With yesterday’s post, Go Ahead, Girl!, I wrote about how I admired the joyful exuberance that I find seems to culturally come naturally to black people, while I feel like a rigid, inhibited, afraid to show my sass, white woman. I worried, and still do, about that being a patronizing, generalizing statement, and so I thought I’d do two things today:
1) Ask all of you who are reading this, and are black, to let me know how you felt about yesterday’s post, and about other statements, perceptions and misperceptions that you hear white people say about black people. (Other people of color, and white people, you are not excluded here–please comment, as well on statements you’ve heard that seem to generalize or stereotype you:)
2) I want to ask you to give me a list of your own statements about white people who might fall into the same category as my declaration about black people being more easily demonstrative of their feelings. For example, I’ve heard the term “uptight whitey” used more than once. I also read a book this past year, written by a white man, I believe a journalist, who happens to be married to a black women, and who lives in a very diverse, Chicago neighborhood. His book, which I wish I could remember the author’s name and title of, dealt with how both races communicate and miscommunicate with one another,and through interviews, told how white privilege and cultural differences impact black people’s communications with white people and vice versa. For example, in the workplace, many black people said they did not always speak up with things they disagreed with because they were worried they would be viewed as either the “angry black man” or the “angry black woman,” and might start to be feared, or be passed over for a promotion or pay raise.
Maybe this can help you get started. There has been a lot of debate about the S@*t White Girls Say videos. You might comment on this, too, but I feel like I’ve already given you enough homework.
I ask that we all be respectful, and use language that is positive, and comments that create a meaningful dialogue for all of us to connect and learn from. I appreciate your feedback and participation here.