I was cruising around social media on New Year’s Day and throughout all the lovely end of year tributes and proclamations for 2020. During my scroll-fest, I kept stumbling upon posts by white folks seeking counsel on how to deal with racist family members. Not all the posts were adoption related; some dealt with awkward family moments during the holiday dinner and others dealt with business folks who were dealing with racist clients or colleagues.
For some, the revelation that their friends/family/colleagues were racist AF was not new. They had long known that these individuals in their lives had trash ideas about folks who are not White. It had only recently become an issue that needed “dealing with” when they announced something monumental like an adoption, an engagement or a new client or job. In other words, these posters *knew* and either giggled along at the racist jokes/commentary or sat silently when the behaviors were occurring. In either case, the information was not shocking; it was only shocking that somehow the racism was directed at them as proxy for their child/partner/client/colleague.
For other folks, these revelations were new; allegedly (heavy on the emphasis here) there was no previous evidence of being racist. For them, this new knowledge was shocking and triggered a spin into cognitive dissonance as they wondered whether Uncle Jim was always an arsehole (I guarantee you he was).
All of the posts sought counsel on how to navigate this new knowledge which I find to be just…sigh…sooooo privileged. We really need a book, “How to be friends/family/colleagues with a racist without personal moral and emotional quagmires.”
Sigh. I swear this is exhausting.
Listen, racists are going to be racist. It’s what they do. Racists are as predictable as the sun rising and setting.
Grandma got racist during this administration? Nah, grandma got bold during this administration; trust, she was racist long before this administration came into power.
You are floored that your parents don’t want a black grandbaby…I’m guessing they have that one or two “acceptable black friends” that have never received an invitation to their home in 40+ years.
As a Black woman, I’m always more shocked by the folks who are shocked that they now “see racists.”
I’ve never had that luxury. I had to learn to spot them early in order to just live. Honestly, spotting them is not hard; they typically are more than happy to reveal themselves. And if you miss the first hint, don’t worry, they will predictably show themselves again.
So, when White folks are *gasp* stunned to find that friends/family/colleagues are racist, I’m usually like really? You didn’t know? How did you not know? And now you want to know how to deal? What does that even mean?
Does it mean that you are trying to deradicalize them?
Does it mean that you want to find a way of not banishing them out of your life?
Does it mean that you want your would-be Black/brown child to still be able to have a relationship with these folks because #friendsandfamilyareeverything?
Does it mean that you need an exit strategy before you straight up ghost them?
What does “deal with” mean?
Let me tell you something: I don’t deal with racists.
I do diversity work professionally. Once I peep the racist, I’m cordial but frozen tundra frigid, not just chilly. If they are in my workshop, I’ll include them, I’ll make sure they don’t derail the program for everyone else, and I’ll also ice them with a quickness if necessary. And I get paid to deal with this stuff, and I just refuse to give them more than a passing professional thought once I’ve peeped them.
But let me run up on a racist outside of work….
I have zero time or tolerance. If I address them at all it will be with enough smoke to hide a major metropolitan city.
Here’s what I’m not going to do: I’m not going to spend any time with them. I’m not bring my kid around them. I’m going to let my friends/family/colleagues know that that person is not safe to be around. I treat them like a biblical leper. #canceled #mymoodforever
So all of this handwringing over racists…why?
Because exacto-blading racist friends/family/colleagues is hard? Yeah, so is being Black living in a world committed to racism and white supremacy. So, yeah, I’m sure it is hard for folks to cancel these people, but the alternative is what…subjecting yourself and your kids to a bunch of rancid foolery?
How Sway, how????
That’s going to be a hard no from me, and I ain’t posting a response to your ridiculous inquiry. #IsaidwhatIsaid
Every day, I read comments made by foster and adoptive parents raging about the deficiencies of biological parents. While some hope these parents get it together to be able to parent or have an open adoption, more than a few advocate zero contact at all. None. And while in some specific instances this might be warranted for safety reasons, folks are out here trying to rationalize hanging out with racists?
This is what we are doing in the year of our good Beyonce 2020?
Come on, people. #dobetter
If grandma was a pedophile this wouldn’t even be an issue. Trust that exposure to racism is damaging, and it’s not just damaging to kids, it’s damaging to everyone. I can’t even believe this needs to be said.
Kick these folks to the curb, full stop. Protect your kids and protect yourself. Stop making excuses and space for this kinda radical behavior. Let them know why you are cancelling them; let them know that it is a consequence of bad behavior. Let them know that reinstatement will only be considered after a presentation of sufficient evidence of changed hearts and minds over a sustained period of time, and that they could still be cancelled at any time.
And then walk away.
Dassit. Walk. Stroll. Strut. Roll out.
Stop trying to make a way for racists. Stop it.
Stop trying to rationalize; stop trying to be nice; stop trying to be understanding. Have some principles and be out.
Friends/family/colleagues don’t let friends/family/colleagues hang out with racists.
Just stop it, and go pick up a copy of Ibram X. Kendi’s book, How to be an Antiracist.