About Writing While Loving Blackness and Hurting White Feelings
Are you mad about this title? Keep reading. You’re probably the main one that needs to read this.
It has been an interesting 5 days, since Beyonce dropped her Formation video and broke the internet. People (me included) have not been able to stop talking about it, and it has spurred a gajillion thinkpieces. Most folks love it and have been vocal about it but the critiques have poured in too. Then she performed at the Superbowl, had her dancers dressed as Black Panthers and everyone lost their collective minds.
Beyonce’s unapologetic Blackness has heartened those of us who see ourselves in her, and it has offended some people who don’t think she represents them. There have been oceans of white tears for folks to swim in since it happened.
On the night of the Superbowl, I received an email from a woman who reads my blog. What she thought was her passing on some advice to me was really her being Den Mother of Hurt White Feelings.
Dear Awesomely Luvvie:
I was so excited when I started following your Facebook page a few weeks ago! Many of your posts and blogs are fantastically witty, smart and sassy. You’ve made me laugh and think, and I’ve shared several of your pieces on my own feed.
But after awhile, I sensed an undertone of “us vs. them” that feels like it’s counter-intuitive to promoting love and an honest dialogue about race, and what we can do better as a culture.
Your words have great power, and a lot of people are listening.
I read that and closed it, fed up because for being such historical bullies, white people sure are fragile when they feel remotely threatened.
The next day, as I continued to read critiques from folks who should have employed their Fool STFU Gift Basket, this email stayed on my spirit and I decided to get on Facebook Live and talk it through. 67,000 views later, that video has spurred so many people to send me messages thanking me. It was a 28 minute long rant that folks said I needed to write about, and transcribe, so here I am, with the essay version of what I said on that video. Below is basically a transcript, edited for clarity and length.
If you want to watch the video, it’s here.
About Writing While Loving Blackness and Hurting White Feelings
We are not supposed to be in this world just so that people can digest us easier, and the email that was sent to me was telling me that I needed to tone down who I am being. The fact that it was from a white woman, as one of the biggest entertainers in the world was being loudly Black, gave me layers of frustration.
Although I am Formation-ed out, I started this with Beyoncé because the last 5 days has been a lesson in confirmation that some white people can only tolerate Blackness when it’s tame and timid. When it’s an undercurrent, not a roaring wave. People are so used to Beyoncé being “Safe Beyoncé” who’s singing about single ladies and bootyliciousness and crazy in love right. A Beyoncé who’s talking about how Black she is, who’s standing on top of a cop car that’s drowning in New Orleans is a Beyoncé that people will not be able to stomach. It’s a Beyoncé that white people will be uncomfortable about.
So for me to get an email from a white reader telling me that my posts have had an “undertone” of “us vs. them” had me raging. RAGING. Because what I have been doing in my writing (and life) is celebrating my Blackness, my love for Black people and my pride. This isn’t anything new, but it is something that seems continuously threatening to white people who do not understand the purpose and the point.
I am a Black woman and that is a badge of honor for me.
The idea that somehow upholding and affirming my own Blackness, being proud about it, being loud about it, is some type of anti-white statement will never stop blowing my mind. It’s the “All Lives Matter” Syndrome. When we say BLACK LIVES MATTER, it doesn’t mean other lives don’t. If I say I love being Black it don’t mean I hate White.
I write for me, first of all, but most of my audience is black. About half of the people who read my work are Black Women and I honor them. I am a reflection of those women. But that other half is diverse and I honor them too. However, if I stand up and yell about how I love being a Black woman, it is not an insult on the lives of those who are not. I am not coming to your house to turn off your light because I said I love being a Black woman. The idea that my posts have been “us vs. them” because they’ve been ‘super Black’ is bullshit.
You know why we have to constantly affirm Blackness? It’s because the world is telling us that Blackness is a liability. We have to constantly stand up and say we are proud to be Black because we are constantly told that we are somehow less than because we’re Black. People will then argue and say things like, “well why can’t I say White Pride?” Let me tell you why. Because White Pride has killed Black people. “White pride” is what people yelled when they lynched folks and hung them in trees. As people said “white pride” in their white hoods, they dragged Black bodies behind their cars. Never has Black Pride dragged a white child or burned a white church or shot a white boy without consequence. White Pride is not the same as Black Pride because white pride has denigrated us for centuries and has been used as a tool to actively harm us.
