“If a white man wants to lynch me, that’s his problem. If he’s got the power to lynch me, that’s my problem. Racism is not a question of attitude; it’s a question of power.”—Stokely Charmichael, aka Kwame Ture
For years, activists, academics and general progressives have insisted that Black people can’t be racist against white people because racism requires structural power. Essentially, Black people don’t possess the social capital to perform racism. Now, personally, I’ve always been on the fence about this narrative. My knee-jerk reaction is to say that anyone can be racist and experience racism. There’s just a difference between garden-variety racism and the only type of racism that actually matters—systemic racism.
But for all intents and purposes, the newer definition of racism is the most correct and purposeful one. White power is what has allowed conservative America to ban truthful Black history and civics lessons from classrooms across the country by propagandizing critical race theory, an academic study those same conservative lawmakers have failed to demonstrate even a remedial understanding of. Black “racism” against white people could never have accomplished that.
Black “racism” also could never have led to housing discrimination against white people, redlining of white communities, stop-and-frisk laws that overwhelmingly target white citizens, historic hiring discrimination against white people, historic and systemic sabotage of white people’s ability to create generational wealth, a racial wealth gap that benefits Black people and leaves white men and women earning less, or a legal system that disproportionately polices white neighborhoods and sentences white convicts more harshly than Black convicts who commit the same crimes. These are only a handful out of a white sea of examples, but y’all get my point.
So, anyway, the chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer in the Department of Defense’s education branch is a Black woman, and white conservatives are big mad that she tweeted that Black people can’t be racist.
“I’m exhausted with these white folx in these PD [professional development] sessions,” Kelisa Wing tweeted from her account which has since been made private. “This lady actually had the CAUdacity to say that black people can be racist too … I had to stop the session and give Karen the BUSINESS … we are not the majority, we don’t have power.”
From the New York Post:
“[B]eing antiracist means being active against racism … you will NEVER arrive … stop centering this on whiteness,” Wing said.
In another post, Wing responded to another user who criticized an article she had written that claimed “racism is ingrained in the very fabric of our country,” and called on teachers to dismantle “racial oppression,” Fox reported.
“Bye Karen,” Wing wrote, dismissively.
She’s additionally called former President Donald Trump the “whole boy version of a Karen” and his former secretary of education, Betsy DeVos, “the queen of Karens.”
Did we mention that Kelisa was named the Department of Defense Education Activity Teacher of the Year in 2017?
I could put together an investigative Justice League with Sherlock Holms, Benson and Stabler, Matlock and the cast of Scooby-Doo—and I still wouldn’t be able to find the lie in Wing’s tweets.
But listen—six years ago, I wrote an essay for the Washington Post about how I no longer argue with white people about racism. I’m just not willing to fall down the rabbit hole of Caucasian denseness and obtuseness in an effort to explain the nuance and complicated nature of racism, however one chooses to define it. I’d rather just let them be mad and practice my backstroke in their white tears. It’s just so much easier that way.
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