Stop Sacrificing Your Blackness for White Approval
Black people, I’m talking to you. All you “It’s not a Black people thing” when you’re kicked out of Starbucks” Black people. You “let’s get both sides” after the police murder yet another Black person motherfuckers. You fucking “slavery was a choice” assholes. You constantly inviting white people to the cookout Black folks. I’m talking to the Black people who stay throwing themselves on a grenade to save whiteness. Stop it. Stop it now.
Stop protecting their feelings. Stop drying their tears. Stop covering for their fuckups. Stop promoting their insults they claim is comedy. Stop shielding them from their lies. And stop fucking making them the fucking exception when it comes to their anti-Black, racist bullshit. They are not the exception. There are no exceptions. If they are white, they are racist. If they are white, they actively benefit from racist policies, housing laws, law enforcement…they have systemic power over your Black ass and will use it the moment they feel you might think you’re equal to them. They can, will, and DO use you. Own that shit. Take a pause. Take a breath. Think about it. Let that sink in and then make a fucking plan about what you’re going to do about it. You can work to eliminate it, exploit it, even make them work for every fucking privilege they have around you but damnit, stop lying to yourself about it. Stop telling yourself that this one is fucking special or different cuz they aren’t. They are white and they benefit from white supremacy. Their ancestors ensured that the least they need to do is conform to ensure they continue benefiting from it. They can’t opt out of that benefit and at best they can use it to benefit those oppressed by it. But you better believe they fucking take advantage of it cuz it makes them feel “safe.” No exceptions.
My significant other (S.O.) doesn’t get an exception and at various times I find myself fighting the urge to act as sword and shield for his white ass, so I’m not exempt from criticism. There are times where he fully benefits from my ambition and drive, characteristics that have been shaped and honed by this shit society that’s taught me to constantly have a plan B. Many of the things we’ve accomplished are because I don’t know when to quit, and on more than one occasion he’d counted on me to fix some shit he fucked up…cuz that’s what survivors do. We learn how to work with and around systems to survive. But my S.O. hasn’t had to do that and he directly benefits from these skills I’ve developed because I’ve had to. And sometimes we butt heads because I won’t use my power to save him from himself. He’s gotta step up and fix his own shit. I’m not free labor for him to use just cuz we’re married and that’s some shit he keeps needing to re-learn.
The free labor mind fuck isn’t new. I see Black people stepping in as shields for whiteness all the damn time. Every time I questioned my S.O.’s racism, they defended him. They told me that he wouldn’t be with me if he was racist (they were wrong). They said that I shouldn’t talk about racism cuz it might upset him (he’s learned to hear, heal, and deal). They said I should be more considerate of his feelings in my writing (he has the opportunity to read and discuss everything I write before I publish it…doesn’t mean I’ll change shit, but we can talk about it). They said that I should try to have a relationship with his racist ass parents (fuck no). They told me he might leave me if I didn’t stop (okay). They tried to scare me into compliance and when they failed, they tried to shame me into it.
What they didn’t understand was that I’d decided to fight whiteness and white supremacy in my life. It happened during my relationship, kind of a side effect from the apathy and disinterest I experienced from these white people with whom I suddenly shared personal space. Seeing just how much white people didn’t give a fuck about their legacy of genocide and violence, watching them accept the benefits as their due, ignited something in me. I had to stop lying to myself about who and what they chose to be, and I stopped letting them lie to me about it.
Since then, the hemorrhaging of friendships has been constant, and my tolerance of these sacrificial negroes has diminished. I watch the Black people in my life twist themselves into unsustainable forms, contorting themselves doing emotional and mental gymnastics to convince themselves that some white people, their white people, are different…better. I watch them rise to the defense of whiteness time and time again, protecting white people from the harm they inflict, helping them maintain the delusion that there is something inherently good about them — some goodness they don’t have to work for or prove, that should just be understood because they are white.