It’s like going to the Gay Pride parade and yelling “Straight Pride.” Straight Pride has killed gay, queer and transgender people. Straight pride is the reason why some people still can’t be themselves and love who they love out loud. It has driven some to take their own lives. It is an oppressive statement. I am a functioning straight and I would never ask somebody who’s gay “why can’t I say straight pride?”
We say “Black Pride” because that’s a revolutionary statement. Because the world is telling us Black should not be something to be pride of. So this “us versus them” that someone white might feel from Black people affirming their humanity is ridiculous. It is whiteness trying to center itself in everything, and it is the false equivalence of anti-whiteness.
Let’s say some people do feel like someone who is saying “Black Pride” is being anti-white. Well, anti-whiteness is not a thing because anti-whiteness does nothing to harm you. Anti-whiteness does not kill your children. You do not wake up in the morning and say, “oh my gosh, anti-whiteness is the reason why my child, my son, my brother, my husband might not walk in the house today.” So even if people are being anti-white, anti-white has no systemic consequences. “Oh God, they don’t like white people!” You got your feelings hurt. For us, when people don’t like Black people, our boys are shot down in the streets; our girls are shot down in these streets. Anti-whiteness is not a thing; it is your feelings being hurt by one person, not an entire system that was built to ensure that you stay shackled down.
That email I got, had many undertones itself, and one of them was the ill-assumed sentiment that I am writing for white people. I don’t write for you, white folks. I love the fact that ya’ll read my work, though. I love the fact that anybody reads my work but I’m not here to make people comfortable about my work. However, I’m not here to make anybody uncomfortable about what I write either. The point of what I do is to speak my truth, inspire folks to do the same, and say the things that are uncomfortable to say but need to be said. It is to stand in my power as a creator. When people read what I write and it lands the way it was intended and they find the value in it, I am affirmed as a writer. I love it.
One thing I really love about my work is the fact that it does transcend color and race and gender identity and sexual orientation because I am a humorist. I cover all things. Some days I’m talking about yellow starbursts and then the day after that I may be talking about the Republican Debate, and the day after that I might be talking about police brutality. But please be clear that my writing is not to ostracize anybody but it’s also not to make anybody feel better about themselves. I’m not here to let white folks feel better about themselves.
My posts lately have not been different from my posts in the past. I am a Nigerian woman. I am a Yoruba gal. I am Black. I’m straight. I am able-bodied. I’m middle-class. I know the spaces that I’m in and I will always speak from those spaces. However, don’t get it twisted that I’m somehow here to make you comfortable. Essentially when we talk about “promoting love” when it comes to race a lot of times it’s from cowardly people who don’t want to talk about the uncomfortable stuff. It’s from people who do not want to actually say, “this is a difficult conversation to have.” It’s from people who think love means harmony all the time even when you’ve harmed somebody. The person you’ve harmed is not obligated to make you feel better or to say “I forgive you.”
I will always talk about race. I will always talk about how it’s affected me and how it’s affected my people. I will always talk about the fact that we’re living in a structure of inequality and the people of privilege (white men) do a lot of fucked up shit. But then white women also get a lot of the privilege too because if you’re a white woman, straight, Christian, you have one thing against you: the woman piece. The rest of us are dealing with being a part of other marginalized groupings.
So you don’t get to come to my inbox and tell me I haven’t been promoting love okay. I always operate from a place of love. My name is Luvvie. I operate from love. I do the work I do because I love what I do. So I promote love in that I promote understanding. Let’s have these conversations about race. Let’s have these conversations about privilege so we can all move forward as opposed to sweeping things under the rug. I don’t have time for pink elephants in the room.
I get these types of emails once every couple of months. If you are somebody white, who thought you should be sending me an email telling me “I haven’t been promoting love with my words”, delete that email. In fact, report it as spam and don’t send that shit to me because no.
Back to my initial point on this whole Beyoncé thing people. A lot of white people haven’t been comfortable with this evolved version of Beyoncé. If the only time you’re comfortable with Black people is when they’re making you feel safer about whiteness or they are just creating great dance music, check yourself. When they create something that actually speaks some truth to power or at least something that challenges you, and all of a sudden they offend you, you’re probably a racist douchebag.
