I tweeted that yesterday after having a sizeable portion of my week co-opted by a white man’s temper tantrum, and it is real.
But after I emerged from a day filled with Zoom meetings – too many of them involving implications of a white man’s temper tantrum – I caught up on the news and learned that another white man had a temper tantrum (or, as the local sheriff, who has his own history of anti-Asian racism, called it, “a bad day”) and killed eight people. Six of them were Asian women.
Here’s the thing: when white men throw fits in my white lady world, I usually only lose my time and my patience. When white people have bad days in the world of others, they often end up taking their lives.
And: I know that my own straight white lady temper tantrums have stolen time and well-being from other people.
Yesterday, in two separate and unrelated conversations, someone tried to insist that using less pointed or more convenient language to address racism and white supremacy is important so that white people will be more likely to listen.
This is not true. White people’s comfort is not more important than the lives of people of color. Ever. Wringing our hands and trying to find “acceptable” language so that white people will feel comfortable taking responsibility for racism and its murderous violence is an absurd and ineffective project.
To call explicit, violent acts of white supremacy and racism “bad days” or “bad behavior” is to be willingly obtuse. Choosing to focus on “sex addiction” or “the perils of social media” instead of the ways that white supremacy and patriarchy drives white men to act out violent domination wherever they find themselves is only an attempt to contort our precious, fragile white egos as far away from the truth as we can get.
Let’s just be honest about it: white supremacy is killing us all.