White Privilege. A phrase many white people hate hearing or even thinking about. They like to disprove it and say things such as “well I grew up poor so I don’t have privilege” or “everyone is the same” like Ifemelu states when this is just not the case. Anytime white people feel “attacked” they want to discredit theories like white privilege instead of just recognizing it. We are a society so consumed with irrelevant things that we disregard and ignore issues like white privilege and racism. The fact of the matter is minorities have it rough, and if you as a white person cannot see that you have it better makes you delusional and ignorant. Black people specifically, cannot say what they want without repercussions, cannot act loud and be disrespectful without being labeled “ghetto” meanwhile white girls like Danielle Bregoli can go on Dr. Phil acting the same way and become internet sensations overnight. THAT is White Privilege. A Black man cannot go around saying things like “grab her by the pu**y” and still be elected president. THAT is White privilege. White people do not have to worry about being racially profiled, being nervous in majority white suburbs, or being pulled over by the police fearing for their lives. The first step to progression is realizing that your white privilege is real. Ifemelu is showcasing all of the stereotypes and situations POC deal with on a daily basis that White people just won’t understand because it will never cross their minds. My favorite statement that I see in Ifems post is the whole “Can’t we just be human beings?” I wish things could be that simple, but since White people did not recognize Black people in America as humans from the start we’re unfortunately faced with all of these current conflicts.
Ifemelu suggests that someone can not claim to be mixed with other races when the color of your skin recognizably can categorize you into a certain race. She says that it does not matter what you identify as, in other people’s eyes, their first assumption is that you are the race that reflects your skin color. She used Obama as an example specifically. People argue that Obama is biracial, black-and-white, mixed, biracial. Which is true. But when it comes down to it, he is black because race is a construct and it is all about the color of your skin, not your blood. This suggests that no matter what you are mixed with, if your skin predominately reflects that of a black person, then you become black. You would have been sitting in the back of the bus with the rest of us.
Here we go. Everyone likes to say what they mixed with as if it makes them exotic. There was this girl used to go to school with. She was black in my eyes, but when people would ask her she would name a whole list of things she was mixed with, as if it made her superior, she would gush with pride. I would look at her and think, So? As far as I am concerned, and as far as America is Concerned, you are black. That little percentage of “other” does not mean anything. When people look at you, they will not think of the list you named, they will think of you as an African American. Point is, what you look like is what you are, what is that phrase “ If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and looks like a duck then it must be a duck.” Claiming to be anything other than what you look like is obscene. Like Ifemelu says, imagine Obama saying that he is kinda white, who would believe that? You can be mixed with whatever you like but if you do not look it then you are not it.
Former President Obama, the man who always stayed humble and gracious regardless of the situation because he had a hint of color to him. It is a sad reality that many black people face everyday. We have no choice but to keep our mouths shut in certain situations because our skin color is too intimidating and will be scrutinized at the drop of a hat. Barrack Obama had no choice but to comply to White America if he had any chance of becoming president. That is why he is labeled the “Magic Negro” When I look at our current president who is sexist, misogynistic, rude, and “tells it like it is” I imagine President Obama acting the same way and seeing him not even making it through the primaries. Donald Trump is the epitome of White privilege or terrible orange spray tan privilege whichever you prefer. Unfortunately, brown skin in America is a target, and if you play the game right you may not get hit. The emphasis on may because quite frankly let’s be honest here, some White people still won’t care. They will shoot you dead just for being Black. And thanks to the justice system they will get away with it too. President Obama came in with his elegance and grace and taught White people how to “break down the sad but understandable prejudice in their hearts”. I love how Ifemelu used the word understandable in this post because that is how Obama had to act. There is nothing understandable about being prejudice, but Obama had to pretend and empathize with White people if he ever had a shot. Many Black people today have to comply and act a certain way to receive opportunities. We cannot be ourselves in predominantly White social settings without being labeled as “wild” or “ghetto”. We have always been targeted and will continue to be targeted until White America realizes that everyone is equal and that we are supposed to accept diversity.
Ifemelu makes light of the whole racist and racism situation to show how dumb people actually sound. There are many people who like to point out that in America there is no longer slavery so therefore racism does not exist. White people like to say that since we are all equal and free no one can be racist or that anyone can be racist What some White people do not understand is that racism and slavery did not end in a day. We still suffer the effects of slavery and racism. All of this goes back to white people trying to excuse their guilt and racist ways. It shows through all of their counter movements like “All Lives Matter”, “Blue Lives Matter” Both of these movements were created just to take away from the Black Lives Matter movement, even attempting to deem it as a “terrorist organization.” It is 2017 and White people are still trying to undermine Black people and their right to voice their much-needed opinions. If that is not racist then I don’t know what is. So Ifem poses the question who is indeed racist? Since White people like to say there is no racism we must need an official qualified field of people to deem who is. But even then I am positive White people would still say that racist do not exist just to avoid the problem.
It seems as though Black women are the least desired when it comes to males of all ethnicity’s. Ifemelu observes that White men, Hispanic men and even Black men at times are not interested in Black women according to their dating profiles. This is very ironic because Black women are the first to be sexualized for their assets. I guess Black women are good enough to be displayed as objects, or even have their features stolen/imitated, but not good enough to be attracted to or make good partners because of stereotypes and stigma. Ifem makes a good point, at the end of the day it should be about a person’s personality, not what they look like. That is why dating sites are so problematic. There is nothing wrong with having a racial preference but answer this, why date the cultural appropriating copy, when you could have the beautifully crafted original? Does the brown skin intimidate you too much? Do strong opinionated Black woman make your blood boil? Stop being so close minded to what’s on the outside and start realizing that what’s on the inside is what matters, that is the whole point of Ifems post.
