what color is hate?
Last night’s terrible Onion tweet about Quvenzhane Wallis, the beautiful actress nominated for her performance in Beasts of the Southern Wild, has stirred mass amounts of social media uproar. Rightly so. We should all be outraged that such vile things could be said about ANY female, but particularly about a NINE year old girl, in such a public, unwarranted way.
I engaged in one facebook post summarizing tweets from a white man who had basically told a woman of color to ‘get over it’ – that “Women have rights now. Black people too.” Comments that were meant to shut down the other participant, without an ounce of dignity or self-reflection.
It is exactly these kinds of remarks that perpetuate racism and hatred in this country. My contribution to the dialogue was just that – that I was appalled almost as much by his remarks as I was by the original hate-filled tweet. The conversation though, quickly turned to ‘those white people’ that cause harm and don’t see their white privilege. (I should make clear that the facebook post was not WITH the man who made the above comments, but was rather a summary of what had transpired via twitter.)
As someone who tries – maybe not always successfully but certainly wholeheartedly – to examine the ways I/we/white people perpetuate racial divides in this country, and do my best to own up to my behaviors and change them, I felt almost physically sick being lumped into the same category as this incredibly racist, misogynistic man they were speaking about.
I have always shied away from joining these sorts of conversations in the past. It’s cowardly. I see this now, or at least am beginning to – that my inability to speak up/out/against acts of injustice and ignorance add to it, if only by omission. I’m a bit less scared of my own voice today. But still, I have much work to do.
I find myself wondering tonight, if the plight for love, unity, respect… can simultaneously cherish heritage, identity, race… while also shedding the need to categorize people based solely on those distinctions. Perhaps this is a naive, idealized view that I am able to hold because I do not have to think about race on a daily basis.
But perhaps, just perhaps, the ability to share love and offer light to those around us will outshine any need others have to categorize us based on the pigment of our skin? Do I, as a white woman, have any right to ask for that?
I hope you will forgive how all over the place my thoughts seem to be tonight. I feel clumsy speaking about these matters. I am pushing myself to practice, though, so that I may learn and grow and hopefully find ways to SPEAK more eloquently in the future.
Here’s to another day of creativity…