Black Women's Improvement Project (BWIP)

On Why Your Ethnicity Doesn’t Automatically Make You “Right”

If you don’t already know this, there is a factoid I would like to share with you: You don’t get to tell other people what to do with their thoughts and feelings just because you happen to have something in common. That thing in common may be that you share the same ethnic group or are also an ethnic minority. Whatever it is, that small item does not entitle you to step on a soapbox and speak for all “persons of color, no matter their shade, language, culture and situation in life.”

You would think this is common sense, but in my internet travels, particularly where heated topics relating to race and colorism are brought up, I have found a number of persons who in all honesty believe that prefacing their ridiculously offensive arguments as “speaking as a PoC (person of color”) or “I’m black/bi-racial”, etc. translates to something other than “Hi, I am not white, so that totally excuses the stupidity you are about to read”. The thing is no, no it doesn’t.

Being of a certain ethnic background does not protect your opinion from being seen as the absolute hogwash that it is. It is not a shield against valid criticism. It is not something that absolutely refutes what is being argued about.

There are some people who think being “not white” grants them magical abilities like telling other persons who are “not white” how to think and feel about a subject, when they are overreacting, what tone is appropriate, etc.

This is especially disturbing when people are discussing topics that are undeniably problematic, such as blatant white-washing, shadism, and out right racism. Just because YOU elect to not be offended or have no problem enabling or upholding bigotry and racial/shade privilege does not mean you get to tell other people what to do with their time, feelings, and thoughts on the matter. You are not merely “speaking as a person of color”; you are speaking as a person who is clearly ignorant as to why these attitudes and behaviors are hurtful, harmful and need to go away.

Refusing to allow a conversation to take place is not a sign of being a well-traveled enlightened non-white person. It is instead a sign that your head may be located some place other than on top of your shoulders…

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