Whitey Don’t “See” Race

Really, cracker? How does that work, exactly?

You don’t see a white-faced honky looking back at you when you’re looking in the mirror? How’s that working out for you?

That’s an awfully convenient position to adopt—one which, I assure you, you would most certainly drop like a deuce the instant you hear the word “redneck” or “hillbilly” hurled at you, because “that’s racist“.

I bet you also don’t “see” a lot of visibly racialized people anywhere in your day-to-day life. Either in your family photo albums, in your bed linens, in your extended social circles, in your streets, or even in the giving of public service to you. But that’s not “racist”, right? Like, it’s not even evidence to suggest that there’s something race-ish going on, right? It’s just a “funny” sort of “coincidence” that they never seem to be around you.

I also bet you don’t “see” all the pavement, asphalt, bridges, rail roads, office towers, pipelines, telephone poles, staircases, escalators, trains, auto-mobiles, city lights, patio bars, prisons, and white picket fences erected between you and your mother the Earth, all over the continent of North America—century-old evidence of broken treaties; stolen lands; and biological weaponry including smallpox, influenza, and tuberculosis—all used to clear the “Indians” out of the way so that you could be spared the sight of them in your brand new “civilized” society.

I also bet you don’t “see” the words “slave labour” next to words like “Black” or “Chinese” when you’re looking into the history of the “civilization” of North America. I’m going out on a limb here, but maybe you also don’t “see” words like “Japanese internment” or “trans-Atlantic slave trade”? Maybe when you look at a world map, you don’t even “see” continents other than Europe and North America, for all I know, but just sort of accept that other people believe they exist, the same way that many people just accept that other people believe God(s) exist.

I bet you also don’t “see” the brown-skinned people who made your computers in some far-away land, out of sight and long ago out of mind before you were chatting up the sales clerk at Best Buy to try and get a little share of his staff discount. I bet you don’t see the brown-skinned children of those brown-skinned parents, sewing your brand name Redneck Honky shoes and Hillbilly Cracker clothes on industrial machines in sweat shops, instead of going to school.

I bet you also don’t “see” what’s remarkable about President Obama sitting in the exact same bus seat Rosa Parks refused to get back out of, 50 years later to the very day.

I bet you haven’t “seen” the rapid escalation of racial profiling, racial intolerance, and racial minstrelry towards Muslims of colour and several South Asian ethnic groups (who are, coincidentally, of completely different religious affiliations and generally of completely distinguished ethnicities as well), since the early 90s—but especially since 2001—even recently escalating to the point that in a racist tirade on national television in the UK about a month ago, British Defence Secretary Phillip Hammond repeatedly referred to President Assad (president of Syria) as Saddam Hussein (former president of Iraq, but more notably, deceased five fucking years ago) without anyone stopping to correct him even once.

Oh. You didn’t catch wind of that? You don’t say...

I bet I could count on you to not “see” how Black feminism is distinguished from mainstream feminism, even if the bare minimum effort you applied to investigate this was to look up #solidarityisforwhitewomen on Twitter, rather than read volumes of essays and books written by Black women about the same subject matter—starting with women’s suffrage a hundred years ago, which won the vote for white women but not for even one of the Black women who were at their beckon call; repeating again with women earning the right to enter the workforce during and after WWII, even though a vast majority of women of colour had already been in the work force serving white women for centuries; and repeating again and again and again with every major turning point of mainstream feminism since the “invention” of oral contraceptive (by a white guy, I’m sure, who completely ignored how women of colour the world over have been in full control of their own fertility since time immemorial).

Is your hearing as selective as your sight? Do you also just “hear” a conspicuous silence or perhaps even an unexplained high-pitch tone whenever everyone else hears the hurling of racial slurs—each rooted in a long history, tied to the colonization of every continent other than Europe? Do you “hear” English when you’re watching a film in any other language?

I would guess you also didn’t “see” the Black women Miley Cyrus was pretending to give rim jobs to in between giving them spankings on stage at the Video Music Awards this year. And I suppose you didn’t take notice of the Japanese “Harajuku girls” conspicuously appearing as unnamed, unexplained, silent, constantly smiling props throughout Gwen Stefani’s music career and various public appearances. For several years.

Granted (but not really fucking granted at all), Miley Cyrus’s sexually objectified Black women were wearing oversized teddy bear heads and Gwen Stefani’s Japanese women were referred to by Stefani herself, on national television, as her “imaginary friends”, as if they weren’t even present in the same room with her at the time, even though they were. How were you supposed to know anything “racist” was happening?

I bet you also don’t “see” the difference in how white women report the nature of sexual harassment they’ve experienced (i.e., “dressed like a slut”) when compared to how women of colour report the nature of sexual harassment they’ve experienced (i.e., “slutty” simply for existing as a visibly racialized woman).

But I guess I’d have to first be counting on you to acknowledge at all that women of colour are several times more likely to experience sexual assault, rape, sexual abuse, and domestic violence than white women; and that even among women who share the same kinds of experiences, it’s women of colour who experience an enormously escalated quality of associated violence in relation to every event they have in common with white women.

Have I listed enough reasons off the top of my head that any Whitey who don’t “see” race ought to “see” a very real problem with that standpoint?

Believe me when I say that when a Whitey says they don’t “see” race, all I “see” is a redneck fuckin’ hillbilly cracker full of shit.

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