In Ifemelus post she poses a question to the doctors, (scientist) about race and genetics. She wants answers about the truth about the genetic variations between race, and is race really a social construct? She suggests that maybe there is a true difference between people of different races which can be used a tool to divide us. And if it is, there this notion that comes with it that suggest that some races are better than the other and that we are not truly the same down to our fundamentals. Ifemelu’s question got me thinking and led me to do a little research of my own. Here is what I found.
Race is a social construct, which serves to determine a hierarchy.Yes. The pigment of your skin, the amount of melanin determines what race you are, we all know that. But what about the genetic variations between different races? I read an article about DNA companies that discover your ancestry so you can answer the question of “What you are”. The problem with this is that your DNA does not tell you what you are, it only tells you who you are more related to genetically as opposed to people from other places. There is no “What you are”. I can not articulate this explanation as good as the article can because I need a firmer understanding of it first, so read this statement made by genetics scientist Dermitzakis “The fact that certain characteristics exist in a certain area just means that those traits have been passed on frequently in that area. Because of those markers, genetic differences can be used to track the movements of populations around the globe, but there’s no one genetic signal that makes anyone a different race.”
The simplest way for me to think about this is evolution. Take rabbits for example, the season changes from a summer to winter, in the summer grass and dirt covers the ground, foliage and other earthy colors making it easy for the rabbit to blend in, but then winter rolls around, the brown rabbit would stick out like a sore thumb in the meadow of white. The brown bunnies in the winter make easier prey because they can not blend in, killing the brown rabbits off, some rabbits will carry the genetic mutation that makes their fur white in the winter, making it easier for them to survive. These two rabbits have different genetic makeup, but at the end of the day, they are still all rabbits, which is how I think of the human race. The problem in thinking that genetics separate us is that it allows us to separate us. This allows us to create Racial Hierarchies, Hitler has done it with the jews, Francis Galton the creator of eugenics, White people to the Blacks. This ideology is damaging to society, it gives room for people to justify their actions towards other people. African Women getting raped because of how shapely their body is, so surely they’re made for the purpose of sticking your dick in because she is a sex toy, not a human. People need to be informed, because if you are not, then you are ignorant. Ignorance is what shaped America, land of the free, in the first place.
Ifemelus post suggest that when black people wear their hair natural it is no longer natural because we often wear weave, so when it is in its natural state it is always “Did you do something to your hair?”. The people who have really done something to their hair are the people who change it, people who fry their hair with heat and chemical. Ifemelu states that when black people do wear their hair natural it is not because she is being political or because she fits the scene of an artist, the fact that she had to state this is that wearing your natural hair nowadays is suppose to represent something or that you fit into a certain scene when in reality is is just hair, it is normal , but we have veered so far from normal and natural that it actually creates and Identity. Ifemelu states that having your hair in its natural state, according to the white people, is unsophisticated and unprofessional, yet when white people want to take our hair style’s they are never questioned and asked: “Did you do something to your hair.” Beauty in America is looking like a white person, never embracing the features you were blessed with unless they resemble that of a white person.
Lord knows I needed this posted. I too suffer from my Natural Hair. And yes, notice how I said suffer. I love my hair, I do, I love the way it drys out quickly and drinks up coconut oil likes it has been in the Sahara Desert with no water for weeks. I love how it tangles up just from being out in its natural state, and how I wish they were curls. I love how my hair is everywhere on my head, sticking up like I have been electrocuted. But the thing I love the most is that it is my hair. I know the other comments held a certain sarcastic quality, but I do love my hair, I look in the mirror and think to myself, I look like strong pro-black women as stupid as that sounds. I do not believe in putting heat in my hair or harmful chemicals because lord save me if I ever go bald (that is a whole other can of worms, hair length). But what else is there to do to tame this mess of unruly hair? The solution that America came up with is a weave. Braid your hair up, put some weave in, and leave it alone for a month, and let the cycle repeat. The reason I suffer from hair is because I do not know what to do with it. The problem with it is, that nothing should be done. Just as Ifemelu says, when you wear your natural hair out, people ask you what did you do with your hair, because they are so used to it being anything other than natural. From my perspective my hair makes me take on the Identity of strong black women, which is also wrong because it should not give me an identity at all because hair is hair, it is not a persona, it does make you something other than what you are. Since so few have their hair natural nowadays natural hair has taken an identity of its own, if you wear your hair natural, you are representing your roots ( which is so superficial it is ridiculous, a whole separate post). Nobody wants to hire the woman or man that wears their hair in its most natural state because it is not the standard America has set, so ladies go get you some inches, and men slap on that S-curl, because they sure are profiting off us, yet we perpetuate it. Michele knew what she was doing when she wore her hair down, she knows that standard American has set. Michelle represented her husband, skin and hair color. God forbid she ruin Obama’s chances by projecting the perception people hold that she is a strong dark skinned woman because she wears her hair natural or the perception that she let herself go because of the untamed wool atop her head. But have no fear, the white men and women can steal out hairstyles and not get questioned because we do not seem to be appreciating it.