This post was inspired by the brilliant Isobel DeBrujah.
She isn’t nice. But she’s honest.
Fellow White People and White Privilege Havers – if you are starting to wake up to the fact that #BlackLivesMatter and it is time to stand up help the non privilege havers. I’m glad that you are here. Welcome to the team.
The thing I have been seeing over and over again, is the same question.
What do I do?
How do I help?
It’s good that you are asking these questions.
But please stop asking the marginalized people you are trying to help. They have enough on their plate.
So here is how you too can weaponize your white privilege in 5 easy steps.
Step 1. Listen and learn
Step 2. Let go of the guilt and embrace your privilege.
Step 3. Draw them in.
Step 4. Take them down.
Step 5. Retreat back into the shadows like a deadly Anti Racism Xenomorph
Step 1. Listen and learn from the people you are striving to be an ally to. In this case, it is an ally to people of color.
Do your homework, read blogs, articles, stories, books, and any writing that you can find that comes from their point of view. And when you feel the need to argue, push back, or make a comment, check that urge and read it again.
This does not mean that every black writer is a paragon of virtue and always write the truth and never lead you astray. But if you are looking for their point of view, and understand what they are saying you have to listen. And listening means hearing what they say, taking it in and processing it. Listening does not mean waiting for your turn to talk.
When you move in black spaces, be respectful. Be quiet, be aware of how your presence makes them feel and try and minimize that. In general do not share your experience or point of view until it is asked for, and for the love of whatever you hold holy, do not equate being poor to being black. Do not tell them that your story is the same. If you must share this point of view you can start with, I can empathize to a point because – tell your story – then sum up with, but I realize it’s not the same.
Step 2 – Let go of the guilt and embrace your privilege.
If you feel constantly guilty for your privilege, then you will be constantly defensive about it. And if you are defensive you are not being a good ally.
Process your guilt, and process the horrible feelings you will have as you realize the many times you have used your privilege and it has hurt others. At this point I would suggest talking to other privilege havers, and not the people you are trying to be allies to. Because unless you are VERY fortunate, the non privilege haver is not going to care one little bit and will be rather unwilling to listen to you unburden your soul as you explore this new perspective on life. And you are going to want to talk about this, as you process it. So choose your audience carefully.
Then, as you process this guilt let it go and start viewing the world with it in mind. As you consume media, note how many white faces you see. As you move through the stores running errands, note how many white faces you see. And when you see faces of color, note how white they look. As you read articles, note the language that is being used. And start to identify the many small ways that whiteness and the things associated with it are lifted up as good and moral, and the things associated with people of color are associated with low morals and danger.
This is the hard part, it is going to suck. A lot. Because there are going to be times where you wish you could go back to who you used to be. You want to close your eyes and not feel this way all the time. But you have to. It’s part of the journey.
Step 3. Draw them in
Now that you see the racism that is constantly all around you, it is time. You are ready. But you can’t just stomp out into the world like a Rockem Sockem Robot. You may knock off your opponents head, but you are just as likely to have your own head knocked off. And in this dangerous dance of white privilege, a direct attack is not the best answer.
Rather, lurk in the shadows and wait for your turn.
Move in white spaces, smile, and be your normal happy self. Let your fellow privilege havers feel comfortable around you. Let them feel like they can say the things that they wouldn’t say in front of people of color.
And then when the moment comes, strike.
Step 4. Take them down.
Be remorseless. Like a death dealing Anti Racism Xenomorph. Deadly and cold, striking from a hidden corner and then evaporating into the darkness waiting for another chance.
When someone posts a horrible meme on FB, just respond with “That’s offensive and racist.”
When someone tells a racist joke, or story say “that’s not funny, it’s racist.”
When you hear something, you call them on it. Don’t justify, don’t argue, don’t cajole, don’t convince, don’t debate. Strike and retreat.
And when they cry their white tears, don’t argue. Just repeat your point.
Racist: “I am entitled to my opinion!”
White Privilege Xenomorph: “This is true. And in this case, your opinion is offensive and racist.”
Racist: “I can’t believe you said that to me!”
White Privilege Xenomorph: “I can’t believe that you said something so racist and offensive.”
Racist: “Why are you being so mean to me?”
White Privilege Xenomorph: “I am telling you the truth, and if you find the truth ‘mean’, that is your problem not mine. What you said is racist and offensive”.
I think you get the point.
When you debate, argue, explain, or go further you are simply giving more ways to be wrong. When you keep things short and simple then you give them nothing to grab onto.
Step 5 – retreat into the shadows like a White Privilege Xenomorph.
Use whatever privilege haver tools you have in your belt. White tears, white voices, white privilege. Grab the attention and draw it to you. Then after you clear the way and create a little destruction turn things over to the people of color that you are supporting.
Let their voices be heard, let their faces be seen, let their words carry the weight. Let them lead the way.
As a White Privilege Xenomorph, your job is to strike down racism and privilege whenever you can. When you are silent you agree. You condone the behavior.
But when you weaponize your privilege you take this tool you have been given and make it into something good.
It takes practice, and a little bit of bravery. But you are fighting cowards who are hiding in the shadows. And the shadows is your hunting ground.
So wait until the moment is right, and strike without mercy. Then return to the shadows like the Xenomorph and know that for them, it is Game Over.