13 Ways To Easily Tell If You’re Racist

It’s really not that hard to tell if you want to know. Just take a long, hard, look over your life, privately.

13 Ways To Easily Tell If You’re Racist

It’s really not that hard to tell if you want to know. Just take a long, hard, look over your life, privately.

Photo by James Eades on Unsplash

Like the photo states above, it’s a privilege to educate yourself about racism instead of having to experience it every single day of your life from cradle to grave. Some White people who are unknowingly racist are wreaking just as much havoc on the world as their overtly racist counterparts. Just because you don’t say the n-word and you do good White people stuff doesn’t exempt those White people from being racist. All White people need to examine their lives to ensure it doesn’t contain anti-Blackness. There is only one way to discover it, and that’s by looking for your anti-Blackness intentionally. It’s a constant personal journey White people must take daily. If White people don’t see how White they are, how in the hell are they going to address racism and anti-Blackness?

They aren’t, and they won’t because they can’t. You can’t fix what you’re incapable of seeing, so let’s talk about it.

Let’s talk a little more about casual racism and microaggressions that most White people engage in over daily.

#1. You Still Need A Special “Not All White People” Disclaimer.

If you read something on race or racism and you’re immediately offended if the writer says “White people,” let me break some bad news to you. You’re likely a big racist in need of developing your emotional intelligence. White people all over the America get away with doing or saying racist shit to Black people every, single, day and they are perfectly okay with it — most times with zero consequences. Your need for a disclaimer is like a red siren going off and you don’t even know it. What you cannot understand is that we aren’t implying all White people do racist stuff intentionally every day, most Black people just saying the skin of the people who commit the most egregious racist atrocities against Black mankind are White people. Not all White people, but White people. I believe all White people are racist and I explain why here,

If you feel it’s general, take that shit up with White people because they made the labels, they do the racist stuff to us; they created races; they created the racist systems and institutions, and they engage in the most overt forms racism, discrimination, suppression, and obstruction against Black people and people of color. Period.

Be mad at your momma and daddy for making you White, don’t keep correcting us Black folks because you need a security blanket for your feelings.

#2. You Need To Tell Black People How You Feel When Offended.

When we writers write about race, we had no clue you were going to read our piece and be offended because we said “White people.” So you, oh White person, are that “White person” who thinks someone saying “White people” means you. Please know while we may not know you personally, your need to challenge us puts your racism on our radars. I certainly don’t expect Sue or Mark to harass me on Instagram, Twitter, and here on Medium for my personal thoughts and experiences on racism. If there are a significant number of truisms and commonalities among racists and the actions of racists, that’s not my fault or problem. If White people are offended because the shoe fits them or their momma, don’t come for me.

If you are the raging, crazed White person who will go through great lengths to seek out and tell writers or commenters, especially Black ones, you feel threatened or persecuted by their words despite all the information and anecdotal evidence that’s widely known and publicly available to you about the behavior of White people, you’re a racist in denial. Look inward, my dear, don’t lash out. Needing to tell us off, call the manager, or engage in other reflexive nonsense because you don’t know how to manage your emotions properly is classic racism. Take it up with your god. Look at your own behavior and stop making your problems our problems.

#3. You Live In An All White Neighborhood.

First off, ask yourself why do you live where you live? Did you move to your community or side of town because it was White? Ding, ding, ding, you’re probably racist. Most White people live segregated thanks to old racist tropes they create about otherness to keep themselves isolated since this nation freed enslaved people. Most White people in America still live in White communities. Every kind of neighborhood in America, flourishing or floundering, prosperous or poor, exists because of White people. From racialized terrorism, racist policies thanks to never-ending White power, and self-segregation helps White people maintain their White neighborhoods. If you live in a White neighborhood, you need to understand how where you live plays a role in your worldview. Are you a part of the gentrification brigade, moving to the new “happening spaces” changing the character of a formerly Black and Brown neighborhood by infusing them with more affluent White residents and White centered businesses? If you can move to these spots giving no thought about the people who were pushed out, that shows your indifference. That’s what racism does to you. It numbs you to the inconveniences of others.

