Coffee Rhetoric: White people
Showing posts with label White people. Show all posts
Showing posts with label White people. Show all posts

January 31, 2014

Psst, Jen Polachek Sees 'Heavyset' Black Women in Her Yoga Class

“A few weeks ago, as I settled into an exceptionally crowded midday class, a young, fairly heavy black woman put her mat down directly behind mine. It appeared she had never set foot in a yoga studio—she was glancing around anxiously, adjusting her clothes, looking wide-eyed and nervous. Within the first few minutes of gentle warm-up stretches, I saw the fear in her eyes snowball, turning into panic and then despair.  … Because I was directly in front of her, I had no choice but to look straight at her every time my head was upside down (roughly once a minute).  …  Even when I wasn’t positioned to stare directly at her, I knew she was still staring directly at me. 
Over the course of the next hour, I watched as her despair turned into resentment and then contempt. I felt it all directed toward me and my body.I was completely unable to focus on my practice, instead feeling hyper-aware of my high-waisted bike shorts, my tastefully tacky sports bra, my well-versedness in these poses that I have been in hundreds of times. My skinny white girl body. Surely this woman was noticing all of these things and judging me for them, stereotyping me, resenting me…”

Image found on: blackyogis.tumblr.com 
While the above passage may read like a contrived scenario devised by Andy Cohen and Bravo producers, it’s an excerpt from one of the most self-aggrandizing, presumptuous, anti-Black woman, quasi-think pieces drenched in white women’s tears, I've read this year; and it comes courtesy of XOJane

Written by a woman, who promptly changed her byline following the collective outcry of ‘Girl, bye!’ in the comments section, Jen Caron Polachek recounted the shock and dismay she felt at having her fair, thin, white womanhood subjected to the presence of a ‘heavyset Black woman’ in the predominantly white, donation based yoga studio she attends— populated by artists and hipsters. And while I suspect Jen may have over-exaggerated the unidentified woman’s body type, since many people tend to think all Black women are fat and lumbering, when juxtaposed against the European female aesthetic, that’s just the tip of the iceberg in a myriad of reasons why her essay was problematic, and it serves as a glaring example of why discussions like the #solidarityisforwhitewomen Twitter hashtag initiated by Mikki Kendall, take place across social media platforms.

November 03, 2013

Whitewashed: White Americans Reflect on White Privilege


"...To be white in this culture means to deny the reality of racism; it means to deny the privilege that we have as whites. Most people, who are Whites, don't want to accept that they are privileged, because they are." 
"People don't want to talk about being White because they know that at a deep level, even though some of them may not have talked about it with anybody or every expressed it, they do know that they get a benefit from being White." 
"... To me, it's about privilege. A lot of people get to walk around thinking that we live in a meritocracy, and thinking that their own hard work is the only thing that's responsible for their achievements. I think that it shapes everything." 
"I was taught that you respected Black folk, but not really as human beings, but more like cats, and dogs, and cows; you wouldn't mistreat a cat or a dog in my family, and you wouldn't mistreat a black person. I don't have any trouble admitting that I'm a racist; I think it's absurd to try to fight with that. I grew up in this society I was conditioned by, I think internally in my psyche I have grounded and rooted those attitudes and I see it in me all the time... I mean, I'm always dealing with it. I don't think that make me a bad person ... I just think it means I've been well indoctrinated." 
"... Like Malcolm X said: 'Racism is like a Cadillac; there's a new model every year'. Racism is a dynamic social construction, so it's always changing and it's always mutating. So people that say, 'well there's no racism anymore', they're referring to racism as it existed in 1950 or 1920 or 1910."  
Above is a collection of quotes from Whitewashed: Unmasking the World of Whites, a 2013 documentary by Mark Patrick George. Clocking in at just under 35 minutes this interesting featurette examines white privilege and racism via footage—(collected over the course of several years)—of several white Americans offering insight on what whiteness means to them and the situations that have prompted them to realize how institutional racism works to marginalize others, and work in their favor. 

March 17, 2013

Why "Being White in Philly" is Problematic


Race.  The word alone prompts many to break out in a cold sweat, grit their teeth, immediately grow defensive or quickly change the subject. And while some people like to espouse the tenets of color-blindness and post-racialism (words I've personally grown to despise), I tend to steer clear of anyone who refuses to see my humanity and who brushes off the fact that black people still face inequities in this country. That some people (still) can’t even hold a productive discourse about racial politics or recognize that gender equality movements should be inter-sectional, yet will gleefully skip around singing about how wonderful and post-racial America is, stymies me. (To me) one of the key elements when having a worthwhile discussion about racial politics is listening. There always seems to be an inclination towards denying, tone policing, shaming, gas-lighting, silencing, and ‘othering’. And othering is among the ‘Race Deconstruction Don’ts’ Robert Huber employed when he penned his controversial piece about what it’s like “Being White in Philly” for Philadelphia magazine.