Ugh, another editorial about racism on the front page

Photo by Tyler Meuter

If your response to the title of my editorial is the title of my editorial, this one’s for you. Let’s clear some things up first, though.

I have been the target of actual racism a nonzero number of times. As evidenced by the “Opinions”  above, this is an opinion piece; it does not need your approval to be published. In fact, as Managing Editor, I can do whatever I want. The previous sentence is an example of sarcasm, a rhetorical device that I utilize. If it was not obvious that it was sarcasm, it’s because I was actually serious about that.

I did an informal survey after my previous editorial about racism on the front page. Every minority or person who knows me well thought it was hilarious and accurate. Seemingly everyone else took it incredibly seriously, with a hint otherwise. Small sample size aside, I call this a success as those who enjoyed it reflect my target audience: myself, a minority who knows me pretty well.

Narrowing the scope of my writing to a specific audience doesn’t mean it can’t be appreciated by others. In fact, I feel that having targeted, focused writing is better appreciated than something that tries to appeal to everyone.  It’s also easier to write.

Perhaps without loss of generality, minorities understand my tone better since they’ve likely struggled through similar issues throughout their lives. Sorry, that was an argumentum ad populum, something from logical fallacies dot com that invalidates everything else I’m about to say. Anyway, back to calling out white people.

It’s cool that some of you won’t confront your privilege. According to author Daniel José Older, that’s step one in confronting your privilege: denial. What follows are awkwardness, overcompensation, self-awareness, and action and accountability. I’ve seen this process unfold before, and it is something you have to actively engage with. For the first time in your life, your opinion is not as important as you think it is. For the first time, some peasant’s drivel matters more than Your Royal Decree.

Some people cannot come to terms with this insolence and resort to inserting their opinions where they aren’t asked for. This has happened a countably infinite number of times on Black Twitter, a refuge from (White) Twitter. Someone calls out white privilege/the patriarchy/video games/Bernie Sanders; a murder of white men flock to the comment and lead off harassing responses with “Well, actually … ” They get blocked; they get mad; they do it again. Who has the free time to do this? Who has the patience to deal with this?

The opinions of minorities are regularly shut out, but God forbid someone ignore a white man’s point of view. Yes, it is within the realm of possibility that a white man can have an opinion and it not be complete trash. But the condescending tone, the attitude, the need to be heard by suppressing others’ voices: maybe that’s the problem.

If you think your uninformed opinion needs to be heard, maybe it doesn’t. If you’re citing the dictionary to disprove someone’s use of a word, maybe look up “connotation” while you’re at it. If you’re about to say an intentionally racist, sexist, anything-ist “joke,” maybe you’re not funny. If you’re drowning out the opinion of the only non-white-male around, maybe shut up.

As the group who benefits the most from affirmative action and diversity efforts, white women are not exempt from this editorial. I often see white women try to compare which minority has it worse, people of color or women. I have two issues with this: why must you compare everything?, and black women exist. The latter always comes as a delayed shock, a sonic boom of realization that Venn diagrams have a part in the middle where they intersect. If all you do is dump on people of color, it’s no wonder diversity efforts favor you.

White feminism proponents also claim they’re “colorblind” and accepting of all races. Being colorblind to race isn’t progressive; it’s racist. Each of us has a unique identity, and you want to cover them all with white-out. Is it actually difficult to be accepting of everyone without pretending they’re white on the inside? Sorry, being a minority makes me too privileged to see how hard it is to be a decent human being.

Since companies are treated as white men, let’s call them out too. No one wants to join your company when your job posting is white dudebros. Even fewer will want to be interviewed when they find out the one minority working for you feels excluded.

Diversity is step one. Inclusiveness and belonging are step two. Diversity is more of a quota, something you’re pressured into doing to save face. On the other hand, inclusiveness requires more active effort. It requires you to change your attitude, your culture, your incessant racist jokes. It’s also more important and begets diversity. I don’t think Pablo “Secret Weapon” Sanchez would have hit a home run every at-bat if his team hated that he was there.

So, please, face your privilege and be considerate of others. Someone will thank you one day for the effort you put into making their lives less miserable. I think it’s worth it to be a better person if it makes the lives of those around you a little better, although, of course, this opinion comes from a person who only stands to benefit from this course of action. You got me; my motives are entirely selfish. Maybe next time, we’ll have an editorial from the other perspective, a whiny tirade supporting white supremacy that I’m nearly positive will cite the dictionary despite my saying otherwise. Then again, as Managing Editor, I don’t have to publish it.

I wrote this because I’m forced to write several editorials per semester. However, I chose this topic because I was reminded that I’m in a unique position. At least one person reads the newspaper and my stories, and I can write about whatever I choose to in an editorial. Representation matters, and I can amplify the voice of the underrepresented on the front page, though at this point, we’re probably on page eight or something.

At first, I wanted to write about something uncontroversial, like why I don’t appreciate it when people hate on me for disliking guacamole. But Aeolus gave me a second wind, a mighty zephyr of minorities’ exasperated sighs. This westerly gust billowed my sails as I embarked on — never mind, I’m starting to hate this metaphor now. The end. Thanks for reading.