I was recently having a conversation with a few friends. I vaguely remember it starting with us wanting to arrange a get together at some weirdly named hetero-club that I had no actual intention of showing up to. Me and this guy, Tom*, were engaging in a back and forth banter which led to him saying “fuck off ya l*dy b*y” to me. Now, I consider myself very much a joker. When a friend wraps a Tesco bag around her waist, matches it with a white beret, and calls it “high-fashion”, I’m definitely the first one to laugh. However, if you’re going to come at me with an insult that’s transphobic and definitely racist, I will call that garbage out. I am not trans and I consider myself as cis. I feel that as cisgender people, we definitely have a massive responsibility to call out transphobic behaviours when we see them. So I called him out and immediately Timothy* was insulted. He was in a fit of rage, all of which came from me telling him to stop using Thai trans women as the butt of a joke.
He felt so tiny and backed into a corner. His main concern with me calling him out was that how could I, as someone who’s used ‘racist’ remarks against white people in the past than proceed to point out his overflowing white man diaper. Because of my “hypocritical behaviour” towards white people, I was no longer allowed to call someone out when they were being a messy human being. So let me say this for last time.
This oppressive definition of racism which you are applying to me and which a lot of white people apply to people of colour is flawed. It is impossible for people of colour to be racist to white people, at least in the UK or USA. Don’t bother going to the dictionary. Stop foaming steamed milk from your mouth and listen for a second. Let me explain something to you. The dictionary is way too white and flawed. The oppressive majority cannot define the treatment received by the oppressed minorities as that job is up to them alone. Even if you perceive yourself as being on the receiving end of that treatment as well. Especially when your voice within conversations of racism, that are triggered by their hardship, is only used to detract from their accounts of such. In other words, old white men cannot define what is considered as racist treatments towards POC. Racism goes beyond prejudiced behaviour, it is prejudice and power, I could call you a loaf of wonder bread but because there is no underlying inherent societal norm that is rewarding or perpetuating that behaviour in any real sense, it is not racist. There is no institutional system working against you to produce any tangible manifestation of oppression that is directly caused by you being a white person.
Do not confuse a response to racism as racism itself. Me telling a white person to stay in their lane and me saying that white boys are always grasping for straws during a discussion about race is not racist, it’s a reaction to racism. It’s a response to me being consistently told how to feel about racism directed towards me even when what I experience is very real and oppressive. I say it as a way of informing you that your opinions are invalid when talking about the experience of POC and racism towards such. In other words, if a bully punches someone and that person swats their hands back in retaliation, it is not them bullying back, it is them protecting themselves. Ultimately, any useful account of the situation can only come from placing emphasis on the experience of the victim.
When a generalisation is made about white heterosexual cis men, it is mostly made to critique your behaviours and this cannot be equated to generalisation made about POC. For example, a generalisation made about me is that I’m a feminine submissive Asian boy, that I’m here to eat all of your dogs and “Oh! Konnichiwa!”. My generalisation about you is about what you do to perpetuate this generalisation about ME. And also that you like to eat mayonnaise and the sun is out to get you. Both of these do not lead to any actions that disrupt your way of living beyond causing you to feel uncomfortable. White boys can carry on work as usual even if a few POC joke about them loving Supreme and bleached carbohydrates. Meanwhile, black boys and girls are consistently experiencing the full force of police brutality which is fuelled from remarks perpetuating the idea that black men and women are violent. I am not saying that white men should be denied opportunities or that all white people are evil and should be treated as such. This is obviously wrong and I have plenty of white friends and colleague whom I love and support. It’s more of me asking you to consider what goes into the generalisations made about people of different races and why not all of these statements are equal. Nor do they hold the same amount of power or have the same consequences.
And if you are thinking that this ‘white boy’ stereotype does not refer to you, then why are you so upset? I don’t say ‘some’ white people as that allows white people who are guilty of racism but feel as though they aren’t to completely disengage with racial discourse. No matter how much we try to purge ourselves to be woke, all of us are guilty of racial prejudice, and We need to be held accountable, especially those of us in a position of privilege where these racial prejudices manifest into racism. It is a point often made by you that I wouldn’t be able to handle my own medicine, that if you started saying racist and homophobic remarks about me I would simply melt into a pile of custard. The thing is, I can handle it. Because I’ve been handling it my entire life. Whereas you’re over there crying and threatening to behead me because I called you Mayo Fingers or because I said Vaseline is too spicy for you.
I know that my humorous disdain for white nonsense and this narrative that white people having a capital on weird shit aren’t actually true. I am aware of this, and so are my close white friends who understand what is at stake. So this is my final point to you, Jason*, people can change, I’ve changed and I want YOU to change. But don’t tell us to stop fighting fire with fire because we’re fighting it with delicious Siracha sauce, and if that makes you uncomfortable then you’re in for a hell long of a ride. *and Conrad, Connor, Tanner, Wyatt, Cody, Dustin, Luke, Jacob, Bradley, Scott, Lucas, Garrett, Dylan, Maxwell, Hunter, Brett, Colin, Ben, Max, Marc, Henry, Harry, Charlie, Freddie, Nathan, Erik, Thomas, Oscar, Samuel, Rory, Roy, Robert, Richard, and any other variations of white boy sounding names, to be honest. I know that not all white boys have these names and not all boys with these names are white but read the text above, yeah?