On AwesomelyLuvvie.com and on my Facebook fan page, I have an amazing audience, amazing audience: Black, white, all different colors, straight, gay, trans, male, female, gender binary. I welcome everybody. Let’s have some real conversations, but what we’re not gon do is that every time I talk about race people say something like “oh you should be promoting love.” Love is understanding and some of ya’ll need to understand the state of affairs and some of ya’ll need to understand that Black people loving ourselves is a revolutionary act and you need to let us have it. Also it’s fucking Black History Month okay. It’s only day eight in Black History Month, can we live? Is it okay? Can we fucking live? Damb!
Look here. White folks get excluded for something and get up and arms. We’ve been excluded from justice for about 400 years and we’re somehow still standing up straight and functioning. Ya’ll should be giving us props. We exclude you from a BET Award and ya’ll be like “why is there is a BET Award?” Because every award is “White Entertainment Award” gahtdambit. Commes des fackons! We exclude ya’ll from one music video and y’all are like “why were there no white people in Beyoncé’s video?” Damb really?! Y’all have got to share better. Did you miss that week in kindergarten where they taught us about sharing?
I’m feeling super Black and you know what? I’m going to be in all Black this week. Why? Because can’t nobody check me. It’s Black History Month. I don’t even care if it’s not Black History Month, I’m gon’ be super Black in March too, and in April, and May. Who gon’ say something? Nobody. Damn that’s it.
And my white readers, come on. Y’all can ask me questions and LuvvNation is loving you, so come through. But some of your cousins? Lawd. They’re a hot ass mess.
Let me repeat this for the upper decks. You cannot say “white power” or “white pride.” What people will hear are the echoes of people hanging from trees as people chanted, “white power.” No you’re not allowed. History matters and context matters. So for us to build a bridge of love, that bridge needs to also come with some acknowledgement from your side to be like “yes, we have wronged you.” But we can’t build a bridge if you just like “we just need to promote love.” How? HOW, SWAY?
I love my friends who will message me with questions. Like my white friends who will be like, “hey just wanted to see do a temperature check.” Those are people who are wiling to grow and learn and people who have genuinely have Black friends they trust who can be their safe space. Now technically, it’s not our job to explain race and racism to folks because I mean people can Google, but I do think there is power in having people you can learn from. You need people who can check you when you’re not doing what you supposed to be doing.
The friends I have who are white are open to learning. I love them and they can ask me the questions they need to ask because it’s through that that people start to get to a better place of growth. So yeah, it’s really important for us to have these conversations and I will continue to moderate some of these conversations on my page. I delete comments that are counterproductive and hateful and not from a space of learning. I will commit myself to doing that.
We just have to keep standing tall and keep yelling “Black Girl Magic” and “Black Love.” Shout-out to BYP100 for the phrase “Unapologetically Black.”
We can build this bridge. We can promote love WITH understanding.
Black Power all day everyday. Black Pride. Black Power. Black People. I love us.
Thank you so much to Shatoria L. for helping my transcribe my video. You are MUCH appreciated.
If you want to get the Fist Up shirt I had on in the video, it’s now available at my Tees in the Trap store.
Thank you for putting into words what I am so frustrated with having to constantly explain! I am so glad I found this blog! It gives me life, helps me grow, and helps me through dark times by being real, funny, and honest in a time where all of this is very, very necessary. That is what love is!
Gurl. You are so “en pointe” you are the Misty Copeland of tellin’ it like it is. Lord, why can’t folks let us be? Why, o why is there a yardstick for how Black we can be? I can be light skinned Aunt Viv but not dark skinned Aunt Viv? C’mon sucka. Today, I’m feeling like Aunt Esther. Is that allowed? And tomorrow I might want to be Coffy. You don’t get to choose for me . EVER
Stands and Applauds “so ‘en pointe’ you are the Misty Copeland of tellin’ it like it is.” Magnificent.
yes dammit! to all of this.
Yes! The “no fucks are given.”
As a white woman, I really do feel like your “Black” posts help me to better understand something that I cannot personally relate to, and I think that’s great. But I will say that I take serious issue with your position on yellow Starbursts. YELLOW STARBURST POWER 4 LYFE.
YES JACLYN – for getting it AND for loving YELLOW STARBURST! Me too, chile!