Where White people live and their reason (s) can may help them determine if they’re racist or not. If you’re White and your community is all White, you’re racist. Just because you don’t believe you aren’t doesn’t meant it’s true.

#4. You Have Fetishes For “Good” Shit.

Excellent schools, good clothing, the best communities, the best restaurants, the finest… blah… blah… blah… All that is code for White people shit, let’s make this perfectly clear, okay. The terms “good” and “the best” are code that all of us know all too well. For Black folks, it means chasing White folks shit and assimilating to be a part of their culture. It means we Black folks are regrettably going into debt to move into your “good” neighborhoods, so we can send our kids to your racist, segregated “good” schools where White kids can be aware from barbarian Black and Brown children.

Whiteness has access to everything that good, or so we believe. Whiteness works diligently to ensure Black and Brown folks don’t have good shit, and it causes the rest of us to compete against each other. That’s a side-effect of chasing good shit and the best shit per White Supremacy. All Black and Brown folks are like crabs in a raggedy barrel trying to get out so we can play White Supremacy’s zero-sum monopoly game where the dice are bad, and the rules change every time you roll the dice.

For White folks, “good” means away from Black folks, and means gated communities, “good” private White schools, the best gate-kept jobs where all the good White folks work (and where we Black folks don’t work). Chasing the “good” shit means going through all the White good stuff and accessing some of the best stuff White people offer themselves so that you can get a good job that only White people should have, making good money — or at least more money than the Black folks earn. We know we’re not supposed to be in these “good” White spaces, which is why White folks give us the special agent treatment when we do finally make it into their coveted, highly segregated lily White spaces — interrogating us like we stole something from them.

Good is all about Whiteness and White standards of good.

White owned, White-managed, and White-operated, to achieve the right White results. The “best” opportunities are the ones White people have, the rest of us are lucky to get them. It’s the stuff we all should have access too, but we don’t because White people like keeping everything for themselves. Good is zero-sum people. White people’s fetishization of “good” shit is racist as hell and they should understand they are rooted in inequality… which is, racist. That there is a good and bad education system means you know about the not good one and you know don’t want it. Why is that?

You don’t want the bad one because you know the bad and inferior education makes you less competitive to Blacks. It could give Blacks the opportunity to catch up, and God knows we can’t be having none of that now can we.

If it’s not good enough for you and your family, why would you want someone else having it? Racism, that’s why, and a sense of entitlement that thinks all good things belong to White people.

Don’t be angry and flustered with me about it. Take it up with Jesus and White people because I didn’t create these codes, subliminal messages, and crazy systems. White folks did. Instead of being angry with me about the foreign food I’ve put on my table for you, meditate on these truths and ask yourself why you don’t like it. Why are you really offended?

Moving right along…

#5. You and Your Kids Have No Black Friends.

Look, there is a difference between having friends of color and having Black friends. We are not all the same. Some of don’t even know that we aren’t all the same. It’s okay to see color. Race is real and teaching your kids we are all equal when you know good and damned well we aren’t is racist and a danger to the lives of Black and Brown people everywhere. If you were truly anti-Black and anti-racist with good friends who were pro-Black and anti-racist, you’d know that.

Look around. Go through your cellphone photos of you and your kids. Open your kids’ old high school and college yearbooks. Check out those play dates. Who are your kids playing with? Look at your social media profiles. Ask your kids to name their friends. Are any of them Black? Ask? If your kids don’t have any Black friends, it’s because they’re White parents haven’t given them access to any. Does your spouse or partner have any Black friends? If not, it’s because they have the same values as you. Your spouse also teaches your kids how you feel about White people and Black people.

If your kids don’t have Black friends and have never had Black or Brown friends, it’s because their White parents are racist and took away their opportunity to have Black friends. You probably need to call Iyanla for an intervention to fix your White life. If things are going to change in America, White people must change. Change begins and ends with White people. When White people don’t raise anti-racist, pro-Black and POC children, you allow White Supremacy to indoctrinate them. Silence is consent and the most prevalent microaggression of racists today. More culturally inclusive parenting leads to less racist children. It’s impossible to not be racist in America, but you can sure as hell try.

