This has been building up for a while, so forgive me if I get emphatic with my statements.
I usually think you're on point about a lot of things, and I've often pointed people in your direction about a breakdown of how racism works in a way that White people can understand (or, shall I say, are willing to listen to). I got a lot of love for you, Tim.
But right now you're fucking up.
What I think a few comments were getting at is the irony of POCs being forced to do for free what White people get paid to do - even though POCs, by virtue of being POCs in a White supremacist society - are more qualified to talk about it. Not to mention, the risks for us are greater than they are for any White person. I've been a queer Black woman in America for 30 years. I attended an HBCU. I'm writing a play right now that dramatizes what this is like for a real live human being. I've been told that I'm extremely intelligent, that I say a lot of things that need to be said in a few words, yet no one is paying me despite what it costs me to do this.
No one is arguing that the work White anti-racist activists are doing is worthless. But what I see is that the work of White anti-racist activists is treated as more valuable than anti-racist activists of color from the get-go. The problem is not that White anti-racist activists like you get paid to do your work. It's that POCs are expected to do the same shit for free. And I can't pretend that it doesn't piss me off. Even guests on Jerry Springer and Maury Povich get better treatment - at least they are financially compensated for destroying their own dignity.
Here I am - with all my intelligence, all my passion, all my creativity, all the people who "value my input" and "learned so much" from me about the same shit White anti-racists are talking about, all this that is so remarkable about me, all this that is worth so much - flat broke, unemployed and genuinely apprehensive about my immediate future. And I'm not the only one like me.
Believe me, that's bad enough. Yet your knee-jerk defensive responses to such critique are so predictable in their irony that I almost want to cry. Seriously, it's almost like you really want to say, "Aren't I doing enough for you people? What more do you people want from me?" You're so busy trotting out your anti-racism cred (really, you're not that far from "I read a book/took a class/asked my Black friends") that you don't see the irony of you making a career out of something POCs are expected to provide as a community service.
Why do I feel like I'm repeating myself? Oh yeah, because I am! What was that brilliant shit I said all them months ago?
What I was thinking is that there's nothing wrong with White anti-racist activists doing their thing. Nothing wrong at all because, as POCs already know, White people listen to other White people (at least when they're in the Completely Clueless phase).
But as I was saying to another blogger, it would be nice if these White luminaries would use their White privilege for good by providing opportunities for other POCs to rise to their level of prosperity.
It's not enough for a White activist to say that they got all their ideas from POCs. That's just being honest about stealing our shit and profiting from it. "I got some of my best stuff from these particular people of color. They are alive right now, and you can talk to them today." Or, better yet, "Everything you hear today has already been said by a person of color. As a matter of fact, they probably already told you what I'm going to tell you today, but you ignored them."
Put the money where the mouth is. Literally. What good is all the talk about anti-racist activism if the people getting most of the book deals, speaking engagements, and accolades are White? What good is all the talk about dismantling White supremacy when the anti-racism industry is dominated by White faces and White voices?
Anti-racism credentials are for shit if most people benefiting materially from it are White.
Does it make more sense now?