It’s not enough to do the bare minimum. Staying ahead and always thinking of the endgame is the norm for nonwhite people. Staying ahead of things (finances, work opportunities, health, safety and education, for example) helps to ensure that we are secure in these areas. For some of us, this is literally the difference between life and death. For weeks now, I haven’t been writing because I start and then get angry about whatever topic I’m writing about. I work in a setting where we handle real-life issues, and it’s irritating to look on Instagram on a break or when I come home and see trivial-ass mess from people who are taking themselves too seriously all in the name of hustling backwards.
If you’ve been paying attention, you might have seen that MadelineTosh posted about their “Inclusive” colorway, and others, to Instagram. Part of the caption that stuck with me wasn’t the emptiness of the post. Their post wasn’t the first, nor will it be the last, where my eyes glaze over and skip past the “I’ve never intended to hurt anyone…we’re all equal…I love everyone…I’m all about respect and equality”. What got to me was when it referenced a health diagnosis that was difficult for them, which kept them from responding sooner to their base. They also mentioned that the health reference was not made to gain sympathy, but to offer explanation.
I do not want to be so callous as to ever think that someone is lying about a health diagnosis. Never. Additionally, we all handle things differently, and someone’s mountain can be someone else’s molehill, and vice versa. However, when someone commented that what MT posted was not enough/inadequate, the response from MT’s base was telling. MT’s people replied, implying that this person was acting inappropriately & disrespectfully for…what? For not accepting the numb platitudes offered? It wasn’t too far down to scroll before I saw more supporting messages from MT’s base. I keep saying “base” because when you have people defending you, even when you’re attempting to apologize (however ineffective) to marginalized groups, they are your people. They will support you regardless. While this might sound good, it’s not. These are people who only want your yarn and will do whatever it takes to keep getting it, even if that means using cognitive dissonance, or just plain old racism, to make sure that you stay in business.
What needs to be done, what should have been done, was to think about how that statement would read & how it would be taken. How would your base take it? Would they use it for intents and purposes that you did not want? That’s how you stay ahead. While people are thinking one and maybe two steps farther, you need to have “checkmate” in mind.
That is what marginalized people have to do ALL THE TIME.
Right now, I’m typing and thinking, “Ok, if I say this, someone might take it this way. Lemme word it this way instead.” Imagine having to do that for every waking hour of your life that you encounter other people. You think I’m exaggerating? To that I say, “Oh young dove, you have much to learn.” If someone is problematic at work or some other setting with a measurable amount of socializing, marginalized people have to make sure that we document things that set off our internal alarm. We do this in case something comes up because we know that, somehow, we’ll be the first ones called on the carpet to explain how a situation came about. If/when we do speak up, that could result in us and/or colleagues being attacked and threatened.
This is another tactic used to keep people silent and afraid of staying ahead of things. If you can make someone afraid to speak up, that’s half the battle. With marginalized people, it’s almost the whole battle. You’d think the #metoo movement would’ve made more people see how they might be keeping others silent, and the damage it causes, but here we are. You can keep people from speaking out against your harmful ways if you threaten them with lawsuits, restraining orders, unemployment (which can lead to eviction, loss of healthcare/insurance, stock loss, lack of education opportunities, etc. If you can’t make money, you can’t buy necessities.
I’m not down for organizing boycotts. I’m just going to let your record speak for itself and let people decide what they want to do. Clearly, MT still has support and people who value yarn over other things and will separate their hobby from any form of social responsibility. Cool. Until it’s shown that they’ve learned, I’m not f**kin’ with them like that. Between the “Inclusive” colorway and the poor attempt at women’s solidarity with the pink yarn post a while back, I’m over it. (I saw more pink pussy hats on white women anyway.)
White women & men have the privilege of acting juvenile, or “carefree” and/or “quirky” as it’s also been called. If they make a mistake, it’s just that they didn’t know, honest!
If I act young or juvenile, I get called everything but a child of God. I cannot afford to act immature or even my age (whatever that means). That’s a whole message right there. Nonwhite women can’t be too young or immature, or too old or condescending, or too much or not enough of anything. Beyoncé starved herself and rehearsed for hours for days for her Coachella performance, and people still criticized her, saying that she was trying too hard. WHAT IN THE WHAT?!? Let Taylor Swift or Ariana Grande do that, and they’ll turn them into walking saints and goddesses. This another reason why nonwhite women sometimes seem older than we are. We have to be. We just have to be more mature and knowledgeable to prosper, and then still get vilified if we choose to not be scapegoats for someone else’s mediocrity.
Mediocré, a fragrance by White Supremacy.
- Homecoming: the Live Album, Beyoncé, specifically the Black national anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing”, “Formation”, and “Freedom”
- Cuz I Love You, Lizzo, specifically “Juice” and “Soulmate”