But the benevolence of whiteness is a lie. The white savior history they promote is a lie. Their humanity is a centuries long spin doctoring of truth, so far from reality that any ripple in that image results in horrific violence against those who dare to utter it. That any people could enact the global harm whiteness has done by putting a chokehold on the creations, contributions, and innovations of other cultures only to absorb them into their own, all the while murdering those they robbed while painting their violence as heroism…
I’m not sure the vocabulary exists that can encompass the amorality, violence, and disrespect for life embraced and entwined into whiteness. It is a moral vacuum that has poisoned itself for generations past and for generations to come. The savagery with which whiteness maintained its artificial superiority is legendary in its inhumanity, and every attempt to excuse, justify, or explain these atrocities as “human nature” is an affront to all those victimized by it. And if you support it, you’re a piece of filth, too.
Every single time you try to excuse whiteness, you only succeed in protecting the liars from their lies. You enable them and the suffering they cause. And you hurt yourself in the process…you fold yourself into the monster in whiteness’ pocket every time you fight to maintain a relationship built in generational lies. You diminish who you are and everything you can be just to maintain a toxic relationship with someone who’s using and consuming you. You want to cuddle up with a liar because they made a world where liars and thieves, rapists, molesters, and murderers thrive as they continue to exploit those they’ve intentionally rendered powerless and feast among their corpses. Can you smell the rot yet? Cuz it’s on you and everything you say you stand for. You aren’t even powerful enough to be the monster. You’re the carcass upon which it feeds, poisoning all those around you and making them carrion, too.
And you choose this role for the illusion of power and access you believe it gives you. You choose this, rather than risk being ostracized by those who feed on you. And you tell yourself it’s fine. That what you gain, be it friendship, money, visibility, opportunities, will be worth it. And you lie and lie and lie telling yourself that these are your friends rather than users who are empowered by the many ways you betray yourself for their approval. These people who have no interest in changing a motherfucking thing.
Because they need your subjugation, regardless how small. They need the power they feel when you prostrate your humanity for them. Not only do the need it, they like it. Your white friend likes the power boost they receive from racism and anti-Blackness, and they are not interested in dismantling a system of power that aids them. The fear that stops them from speaking up is the fear of the loss of power and access that happens when you align with Blackness; not the fear of being a monster, but of losing the power of their monstrousness. Instead, they spend their energy pushing you to conform for their comfort. They’ll seek to change your language and how you speak and resist whiteness, rather than admit that they ain’t shit.
Your white friends are trash and you are trash by association.
One day you’ll learn that these folks who demand you change your words, your tone, your attitude, your anger, your outrage, and your humanity to coddle them aren’t your friends. You’ll learn that you have been and always will be a tool for them — a prop they used to show they were “different” or “progressive.” The day you seek actual change, you’ll learn exactly how little you mean to them. The day you demand accountability instead of rationales and excuses, you’ll learn just how much they don’t think you deserve a fucking thing. And the Black folks who traded their self-respect and well-being to sit in that cesspool next to you will leave you twisting in the wind because whiteness is their preferred drug and you don’t have any for them.
But don’t worry. They’ll find you when they finally realize that their Blackness is only as valued as its usefulness to whiteness and that we all get sidelined the moment we fight for the humanity they don’t think we embody.
I want you to know that you are better than that. You can be better than that. You do not have to wait for them to discard you for you to walk away. That’s just what they want you to think…that you need them more than they need you. And the day you embrace this about yourself will be bittersweet, because white tears are a confection that burns you as you drink them, but the pain is a salve to the self-inflicted wounds you gained while sitting at the feet of the heinous culture whiteness has spawned. Because whiteness is a crime against humanity that has yet to pay its due. And your job in our fight to build a better tomorrow is to stop hiding whiteness’ bullshit behind your beautiful brown skin and to leave it flaming in your freshly woke wake. Let it suffocate in the ruin it created as you move towards a better, brighter day. You are worthy of that gift to yourself. Fuck them hoes and get free.
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Originally published at talynnkel.com.