This issue truly is us vs them, Cynthia. The yellow starburst lovers vs the haters
yellow starbursts taste like lysol and juicy fruit had a baby #FIGHTME
pink starbursts taste like literally every other pink candy that has ever existed in the history of the universe. Pink starbursts are generic as fuck. Sorry. It had to be said.
Pink Starburst is my least favorite. A Yellow Starburst is a life giver, and I loathe the color in general.
That’s the truth right there. Pink Starburst has no place on this Earth.
“pink starbursts taste like literally every other pink candy that has ever existed in the history of the universe.”
Yep… And they’re all #YUMTASTIC!!! Lol! =P
I realize that my starburst opinions are in the minority here, but that just means MORE YELLOW STARBURSTS FOR ME while literally everyone else pretends the pink ones are special.
Another white woman here grateful the lessons, seeing the love, and appreciating the time, effort, and wisdom you put into your writing!
Man. Yes. Yes, Yes, Yes.
I don’t know what tone of voice others may have read this in but I had goosebumps the entire time I was reading this piece. I can’t even pull it my favorite quotes! It was ALL my favorite! Just yes Luvvie. All of it. I don’t even have anything intelligent to add to this conversation. Just hella praise and gratitude. Thank you Luvvie. Whew!
“I am a Black woman and that is a badge of honor for me.”
YASSSSS!!! Luvvie this was one of your best pieces I have ever read! I love your Scandal recaps and all of the other serious and not so serious post. This one does something different to me as a Black Woman during Black History Month here in the South where we continuously produce “Strange Fruit”! Luvvie, you have grown so much and this was a testament of who you have become and your expression as a Black Woman in America.
Slap a cape on February and call it Super Black History Month cause of Leap Year.. and cause we was Black yesterday, we Black today and will be Black tomorrow- giving zero fux for the duration.
“standing fucking ovation!”
I wonder if she, the note writer, wrote her note and then left your following? You have answered and explained, quite thoroughly, your position and if anyone didn’t know before now they do. I really think it boils down to dialogue. Not, I don’t care for what you are saying so I’m going to turn around and keep my mind closed. We as humans will never get anywhere unless we open and honest with each other. Heads need to come out from the sand.
If I thanked you for this post a thousand times, it wouldn’t be nearly enough.
You gave voice to what so many of us are feeling. So much of what we’re seeing right now is the result of Black America collectively deciding to be unapologetic about their Blackness. It’s always been there to a degree, but when that lovely family moved into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue 7 years ago it. was. on.
And in the years since there have been others that have made it plain that I am Black, I am awesome, I am unapologetic, and you WILL DEAL. Venus, Serena, Shonda, LeBron, Misty, Viola, Cam, Ava, and now Beyonce (y’all feel free to add if I left anyone out) are out there getting it done while staying true to themselves. Sad to say that the DNA of this country is so jacked up that a Black (or Brown) person being their true selves makes white people uncomfortable.
The days of us casting our eyes downward, shuffling our feet while saying yessuh, nosuh are over for good. They are not coming back. And the great thing is there are more than a few white folks on the sideline that are here for all of this, which is cool. For those who aren’t, they will have to stay mad because it’s not all about them anymore and in due time they will get left in the dust.
Luvvie, go out and shop for a crate of mics to replace the ones you dropped in this post.
“You gave voice to what so many of us are feeling. So much of what we’re seeing right now is the result of Black America collectively deciding to be unapologetic about their Blackness. It’s always been there to a degree, but when that lovely family moved into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue 7 years ago it. was. on.”
Ditto to everything Michele said!
Luvvie, I loved your video, and I am so glad you transcribed it into a post. I always found it difficult to put into words why the “If white people [insert something that’s not really a comparison], black people would be upset” argument doesn’t make sense. Your post nailed why history and context matters.
“I came to slay, bitch.” – Big Freedia
As a white gay man, can I just tell you that, although you do not write for my blessings or approval, I read this whole damn thing and was cheering at the end of every paragraph.
You beat me to the punch – said what I wanted to say!
YAAAAAAAAAAAAAASSSSS LUVVIE YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAASSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!????????????????????????????????????????
My head near exploded yesterday with this Beyoncé-bashing…I finally went off … the woman (Kate) I had this FB convo with is a stranger, but I think illustrates our national challenge…Thanks for letting me share..
XO – Audrey
Kate Shame on her to ask for a police escort then. Let her fend for herself.
Audrey Carangelo Seriously educate me and tell me how this is an insult to police..
