in no way stereotypical and degrading..)

  • Kinfolk Kollective avatar LaSha ,

    You may have a great point of the use of racial bigotry, but the subtlety and unconsciousness of some racist acts mean they aren’t really bigotry. Thank you for your THOUGHTFUL response.

  • Kinduvblue ,

    Beautifully written. Thank you for finding a way to express what so many of us feel but can’t quite put a finger on.
    I want to say that I think part of the confusion about what it means to be racist probably lies in the use of the word itself. I prefer to understand and refer to the system of oppression based on race as “racist” and I use the term “racial bigotry” to describe the attitude of prejudice and narrow thinking toward others outside of one’s own race. I would love for this to catch on, it could narrow the gap in our understanding of what we are really dealing with.
    I also want to say something about the responses here.
    Defending- the first thing some white people do whenever some Black person tries to describe a thing like this is deny and defend. They will say “oh but maybe that isn’t the case”. It just doesn’t make sense to think of the glass as half full here. To all of those people who take the “maybe that isn’t the case” approach toward subtle bigotry- I dare you to take the same stance should you find yourself with a lump on your spine. Hope cancer is not the case and don’t look into it any further.
    Blaming the victim- how in the hell do white people think that pointing at Tyler Perry and saying he perpetuates stereotypes helps their case? Whether he does or doesn’t still doesn’t leave Ellen in the clear! If he does do that where do you think he learned it? Did he not grow up digesting the same media that is written about right here? And if that doesn’t do it for you- next time you get pulled over for speeding try telling the cop that the red car in front of you was speeding too… then pay your fine.

  • Kinfolk Kollective avatar LaSha ,

    ??? I love all the assumptions you’ve made. I also love the fact that you believe anger is associated with youth. I guess once you get to a certain age, you just accept shit and move on. I promise you I’m not even going to respond anymore.

  • Kinfolk Kollective avatar LaSha ,

    Who forgot that? Why can’t people read? Did I not say that in the second or third paragraph?

  • Kinfolk Kollective avatar LaSha ,

    Clearly think all minorities are poor and thugs? Lord! Somebody help this person with his reading comprehension. And, yes, I do think all white people are racist because of a system they’re born into. All white people are socialized to be racist. It’s subconscious.

  • I know you aren’t writing for white people but when you write, you are putting your thoughts out there for all time. You must be very young as I feel a lot of anger emanating from you. As one other stated, and I mentioned in my previous note, by generalizing about all white people you are no better than the racist red-necks who treat others poorly. Every person has different life experiences which causes each of us to react uniquely to each other. You cannot assume so much about white people. Try leaving your country; there are plenty of nice people abroad. Or expand your horizons by learning. Knowledge is power that can never be taken away and can improve your situation. You ARE the only person in charge of your life, like it or not.

  • Juan M ,

    I’m not white but some of the examples I seen you used as subversive racism that I find myself doing, such as buying lunch for a friend who happens to be a minority, seem to be pretty generalized actions that lack a degree of nuance or even much thought outside of CLEARLY INSULTING. I mean I pesonally did it because I wanted to do a kind service to my friend because I like sharing, not because I think they’re dirt poor and need a hand out. Likewise it just seems to me you think all white people are clearly racist and clearly think all minorities are poor and thugs. Like a lot of similar essays in recent, I see attempting to deconstruct generalizations with more generalizations; the irony is quite funny I must admit.

  • Lea ,

    I think what many of you forget is that Nicki Minaj wants her butt to be he subject of conversation. She is the one who has actually furthered the exploitation of the steriotype and what it does for black women. She has created the use of the “prop”. Ellen is mocking that.

  • Kinfolk Kollective avatar LaSha ,

    Dealing with racism day in and day out is enough. I am not in the business of teaching people the basics of racism. If you’ll notice, several people asked questions and I answered. I’m not gonna police my ton when people tell me I’m wrong about everything. It is not my responsibility of make people feel comfortable.

  • ForHumanity ,

    I stumbled onto this blog randomly and read this essay and every single comment. I think the points made in the essay are spot on and I appreciate the eloquent way it was written. I do think this is targeted towards all races though, whether you intended it to be or not. A lot of white people will likely read this and be able to articulate race issues better because of it. A lot of white people won’t.