Zero to one African-American, Blackitty, Black, Black friend in your life qualifies you as racist if you’re American. And guess what, White people hold the power in friendship dynamics too. We can’t be your friends if you don’t want us to be your friends. So, what ya’ll gone do?

Source: Giphy

#6. Your Workplace is Racist.

Do you work for a racist business/corporation? Check out those CEOs and boards. Do you choose where you’ll work in part because of the lack of racial diversity? Do you mistreat your Black and Brown co-workers? Is your workplace one with the token Black or Brown person incapable of being him/herself because they know you or your White co-workers would be offended? Do your White co-workers make racist jokes and you say nothing? Do you exclude your Black co-worker from lunch and extra-curricular activities because “that’s just how things are around there?” When you look around, are there any Black people? Do the White people outnumber the Black people and POC in your spaces? Are you constantly seeing Black employees shown the door, low-balled, underpaid, overworked and all the White people just sit around and pile on? Are Black people not staying around long because White people intimidate them into the job market? I know the answer, but White people don’t.

That. Is. Some. Racist. White. People. Shit.

It’s not a coincidence your White workspaces lack color, it’s by design, and your ending up where you are was intentional. You’re racist, but you likely didn’t know. Congratulations. Now you know. Racism in the workplace condoned by White people is the most casual microaggressions White commit. If you can remain in work spaces for 8 plus hours a day, year after year, and decade after decade, knowing full well your work place is racist, you’re racist too.

#7. Your Programming Is All White.

We’re all programmed. It starts with our parents and the world takes it from there. I get it. We all are forced to rely on our racist government to educate and inform us, but sometimes racist business people create racist television commercials, programming and educational programs too. Are your sources all White though? Mines aren’t. I consume all sorts of non-Black music and programming because I like it and I know it makes me more culturally aware. Are your favorite news people all White? Are all of your respected religious and political leaders White? Are all of your politicians White? Were you educated in all White settings? Are your favorite television shows, White, all the time? When is the last time you’ve ever watched a television show not written, produced, backed, or focused on White life? Your eyes are the gateway to your soul, and if you are doing nothing but feeding yourself White books, White movies, music created by only White people, wearing White designers, watching White social media content and influencers…

Well, you know the deal. Your lack of interests is telling. Remember, there are so much of programming Black people cannot avoid (i.e. mainstream media, public education). It’s time to take a long, hard look at yourself and examine how you got this way. Some of it was nature. Some of it was nurture. All White programming is racist nurturing.

#8. Your Politics Is All About White People Shit.

Ask yourself when is the last time you’ve asked how your politics helps Black folks? If you’re not asking yourself these questions before you cast your ballots, you have a serious problem Houston and you need to examine the ways you’ve helped to harm Black and Brown folks before you cast another one. Learning in 2016 that so many White people cannot connect the dots has been scary for me personally. White people are perfectly fine, being insulated from their decisions, which are tied to a lack of empathy. It’s been a default for far too long for too many White people. It’s a very casual racism — the kind White people hate owning.

If all you’ve ever voted for all White candidates your entire life when there were other candidates more qualified on the ballot not White (and please don’t tell me you voted for Obama twice — the only Black person you’ve ever voted for and you’re 976-years old — because I’m going to scream), you’re racist. Like not a bad racist, but like a color struck racist that makes political decisions because of the color of a person’s skin. There are plenty of Blacks qualified to do anything and everything a White person can do and is likely more qualified since we have to work twice as hard and be more qualified to get the jobs White folks get for just being mediocre. You are likely a racist in denial about your anti-Black and Brown sentiments.

#9. You’re Still Keyboard Warring For Whiteness.

If an essay calling White people racists gets you all flushed and bothered before you even read it to find out whether it could be true, you’re probably racist. Who gets mad about a title of any essay except people with poor emotional intelligence and racists? And why do the most racist White folks feel their feelings are so important that they need to be validated by telling me and other Black and Brown folks calling out racism?

Being racist is a choice. Taking part in White Supremacy when you know better is a choice. Acting out to protect White statuses and White privileges because you have those unearned privileges is a choice. Harassing Black and Brown people on social media is a choice. Refusing to listen and have empathy for non-White people because you’re guilty of the things they accuse you of is juvenile and racist.

#10. If Your Answer To Interacting With Black & Brown Folks Is Escalating.

