Dear White People, Now’s Not the Time to Point Out You’re One of the Good Ones

And other thoughts by the editor-in-chief of The Root.

If you’re a decent white person and currently upset that you are being lumped in with white supremacists in America, you better shut your mouth and take it, according to Danielle Belton, editor-in-chief of The Root.

Belton, who considers herself “The Black Snob,” asked whites to “check [their] privilege” in an open letter on Sunday title, “Maybe Now Isn’t the Time, Guys.”

“If you’re tempted to point out that you’re one of the good ones right now . . . please don’t,” she pleads. “If you are upset that people of color are upset that their lives and beliefs are under assault by a resurgent, resilient, citronella candle-filled white supremacist movement, empowered by a White House that can’t call a racist a racist because #notallwhitepeople . . . please be quiet.”

Belton then explains that people of color have no interest in holding the hand of whites as they deal with all of this racism, because if they do, blacks will have to “teach you, understand you, cater to your feelings when it is people of color being beaten, misunderstood and whose feelings are treated indifferently.”

“It’s not about you. Or your feelings,” Belton continues, before talking about the “Neo-Nazi, Neo-Confederate, Ku Klux Klan-filled racist protest” in Charlottesville over the weekend which killed a 32-year-old white woman and injured at least 19 others.

“These racists have assembled to threaten us, to silence us, to hurt us and anyone else who defends our right to be human,” Belton writes. 

However, Belton isn’t here to coddle any white person claiming to be an ally:

If the biggest conclusion you drew from black people online being upset at violent, deadly racism was that they didn’t point out that some white people aren’t bad, that most white people are good, that you didn’t own slaves, that some of your best friends are black, that you just want to understand so why won’t these black people explain our history of oppression at the hands of white people to you, you are not helping. You are part of the problem.

If you hear black people and other people of color voicing their pain about racism, racists, systemic racism, racist protests and other injustices and interpret that as “But, but, but what about me? I’m good!” Are you really good? You just made a person’s murder by terrorism about you. You just made a man getting beaten by actual racists about you. You just made Trump’s refusal to say “White supremacists” about you. You hear someone shouting “OMG, these white racists and the assholes who voted them into power are terrible” and you wonder if they meant you. You think we should prioritize your delicate feelings over our loss, our pain and the actual death of a person.

You are so vain you think this movement is about you.

Seriously. What is wrong with you right now?

Check your privilege.

So, now it’s racist to say you’re not a racist. Got it.

Photo credit: JOE-3PO via / CC BY