    The conversation needs to happen, however, I sometimes find that it is difficult to discuss these issues with black people because if I don’t say something perfectly or ask a provoking question, I get anger as opposed to information. (Not always though, I have some great (black) friends who are willing to thoroughly discuss this). I get (and agree with) your response to how the use of ‘average white person’ is not racist, but by saying ‘if you believe average white person is racist you have no idea what racism is’, your essay becomes counterproductive. What was the point of writing this detailed, informative essay if at the end your argument becomes, ‘if you don’t agree with me, you have no idea what you’re talking about’?

    Discussing racism as a black person must be a heavily loaded experience. But trust me, it is highly effective when you can state your points without anger. Describing the definition and experiences of racism will speak volumes to your outrage.

    I am a brown person (this seems to be necessary to validate my opinions).

  • Kinfolk Kollective avatar LaSha ,

    Actually that wouldn’t be a shame because I don’t write for white people. I write to enlighten and awaken my people. As such, if they don’t get it, they don’t get it. Even more, you have no understanding of what racism really is if you believe saying “average white person” is oppressive.

  • Sarita ,

    I can help Jen with that. To perpetuate these race-based assumptions about white people — and let me first say that I am a biracial woman who has experienced her share of racism, sexism, and even religious oppression — paints pictures that, through continual perpetuation, can lead to destructive responses from others in the unjust way that you have experienced. So you are essentially helping promote oppressive impacts while rightfully trying to prevent them. All of this accomplised in your paragraph about “the average white person.” How many “average white people” will read this one paragraph and not take the rest of your thoughtful post seriously? That would be a shame.

  • Kinfolk Kollective avatar LaSha ,

    Yeah, tell me more about how my article has a lasting oppressive impact on your life because that’s what racism does to black and brown people.

  • Kinfolk Kollective avatar LaSha ,

    It’d help if you didn’t make shit up. Quote where I excused black people furthering stereotypes. You can’t.

  • TL;DR:

    It’s ok for Black people to traffic in and advance stereotypes, but it’s not okay for one white woman to parody one aspect of one Black artist who has never been shy about promoting said aspect herself.

    Got it. Double-think complete.

  • Jen ,

    I agree with so much that is said, particularly that the skit needs to be understood as damaging for women…. but really. Does no one see the racism in the article itself? I’m always so sorry to see a good point lost when the author must stereotype white people. How many times can it say “the average white person”??? If someone said the “average black woman does have an ample butt” people would lose their minds! But for some reason this is okay when written in regard to white people. The stereotypes were just as offensive if not more overt.

  • Kinfolk Kollective avatar LaSha ,

    Sara, it’s not even making fun of Nicki that’s the issue, it’s the use of a little girl to further the stereotype. It’s the sexualization of a black child.

  • Sara ,

    I agree with almost everything you said. Racism is subversive and taught at a very young age.
    But isn’t it possible that Ellen was making fun of how fake her butt is? And the joke is that she is pretending it is genetic by giving the family fake butts?
    Not saying it’s a funny skit, but I wonder the humor was meant in a different context, and that it is merely coincidental that bigger glutes are associated with black people. I feel like the same skit could have been applied to Kim Kardashian if we didn’t know her family already.
    Although most incidences of casual “nice” racism are borderline and have some sort of explanation this one seems to be out of context.

  • Kinfolk Kollective avatar LaSha ,

    Are you a black/brown person?

  • Kinfolk Kollective avatar LaSha ,

    Perception is reality. What you’re saying is “lighten up.” If something is racist, I don’t give the benefit of doubt, which is the entire point of the piece.