If your first thought when engaging Black people is to provoke them, boss them, intimidate them, guilt them, harass them, and/or call the police on them, you are a flaming fucking racist, diabolical, demonic racist to the tenth power. You need Jesus, Buddha, White sage baths, an exorcism and probably those ass-whoppings your parents never gave you. Racist White people have a terrible habit of escalating and being manipulative. Even when Black folks come in peace, most White people aren’t happy until we leave in tears, in fear, in handcuffs, or in a coffin. The need to see Black and Brown people in pain is racist and it’s another one of those covert ways White people use their White privilege to maintain their racist social order. White folks unnecessarily escalating with Black and Brown people is terrorism.

Cut that shit out and get some help for that kind of manipulative, sociopathic behavior please! We have proof now that White people intentionally provoke so they can escalate, and so do you White folks.

#11. You Only Talk To (And Listen To) White People About Racism.

White people only listening to White people about racism is like asking a rapist to help another rapist to stop being a rapist or asking an addict using drugs to help you stop using drugs. White people are not the experts on determining what is and what isn’t racism, so listening to people who aren’t the intended victims of racism is crazy. Black people and people of color are the actual experts, so White folks need to listen to us.

Unfortunately, White people make a good living talking about Black suffering caused by White people. Those White people learn about us from us. The only reason they can profit from our suffering is because racist and curious White people must have their anti-racism works come from White people. Do you realize how crazy that is?

When White folks only get their racism and anti-racism from White people, understand those people are teaching not from their personal experience, but from learning about our personal and collective experiences, which is cool. What I’m trying to say is that you’re getting second hand anti-Blackness info when you could get it straight from the mouths of Black people. I just want White people to understand many of you are using a conduit when you can go right to the victims of racism to get their personal stories. We all have them. Whiteness makes sure it lets us know who is in charge, who is in their exclusive club, and how is not early and often. If the only way you can learn about racism is from White people, you’re racist. If the only time you can understand racism is if White people talk to you about it, you’re racist. Work on yourself!

#12. Requiring Black Folks Provide Proof And Literary Citations To Help Your Understanding.

White people, Black people need not provide academic citations so that you’ll believe what we are saying. Any fool with common sense interested in what they’ve heard read can begin researching allegations made against White people on their own at any public library or using Google. Both are free and you can use them in the privacy of your own home. I am not engaging White people demanding or challenging me to prove what I say because I need not be backed by White academia. That’s a demand White people place on Blacks and people of color to discredit our truth. White men are terrible about this. Why do we need to prove racism to White people when White people are fully aware of how they behave? Why do White people even have the audacity to demand evidence?

White people demanding information be presented to them in a manner that is appeasing to them is some White people’s shit. White people are the only people I know who need more evidence than an academic institution can hold or teach before they can believe it, and they still refute the evidence. These challenges and demands are racist and rooted in White folks lack of empathy and respect for anything Black people have to say about the way White people treat us. Demanding people provide academic citations in their personal blogs and essays when they are not affiliated with a college or university, not proclaiming to be a doctor of any sort, and the person has at least provide you with links is White Privilege and White Supremacy 101. It’s also racist.

#13. You Don’t Trust Black People.

Please don’t give me those old “can’t trust them,” and “don’t know them” racist tropes and stereotypes about Black people because I’m not having it. If the first thing that comes to your mind and out of your mouth is that you don’t want to [name said bad, racist, stereotypical thing White people and peole of color love to say about Black people right here], you’re racist just as sure as leaves grown on trees.

Believing Black people incompetent are incapable of leading or believing only White people can lead White people is racist. Only trusting the Whitest of Black people is racist, too.

If you can’t trust Black and Brown people to lead you, but you can trust them to make up the beds your White asses lay in on vacation… you’re racist.

If don’t trust them to lead you, but you can trust them to get your White asses to and from your good paying jobs on public transit (because we drive those vehicles ya know — a lot of us too)… you’re racist.

If you can’t trust them to lead you, but you can trust them to feed you food and wash the dishes in your favorite White restaurants… you’re racist.

If you can’t trust them to lead you, but you can trust them to process the meats you buy in your White-bourgeoisie grocery stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joes in your lily White communities… you’re racist.

