So many people of color grow up with only white people as a reference for human representation, what academics call “white as the default human being”.
In the past, like in my mother and grandmother’s generations, I’m pretty sure this type of socialization was even worse. At least during my time, I can say body image is a bigger problem than just not seeing Black people at all on television, for example. But we must still question ideologies and fantasies of progress, wondering if that is truly reality. Or are we being force fed someone else’s lies.
I try not to judge those people of color who have embraced whiteness on such a level that they see whites as the default human being, as goodness, purity, beauty, strength, power, intelligence, civilization, enlightenment, and on and on. But that doesn’t mean I condone their sentiments or that I will tell them I think its okay.
Even the most radical activists of color I have ever met struggle with their early indoctrinations into white supremacy and the scariest damn part about it is that they don’t seem aware of moments when they act in favor of white supremacy.
I think Black peoples have a somewhat different history with resisting whiteness than other people of color. Our Blackness both dispels the illusion of whiteness as it attempts to cover our eyes and at the same time makes us into the nail that must be hammered down by racist whites, their agents, and the systems they perpetuate. Additionally, even though like other brown peoples some of us are mixed, our Blackness is usually something we can never hide, not even if some one of us desired to. It is that very rejection by whiteness, because of our very skin, that oftentimes protects us from it.
Don’t get it twisted: there are plenty of whitewashed, creamed like the oreo Black people. I know this, we are not perfect in our resistance. As a Black Southerner and a Black womyn, intimate with the history of slavery and the brutality we have faced for centuries, I just do not count myself among them (often labeled as white-identifying Black people). And there are others, similar to me, as well. So there is hope.
I guess its just “black” faces and white masks. [<—me not knowing what the hell else to say]