  • Holly ,

    In my opinion this essay effectively hits upon obvious underlying issues but unnecessarily and inaccurately vilifies Ellen. The writer says right off the bat that she doesn’t watch the show and doesn’t know too much about Degeneres. I think the two (only two) examples used as “evidence” are incredibly weak, the first, in reference to a skit specifically about Nicki Manaj, was made to specially jest at Manaj herself, not “all black women”, by referencing her large butt, which as the article even states, is her trademark, in the same way that Kim kardashians large white ass is her trademark. True, there of course are countless countless awful examples of black women’s bodies (and large butts specifically) being exploited in the media and in society but I hardly think this is one of them…the second example, in reference to not knowing where Ghana is, might even be weaker. Yes, it was an ignorant and insensitive comment but could hardly be hailed as racist, as the point of the joke was to display ignorance (possibly American?) about geography in general and very well could have been used with a similar foreign country: Turkmenistan? Latvia? Guyana?
    Overall, I think that of course the issues the article is trying to bring up are absolutely noteworthy and important to discuss and hopefully rectify, but by centering on degeneres, who I personally think is about as non-racist as a white person can possibly be, completely loses all of its credibility.
    But of course, just my own opinion
    Sorry for my own essay 😉

  • “Killing us with Kindness!” Outstanding Post sweetheart!

  • I agree with everything you said except for the part about that skit being racist. It seems to me it was about Nicki Minaj as an individual person, rather than an entire ethnic group. Sometimes things are about the individual, not the race. But I do agree that it might pick up on stereotypes and that is what the problem is. But still, don’t think that was the intention. I agree that racism is covert and goes unnoticed because it’s not the obvious, direct thing that people think. It’s in the little things and it’s everywhere. But it feels like you are creating a wall that is saying, “back away, don’t talk about me or make skits about people who look like me because it offends me” so it kind of feels like we can’t talk about race without being offensive to someone, but then how are we going to combat racism? You say that even “nice white people” are offensive by so many things they do or do not do you may push people away from even trying to break down the wall because they will be too afraid to offend someone. It’s a difficult subject, it’s sensitive and people are going to say things that upset eachother and hurt eachother but we have to get through this to reach a more intimate comfort level with eachother … or is that possible? What was my main point here? I don’t know.

  • Nayeli ,

    Since you seem to understand first hand the detriment of living in a patriarchal society, can you also say that ignorance does not equate to sexism, and ignorance shouldn’t be called out on sexist behavior? There will be ignorant sexist people who listen and will actively try to learn and understand and become better people for it, like your Native american friend, and then there will be ignorant sexist people like your interviewer, who could give less than a damn.

    Yes, we are all ignorant in some manner. But ignorance in and of itself does not take away the nature of the problematic behavior, even if it came from a place of ignorance. Your Native-American friend might have behaved in a manner that is sexist in disregarding your opinions, but that behavior is no less sexist just because he wasn’t aware of it.

    This same logic applies to racism. Just because you’re not aware of the racist nature of your ignorant behavior does not mean that your ignorant behavior stops being racist.

    You were able to confront and educate your friend by calling his ignorant behavior sexist, so please do us the courtesy of not telling us to not call racist ignorant behavior racist.

  • Br00ke ,

    Sorry, my comment was meant to be directed to Becki.

  • Br00ke ,

    It’s not just one skit though. It’s a reoccuring problem. I, like the writer, only watched snippets time to time when someone of interest is on. I caught her lip synch competition with Jimmy Fallon. 1st she does a Diana Ross song and Jimmy does some (white-sounding) rock thing. Mkay. Then he does Whip Nae Nae and she does BBHMM. Justin Timberlake is the judge and though there is the entire band of Men of Color/Black men sitting right with them there is almost ZERO interaction between them. The whole thing is a teehee silly white people “acting Black” look how funny that comes across. Racist. I don’t bother with the snippets anymore.
    Thanks for this!

  • Eire ,

    In my opinion, your analysis and conclusion couldn’t be more correct. Once you allow standards to drop, even a little, they inevitably sink to the lowest possible tolerable level. The skit moved that line just a little, and it didn’t need to be moved a little, because it happens again and again while everyone politely applauds. The mention of Sally, Kathy and Brody? A small shot over the bow there, perhaps unnecess

  • Kinfolk Kollective avatar LaSha ,

    ???

  • I haven’t seen the skit but my immediate reaction from your description was the sexualization of Black girls. Our inability to have a childhood. Things you and I have discussed about our Black sons. The “good” White people hurt me the most.

