1. “Not everything is about race.” or “Stop making everything about race.”
How convenient. After centuries of methodical oppression, marginalization, overt structural racism, and its lasting effect in the form of subtle structural racism, microaggressions, etc., you want to ignore the after-effects on a certain segment of the population. Not only that, you wish to negate their experience in the world which like it or not was constructed at least in part by race. To whose benefit do you think that would be? Also, how stupid do you think we are? Yeah, sorry, no.
2. “Get over it”
Here’s the deal: I’ll get over it when it stops being a cause for concern for the well-being, safety, security, achievements, and general construction of reality of people who look like me. Also when I don’t have to worry about how I may have to explain this reality to younger boys and girls, and potential future children, then I will get over it.
3. “But Asians are doing so well, and they are a minority.”
Having studied in-depth the myth of the “model minority,” I really wish these lies would vanish from society. First of all, to classify all Asians together is a terrible mistake many people make, and some groups of Asians are indeed more successful than others. With that being said, the model minority often discounts the different and multiple histories that people within this race category are coming from, and pits it against other POCs in other categories, who do not share the same history. Finally, oftentimes in matters of education and employment especially Asians (like most other POCs) have to especially outshine their White counterparts in order to be successful.
4. “You know Black (or African) people started slavery right?”
What do people learn in history classes because this is incredible and manipulative misinformation? America really needs to start owning up to the difference between chattel slavery and indentured servitude. And to be honest, this just makes one sound like they’re trying to cop-out of reality. The fact is slavery has existed since the dawn of days but what took place across racially across the Atlantic was a nightmare. Not to mention that many slaves were not simply “sold” in the same way they had been transported between African tribes. Additionally, they were also kidnapped and captured. I know history is written by the victors but this is ridiculous.
5. “But if you don’t teach me to be better, how will I know?”
Now because I actually do teach, this doesn’t particularly apply to me. Still, I want to address this. It’s not any POCs job to teach other people (including other POCs), how to treat him or her as a human being in their own skin. It is your job to learn how to do so. As one Ebony writer suggests specifically referring specifically to the Black/White binary, “Why are Black people expected to play the role of both patient and doctor when dealing with the disease of racism?” I honestly could not have put it better.
6. “Why do you hate White people?”
Yes, because asking to be treated fairly in society without having to carry a double consciousness with you everywhere you go is akin to hating White people. I honestly don’t have even have time for this question anymore. But it is amazing to me that even the idea of a loss in the privileges White people have so as to not dehumanize POCs in a system is seen as “hatred.”
7. “But reverse racism….”
Ugh. Stop. Look, POCS are racist, usually towards other POCs. Because in a system designed to be anti-POC, we’re bound to participate in the madness and it is heavy work to make sure that we aren’t, daily. And yes, everyone can be an individual prejudice prick but how much political, social, and economic power do POCs have? Not a whole lot. That is the reality. But if for some reason, you have a problem still understanding this, Aamer Rahman, an Australian comedian, explains it best in his “reverse racism” skit.
8. “You are the one seeing color. You are the racist!”
Yes, calling a spade a spade is racism. We are the ones who notice the amount of melanin in people’s skin color and realize that it makes a difference in their experience of the world. We are the ones that know not only through personal experience but observation, data, and research that consistently and cohesively points out to inequalities in education, health, housing, employment, and treatment in everyday life, because of race, and therefore calls it what it is – RACISM. SO, OF COURSE WE ARE THE “REAL RACISTS.” (Eye-rolls for endless days.)
9. 99% of the statements that begin with, “Not all White People…”
First of all, almost every single POC knows that. Seriously, just take it for granted that we know that. Second of all, it doesn’t matter that not all White people do “X.” Clearly, enough do it to be a real problem. And look, nobody ever said racism was intentional; in fact a lot of today’s racism is not, which some argue make it even more dangerous. But maybe if you open your ears, and try to at least listen to the experience a whole category of people are talking about, maybe you’ll realize they are not crazy. And maybe it’s worth self-evaluating if and how you make things worse, and how you can make things better.