The discussion seems to focus on the line I used as the title for this post, the final rhyme that Lowery threw out there. Some commenters said that the line made them or friends of theirs feel slightly alienated, as though Lowery were calling out white people as the problem that all other races and ethnic groups should point fingers at in blame and accusation.
Now, for something completely different!
Now for some Context!
Rev. Joseph Lowery delivered the closing benediction at the Inauguration ceremony (full text is here) and the line that has some white people all in a tizzy is at the end:
Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get in back, when brown can stick around ... when yellow will be mellow ... when the red man can get ahead, man; and when white will embrace what is right. That all those who do justice and love mercy say Amen.Cue the hysterical screaming, accusations of "reverse-racism" and self-righteous harrumphs.
Apparently, some of the privileged want cookies just for not being complete and total assholes.
Some, like a commenter at Transgriot, neeed to prove that they are soooo discriminated against because Rev. Lowery clearly thinks that we are all just evil people because of the vanilla of our skin (some by writing novels for comments.)
Nevermind that the whole section was a play on a common phrase during the Jim Crow era, when black people had to face more obvious discrimination (which, please note, is not gone, but is only more subtle now) as well as a play on a blues song of the same era. Nevermind that it in no way blames white people for anything, or is accusatory.
The reactions to this is a classic display of white privilege. We live in a culture where the default is us, where discussions are designed around our world view and way of thinking. The assumption that a black man is calling us evil by implying that whites are privileged and ignorant of the ways in which they benefit from the color of their skin is a natural conclusion when you assume that its all about YOU, which your privilege allows, nay, encourages you to do. Sounds more like a guilty conscience projecting than anything else.
Seriously, how hard is it to acknowledge that as a white person, or a person who fits within boundaries of acceptable whiteness, you get benefits that non-whites don't? How hard is it to acknowledge that a great deal of white people don't accept this and continue to benefit from the marginalization of POC?
Fucking hell. The whole world, for the most part, is catered to white people. Why exactly do so many of us lose their shit when someone dares not to pander in our direction? That is equality people. No one is demonizing you unless you are saying and/or doing something racist, or you are benefiting from someone else's marginalization. Saying shit like "well why does color HAVE to matter?" is showing your privilege yet again. It has to matter because racial inequalities still effect peoples lives, and the fact that you think it should not matter shows how little you truly know about the experiences of POC.