  • Dee M. ,

    That body shape is absolutely associated with black people, and a lot of (darker) white people whose ancestors hail from around the Mediterranean have it too. The Kardashians are ethnic white. They don’t have the kind of northern European look and identity that’s so highly valued in the US. Race isn’t binary. In the US, some people are whiter than others and some people are blacker than others. And if Ellen went after the Kardashians the way she went after Nicki Minaj, it would still show racism, or at least a closely related kind of ethnic bias. It would still be just a little uglier than straight-up body shaming, which is bad enough.

  • Kinfolk Kollective avatar LaSha ,

    Your last sentence says it all.

  • Becki ,

    I’m just going to ask the question, if it was the exact same skit done about Kim Kardashian would it be viewed in the same light. I mean, I watched it, and didn’t find it amusing in sort of way, but I think Tyler Perry does a lot more to stereotype “black culture” then the butt joke that Ellen pulled. Body shaming, sure, offensive, yeah, but I’m not sure that I agree about racist. That said I’m a white female, so it’s not really for me to judge that.

  • Byron J. ,

    I understand that it isn’t the individual joke, but its position within the racial history and present of America that is important. The use of a Black child to perpetuate the idea that all Black women have big asses is a bad idea, for the reasons you have indicated. The more general tokenization of Black women by White people to satisfy a need for a cheap laugh based on minstrelsy-era stereotypes is also in need of attack. Was Ellen’s skit specific enough to excuse it from those characterizations? I tend to think that it was, and that she was taking a mildly funny (at best) shot at a global celebrity that need not be interpreted in a systemic way. All that doesn’t really matter, though, if we are just using this as motivation to talk about the transformation of racist actions by White people in the US and the complacency of Black folks in excusing particular behaviors in White people who they like. I recognize and value the experience of you and other commenters regarding the seriousness of the problem. Still, I think that you overreach in your citations of thinly-veiled racism based on Michelle Pfeiffer movies and such. The argument also falters for me when it is transposed onto *most* White people, because that simply isn’t my experience. Fleshing this out is super important, so thank you for putting this out there, and for the dialogue!

  • Dee M. ,

    Not only is Ellen white, she is thin, blond and conventionally attractive. I haven’t seen the skit in question, but it sounds terrible. And I’ve got to say, as a white woman from a family of pear-shaped women, I think I would have been personally offended by it because of the body shaming aspect. All the women in my branch of the family have got big butts. At least in my mom’s generation and before, there was a lot of self-hatred based on that. And yeah, I can see how racism is probably mixed into that feeling of shame over our natural body shape. Our type of build is too extreme and in bad taste, right? If we could just starve ourselves effectively and constantly, maybe we’d look the way we’re supposed to. So, it’s a sign of lack of control and moral weakness, and it associates us with African Americans and people who are considered “ethnic.” So much nastiness packed in there…

  • Kinfolk Kollective avatar LaSha ,

    Girl, this shit is layered. That’s what a lot of people don’t get.

  • Kinfolk Kollective avatar LaSha ,

    Byron, the problem is not the joke about Nicki itself. The problem is the way it was down. I don’t say this in a shady way, but reread now that I’ve said that. I think a lot of people saw Nicki and zoned in on that.

  • Byron J. ,

    I like this essay. No need to let White people off the hook for racist actions just because they are nice to you.

    You make me wonder: is a person who commits an action that can be understood as racist always a racist person? The act is racist, for sure. Is the person? Maybe, but I’m not sure. I am currently drinking a glass of red wine. It is an alcoholic drink. That doesn’t necessarily make me an alcoholic (though I might be, hah).

    I also wonder if we make a mistake in equating a parody of an individual celebrity with inaccurate caricaturing of all Black woman. That means that Nicki Minaj has set herself up to be completely beyond any jokes by White people, and that is a problem. Would we attack Jimmy Kimmel as a racist if he did a Bill Cosby joke because Black men have been stereotyped as sexual predators for so long? Nicki Minaj doesn’t get any sympathy from me, though I agree that Ellen, her producers, and the parents and agent of the little girl who was used as an actress in the parody deserve serious criticism.

