I went to a talk about integration in America witnh the author of Some of My Best Friends Are Black and the director of the documentary The Prep School Negro. I was mostly there to see the latter, because I wrote a review of the movie and his events in NYC never match up with times that I’m free. So I just wanted to finally introduce myself since he seemed like a very cool dude (and he was!), and I honestly wasn’t expecting all that much from the discussion.
A discussion about integration and socialised racism as seen through the eyes of a white dude. No thank you >.>
It went pretty much as expected. I learned some stuff and names I hadn’t heard before, but then they started discussing the author’s views on the term White Privilege and it kind off all went down from there. It boiled down to, he doesn’t think it should be used because poor white people don’t have as much privilege as we think they do, and the term itself makes white people uncomfortable, therefore shutting down productive discussions about race between blacks and whites.
He actually said that, “a group of Black Students sitting at an HBCU discussing racism using this term is just a way of turning Whites into an ‘other’, the as white people have done to POCs.”
Thanks. You tried. But no.
Anyway. Got to the Q&A and white people started getting up to express their opinions. The first question set the tone:
“When you go to hockey games, you only see white people, and when you go to basketball games you only see black people. It’s the same with broadway shows and rap concerts. When you see feild trips at the Met, all the groups of white children are in private school uniforms, and all the groups of black children are with public schools. Maybe we’re not segregated, we just choose not to be together because we like different things.”
Another white lady gets up and asks:
“Sometimes I feel like we’re creating problems for ourselves out of nothing. For instance, everyone’s making a big deal out of the politcian who dressed up as a sports star for pruim because he painted his face. My daughter painted her face green because she was the witch from Wicked and I took her to synagogue and no one cared. We’re just creating problems for ourselves instead of working for peace!”
Next white lady gets up and barks out:
“THERE ARE NO BLACK US SENATORS!!! NONE!!!! AND SO MANY FEWER HOUSE MEMBERS. HOW ARE YOU GOING TO FIX THIS?! HOW DOES THIS MAKE YOU FEEL?!”
That white lady was the worst, because she kept standing when no one could really answer her question because it was just awkward by that point. And then she resurfaced later when I was outside after everything was over.
I was introducing myself to the director and we were chatting (he liked my review and apparently it helped him book some workshops at schools with admins who heard about the doc via Racialicious. Woo!) when the same woman walks up to us and grabs him and is like, “YOU DIDN’T ANSWER MY QUESTION!!” and starts ranting and raving about the House again.
It was so awk, and he was obviously uncomfortable since she was, you know, assaulting him. And we both just kind of stood there silently until she gave up and went away. We were on the 6th floor of the midtown NYPL, but I took the stairs to avoid being trapped on an elevator with her or anyone else.
idk idk. Tonight was just some interesting insight into white people and race.