If you can’t trust them to lead you, but you can trust them to keep/teach your bad ass White kids in public school all day long, including feeding them in the cafeteria and cleaning the nasty school bathrooms behind them… you’re racist.

If Black and Brown people are good enough to cook, clean, entertain you, or work on your behalf in anyway, but not good enough or smart enough to lead you… you have a serious racist superiority complex.

In Conclusion

If you do any of this casual stuff, please stop. You’re racist, even if you don’t mean to be. It’s racist, even if you don’t intend to be. You’re racist, and you need to fix yourself because you’re likely injuring someone everyday you live in your ignorance. Racism is learned, and we can unlearn it. Racism is taught, and just like you’ve been taught to be racist, you can teach yourself to be anti-racist and pro-Black. The first thing White people must deal with are their feelings and emotions. While we Black folks care about your feelings and emotions, we aren’t centering them anymore.

When we Black folks center White people, we get hurt. When we’ve centered you in the past, you’ve used us up like a Bounty paper towel and tossed us out. When we’ve centered you, your feelings, and doing the right thing because White folks make it a point to tell us we should, you’ve helped get our friends and loved ones killed, abused, fired, jailed, and scarred. Centering Whiteness must die, because centering Whiteness enables racism. I don’t write to center White people. I write to show White people what racism looks like and how it harms Black people.

If White people really want to know just how racist they are, we Black folks need not say a word. All they need to do is look around their lives if they are serious about changing. It will tell them how racist they are. White folks love to preach to me there are no absolutes (i.e. all White people aren’t racist), but rarely if ever can they provide me with any details countering their arguments.

And they can’t. They never will be able to. They are just angry because the wide racism net captures them too, they just aren’t willing or ready to deal with it.

As hard as White people try to divorce themselves from White Supremacy, they will never be able to completely exclude themselves from racism because they are always benefitting from being racist (even unintentional things which may seem trivial to them) and the color of their skin. White people must actively engage in it from birth to death to survive and thrive just like we must fight racism from cradle to grave to survive and thrive. Racism needs these two dynamics to exist in order to be successful. It’s the reason I say all White people are racist. White folks are born into racism. They have to learn to be anti-racist and then practice it daily in order to decrease their racism footprints.

The unearned privileges White people acquire are priceless to them, yet most fail to acknowledge this let alone admit it. White people benefit collectively from gathering to assert and maintain their power. To know this and deny it…is racist. So White people, you can argue with Black people until you turn blue in the face and back White again, but you’re never going to convince any sane, self-aware Black person otherwise. So please stop asking us to qualify racism statements for you, and stop telling us nothing is absolute. It seems the only people who don’t know how racism works are the people who practice it the most, and those are White people.

When it comes to racism, the only White person not benefitting from racism are the unborn fetuses of White women, and as long as the fetus is inside of a White woman, it too benefits from its mother’s White privilege.

The bottom line amount of Blackness in your life speaks volumes about how racist you are are. The amount of Whiteness surrounding you also speaks volumes about the life you’ve chosen to live. Are you racist or anti-racist? Are you self-aware of your connection to racism or in denial about it all together.

Are you anti-Black or pro-Black? It ain’t that hard to tell White people, just look at your own life. You don’t even have to tell anyone you’re doing that way if you feel shame White people, it’s your own business but at least you can recognize your role in our misery. The most dangerous people in America today next to overt racists and domestic terrorists are White people who don’t know they are racists. There should be no shame in learning and recovering from it because when you know better you can do better. But racists in denial on the other hand should feel plenty of shame, most are too stupid or too stubborn not to.

You can’t fix America if you can’t see what’s wrong with yourselves White people. I suggest you start looking at your lives and looking fast because in a few short months, you’ll have to decide what you love the most. You can lie to yourself, but you can’t lie to Black people. Your life will reveal your truths.

There can be no fairness, equality, or justice, until White people grapple with racism. Oblige Black people, please.

Marley K. in Quarantine 2020

If you enjoyed this, read some of my other work hosted on Medium publications including Afrosapiophiles, Our Human Family, Age of Awareness, and my personal page, Marleyisms.