    Most liberal White folks are overly nice to Black people to avoid being seen as racist, but for a different reason. I know *nice* White folks who are so scared of being called racist that they refuse to even disagree with a Black person about anything in a straightforward way. They’ll let a Black person at work treat them like s**t because they’re horrified of being thought of as a racist. I think it comes from a disgusting patronizing mentality, as if Black folks can’t possibly engage in actual dialogue in a sophisticated way. I would rather have someone respect me enough as an individual to disagree with me, instead of viewing me as a systemic victim who can’t defend my position or admit when I’m wrong. PC at its worst is straight-up racist.

    Sorry that this is a semi-essay. You are bringing out lots of thoughts!

  • Also for reading material check out the press material about the Rotherham abuse scandal in the uk nationals and the huff post if you subscribe. As a white British woman who sometimes hates being that way we are victims too

  • Believe me I am on your side 100% The majority of migrants and those descended from them live work and socialise with white British people really well. My cousins are married to a polish and an Indian women and I am a proud mama of a disabled daughter. My problem isn’t having migrants we all have our own reasons and our stories to tell my point is those who refuse to get on and get ahead regardless and FYI I have mental health issues for which some ppl think I can afford private health care because I am British. I am aware of the social problems in the uk, but want to reassure the fact that in the uk everyone has an equal chance it’s whether the child wants to learn and also the home environment. A lot of ignorance is bred in the bone when you have a closer look. I grew up with bigots and can usually spot them a mile off. That is the catalyst for ignorance in my opinion. Thank you for replying it was good to read.

  • Lol, I’m not gonna write an essay b/c I’m tired and I wrote one on Facebook, but ma’am, you make me feel so understood. I swear you do. I have been dealing with this VERY concept in my head and heart the last few months and have had trouble articulating this to other people. Folks tend to think that since we aren’t getting hosed down, spit on, bit by dogs and head-crushed with baseball bats, that black folks today have escaped ‘the worst’ of racism.

    That is far, far from the truth. So very far.

  • Jerome ,

    Racism is unfortunately not going anywhere. People are afraid and mock what is different them by nature, and it’s usually a product of insecurity or unfamiliarity. Good luck tackling that one.

  • Kinfolk Kollective avatar LaSha ,

    That’s a fair question. I think they’re the same. Racism is not always deliberate, so being insensitive is racist, thought not purposeful.

  • Heather ,

    I have an honest question: Do believe there is a difference between flat out racism and simply being racially insensetive?
    I only ask this because I was recently having a discussion with a good friend and I blurted out “That’s racist!” in regards to The emoji app setting “white” emojis as the “default” setting. But as the conversation evolved I changed my statement to “racially incensitive and completely ignorant”.
    I’d love to know how you feel? This could just be splitting hairs and arguing over semantics but I figured it was worth a discussion.

  • Kinfolk Kollective avatar LaSha ,

    Your comments don’t show up until I approve them. Great job.

  • Did my comment vanish? 🙁

  • Sorry what immigration problem are you talking of? And clarify what you are saying is the problem? If you are saying it’s the connectedness the kids of immigrants have to their roots you are way of base. The problem is the racist whites who have discriminated against them since day one which far from being a relic of the past still occurs today. That is the problem. Anyone who lays the blame at the feet of the ethnic minority community is racist. Currently hate crime is up in the UK, anti immigrant hostility is rising, endless studies show that black kids are more likely to be suspended or criminalised for the exact same misdemeanours as their white counterparts, black people are more likely to be given drugs instead of therapy by mental health, blacks more likely to die in police custody .the list goes on and this based on British statistics before anyone goes blaming it on the US.

  • Carole A. Winston, a black woman. ,

    Yes, to everything you said.

  • He was very glad I explained situations I endure because he was unaware of the prejudices women face daily.

    My point is that if we are to make any strides towards eradicating prejudice we have to stop seeing ignorance as racist and be willing to take the time to educate.

