Your family is lounging around a dimly lit living room, drowsy from the big holiday meal you’ve just devoured. You’re pleased that the mood has maintained a relatively mellow, good-natured tempo and that the conversation hasn’t become any more controversial than a heated discussion of a very cute dog on Facebook.
But somehow, like a sickeningly green fog snaking across a lake, the uninvited but omnipresent guest, Politics, slips into the room. Because of the current political climate, you know exactly what kind of racist drivel they will offer to you like they’re undiscovered, philosophical gods and not privileged white folks.
It’s time to play Bingo.
All you need is a blank piece of paper, a writing utensil and the patience of a literal saint. It’s about to get very ignorant in this living room. Draw yourself a blank bingo sheet and fill in the squares with these arguments, which your relatives are sure to use, and call upon your own experience with the ignorant people you know and are forced to love to occupy the rest of the squares.
You are guaranteed to hear this one drip from Aunt Carol’s mouth. Unfortunately for Carol, this isn’t a sticky-fingered skirmish between your brother and sister in which both are slapped on the wrist for hurting the other. This is white supremacy, and Auntie just sympathized with the wrong side. Violence is justified when it is used against inherently violent ideologies like white supremacy and neo-Nazism. Unlike your brother and sister, who are neutral parties that engage violently with each other, in the case of the many, many told and untold and daily instances of violence between racists and non-racists, the white supremacists pose an actual, impending threat to the safety of people of color, Jews, and other minorities. Each side is not equally culpable of undue violence because the white supremacists are a threat to society. Sorry, Carol, your homemade souffle isn’t that great anymore, now that everyone knows you’re a racist.
“But…..Freedom Of Speech Tho!”
God, you get extra points if you hear this one and don’t immediately jump through the nearest window. If you are brave enough to throw yourself into the terrifying jungle of White Rationalizing Logic, you can respond to Uncle John “Liberty” Doe with ease. White supremacists advocate for an ethnostate and endorse violence against people of color. Advocating these views is an inherently violent threat. Inherently violent threats are not protected by the first amendment. Please sit down, Uncle John.
Now, you will likely watch with horror as the collective discussion moves from current events to racism in general. Bravery is the key, here.
“Isn’t Racism Like…Fixed?”
There’s your Uncle Bob, whipping out his pocket edition Constitution and pointing violently to the Fourteenth Amendment. No, Bobbert, racism is not and, in fact, can not be “fixed.” Systematic oppression of people of color persists to this day. States are constantly making new laws that target minorities. And in every single domain of the professional universe, white people dominate. The fight against racism doesn’t end as long as racists continue to live and hold power. As white people, Bob, it is our job to silence arguments like this and remind other white people that all of these arguments are false and extremely harmful. Shut down this acidic dialogue immediately.
I hope you don’t get a Bingo.