  • LaSha,
    I am not going to try to say there is no prejudice or that it does not exist; that is obviously not the case and I’m not here to defend anyone else’s actions because I can’t know what someone else was thinking. but I do think there are times the actions of people are so scrutinized for prejudice that it will be found whether that is the case or not. If you see a white woman out to lunch with a black woman, do you see two friends out for lunch or do you see a white woman pretending she isn’t a racist? And since you are not at the table with them, isn’t either an assumption you aren’t qualified to make?
    I think to overcome prejudice, all cultures need to realize that we are a society of multiple cultures and ethnicities trying to do just that- overcome prejudice which means there will be a definite learning curve. I can’t possibly know everything about other cultures and they can’t possibly know everything about mine- there will undoubtedly be mistakes on both sides but if I do not take the time to explain to you how you have offended me, how would you avoid doing it again? And likewise, if someone you know is well intentioned but offends you, instead of feeling “blindsided by the nice white folks” wouldn’t it be more productive to let them know why it offended you?
    I have a friend who is a painter and he has painted a few images of owls. He has also painted images of rabbits and Pinocchio. The last owl he did was blue and yellow. I have a blue and yellow macaw so when she dropped a feather I gave it to him naming it as being from his owl, because I felt he would laugh and know I thought about him but he didn’t. He was very offended and wouldn’t even touch the feather I had left on his door because he is native and in his religion the gift of a feather carries a lot of power. I knew eagle feathers were revered but had never heard of any religious tie or significance to any other feathers. In fact I had heard him ridiculing another person for smudging w a macaw feather as inferior and not worthy of notice so it did not occur to me to consider there may be significance to my gift. I also have another friend who is very spiritual and Native American who has come to my home often and seen my birds; we have discussed the feathers I have kept and possible uses- never once did she ever say a macaw feather or any other parrot feather would be religiously associated. She did not get offended when I told her she was welcome to take some of the feathers, in fact her reaction was the opposite.

    Once he realized it was from me, he explained his reaction and I was horrified I had upset him! It was not intentional by any means; I had expected the opposite reaction. I do not think he should’ve pretended to be ok with it; I am so glad he explained that he was upset and took the time to explain to me why- if he had not, how would I have known my gift was offensive? It is a mistake I would never want to repeat again but if he had not explained, I might have.

    He isn’t free of error either. He accused me of not knowing what it was like to be him and disregarded due to his race. As I had just returned from a bout of having everything I said dismissed because I am a woman so how could I possibly understand complex thought? and the day before that sitting thru an interview smiling and pretending not to notice my male interviewer wasn’t listening to a word I said because he was too busy looking at my legs and realizing that more than likely I could’ve skipped the 9 yrs of college because in the end, the winner of the position would either be the prettiest or go to the most drab because everyone knows only drab girls can think. And yet suffering thru w a plaster smile stuck on my face because I needed the job and hoping maybe, just maybe he would hire me long enough to prove I had a brain.

  • I have to agree, I am not a big fan of Ellen and having had the privelidge of mixing with people of all races, I can understand your pain at the skit aimed at Nicky Minaj and more importantly the 10 year old girl that was used in a parody of her. My parents racism prevented me enjoying inter-racial relationships with black or mixed race boys as a teenager. The consequences were brutal and unbelievably harsh for a 15 year old girl. In their bigoted narrow-mindedness they thought they could manipulate me to only want white boys who had the same mindset as them. I have had friendships with girls who flourished in a mixed race home and who have gone on to do really well. I would never dream of using defamatory language nor would I ever cross the road to avoid anyone who isn’t white. Yes we have an immigration problem in the UK but I believe it is more to do with what was and the memories of their parents and relatives for their homeland or their idealism. Shall I suggest an ideal world where we must learn to live with one another or perish together as fools? It might be completely off tangent but I see people not physical difference and Hollywood, Ellen and her researchers and producers need to wake up to society. Never mind the blatant exploitation thinly disguised as “entertainment”. No not good at all.

  • Kinfolk Kollective avatar LaSha ,

    Thanks for sharing this! ?

  • This is so beautifully stated! I am applauding you for this kick ass essay! I am a black woman who has had enough “nice” white friends who think they are not being racist, to last me a lifetime.

    Over time, I finally had enough, and realized I am getting too old for the bullshit microaggressions and the constant educating of white friends. So, when I recently had a white “friend” tell me that she wanted to have a deeper friendship with me. I had to directly tell her that it’s not going to happen, because she has too much work to do on her white privelege and is not actively doing it. That I can’t keep schooling her on her privilege, and that my deeper relationships with with white folks are the ones where they have a conscious racial analysis, and continuously work on their shit. I told her that for me, this is self preservation. She said she respected my decision but she also no longer continues to communicate with me so far. Which is fine with me. If that was too much I am okay with that because in the past I have always worried about white people’s feelings rather than the pain I was feeling.

    I refuse to be a token or toy for the white folks who like to collect people of color, queer folks etc, cuz it makes them look cool, or not racist or not homophobic; or cuz they want to take from you what you have, and do not give back with equal substance and depth. This white woman puts me in a stereotypical exotic black woman “Goddess” pedestal type role (and I AM a Goddess don’t get me wrong), and sometimes a “Mammy” role. She says she “honors” me, loves me etc, but then will not actually see me as a whole person. Not truly interact in ways that are meaningful to both of us, rather than in ways that are just meaningful to her. She is controlling in a nice white people way. Like a little girl who says, you are my doll to play with. Now do what I say. With a smile on her face. And though I love her as a human being because I do love all beings, and we all are beautiful, I cannot allow her to use me. That is detrimental to my own soul, and this, I will not allow.

    That was long, but what you wrote was sooo damn good I could not help it! Hoping this added to the conversation.

    Peace

  • I like Ellen, I really do. I find her funny in an over -the-top kind of way. I think she tries too hard sometimes, but I’m not sure she means any harm. I think when you are on TV, its so hard to do and say the right thing. I think sometimes you may have to throw your “own” personal views out the window for the sake of ratings. i would not want to be gay, black or white and have a TV show in this day and age.
    thanks for your insightful post. Its always good to have many different perspectives to look at a thing.

  • >shame face< my feelings won't be hurt if you think it's too off topic and it goes poof

    your shit gets me all riled up!! you should see what it starts out as. there's far more "fucking exactly motherfuckers" and it's about 10x as long . .. that's why i usually stick to just collecting people.

    this was like a preemptive collection. 😉

  • Kinfolk Kollective avatar LaSha ,

    You always come with an essay! You’re lucky I love you!

  • disclosure – i’m white and i kinda like ellen but i’m not a fan

    the fact is – she may actually be anti-racist BUT she’s still going to screw up. every one of us are and when i say us here i mean white people. truthfully, probably black people too but i stay out of that unless someone who is black says or does something completely over the top (ie “thugs” deserve to die). white supremacy – we are birthed into it, we are nursed on it, swaddled in it, play its games, learn its history, exalt its existence, make friends with it . .. we WILL fuck up.

    now frankly, ellen’s skit would have been in poor taste if nicki was a white woman, imo. but just poor taste. and it wasn’t funny. i mean i’ve laughed at things i shouldn’t have and this just wasn’t funny. now on TOP of being unfunny and in poor taste; things that could be possibly overlooked. it was racist. racist in a venue that is supposed to be one of the few refuges from racism. she is supposed to be “on the right side” – nicki and her are “girls.”

    we have so fucking far to go. and to all the people that think this means black people too – that *they* need to learn to trust white people and not see us all as the enemy. here’s the trouble with that: ellen has a national platform, she wants to be on the right side (i do believe that) but not enough to hire someone to review shit like this and tell her “don’t you realize the history of this? don’t you realize that women are dying trying to make their butts big today? this goes beyond not funny it’s dangerous.” so if she can’t or won’t do something that simple to combat something that, quite arguably isn’t her fault – it’s not conscious, then why are we asking black people to trust us? it’s not about trust it’s about what they know (and what we would know if our heads weren’t up our asses) we’ve learned to see people who are black as other and less and unless we are conscious of that and working to unlearn it . . that’s what will be there no matter how ‘good’ we are or how much it makes me feel sad.

    — i’m sorry if i got too far off topic.

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