Kate Hmmm…. The reference of the “innocent kid in a hoodie”, throwing fists, sitting on a sinking cop car, “stop shooting us” seen in the video…. Really? And where are the white girl dancers? To reference a group that historically has been far from peaceful, seriously? Where will it ever end? And not only that, but the reference to natural Afro hair, she is TOTALLY hypocritical. Most of the time, those luscious locks have a relaxer put in, pulled straight and looking like anything BUT an afro
Audrey Carangelo um yeah? the police should really stop shooting innocent black people
Audrey Carangelo she can look any way she wants and so can you!
Kate People should stop shooting people.
Audrey Carangelo she is an artist expressing herself … you want she only sings “put a ring on it”? and if you do fine turn the tv off change the radio station
Kate Where does it ever end???
Audrey Carangelo it doesn’t end.. we keep talking until we understand
as Beyonce says at the end of the song “You know you that bitch when you cause all this conversation.” artists stir shit up make us question and feel uncomfortable
Kate I agree. I don’t feel uncomfortable. It just makes me sad that it will never end. Do you think black kids that my kid goes to school with have any less than he does?? Yet they are taught to believe they do? Do you think kids have any idea what it was Yet they are taught to believe they do? Do you think kids have any idea what it was really like 400 years ago? NO! Parents, adults are teaching this divide! Beyonce is not promoting equality or union, she is promoting anger. Like I said, black panther reference? Where the white girls at?
Audrey Carangelo Understand that we DO have more because we are white. The very nature of our white skin provides us with more acceptance more opportunity than black people. every. single. day. when white americans take that in understand and stop being defensive and listen instead to what our black citizens are saying when we open our eyes to the obvious privilege our white skin provides acknowledge and be aware and fight prejudice together
Kate I guess I missed all the opportunity for scholarships while in nursing school that were offered to white women? So how do i have more than the black girl sitting beside me?? Please explain.
Kate Your comment is prejudice.
Audrey Carangelo It won’t be immediately assumed that i got my scholarship because I’m a black woman and got in by “quota” but because I had better grades, test score, faculty recommendations, then other applicants. (btw I’m white I got plenty of scholarships…) ..I won’t be followed while shopping, waiters will look me in the eye, cab drivers will pick me up..
Kate I got scholarships as well, which were offered TO EVERYONE. Several scholarships I was not able to apply for bc I am white. Can you imagine if the selection process were reversed?
Audrey Carangelo HAHAH OMG the selection process WAS REVERSED… for like 400 years!!! I’m retiring for the evening
Kate And ended A LONG TIME AGO.
Audrey Carangelo no it hasn’t and half the country not admitting that is something we all need to talk about
People like “Kate” are ignorant and racist. She is the epitome of the white people that won’t see racism. As a white woman myself, I’ve been privy to the comments (because racists think it’s safe to say these things to mean because being white, I’m in the “club”, I guess). YOu know, “I never owned any slaves, why blame me.” “They get special privilege when getting scholarships.” “They got that job because they were black to fill a quota.” It makes me nuts. They just won’t see that being born white in a country that accepts and rewards whiteness gives one an immediate advantage. I don’t get side-eyed in stores, I don’t get pulled over by cops for minor infractions like switching lanes without signaling. If I do get stopped, the cop is generally polite and I get a warning or a ticket. I’m not removed from my vehicle or worse. This notion from whites that the racism is now all “reverse” is ludicrous and makes me truly angry.
Lord, yes. Sometimes they’re worse then the flat-out racists.
I am with you!!!! I am white and I get this…..White people need to step back and realize we do have advantages….If all people were treated the same…..this dialogue would not take place. Sadly, it does not…I will never understand why Whites can say, do…etc., but let a black person do the same and bam.
As a white woman who found you through one of her friends’ FB pages, I would like to give you a big hell yeah. I love reading your stuff. The less ‘safe’, the better- I should feel uncomfortable tackling truths I had no idea about sometimes. I have a little dude and I want to be able to be honest with him and teach him how not to be that well-meaning but totally clueless white dude but instead someone who gets it and what he can do. What you have to say will help me do that, so I offer up highly humble appreciation for it.
Be big, be bold, keep be unapologetically you because honestly, the world needs plenty more of that and much less hiding behind things that make people feel safe.
I’ve been saying this same sentiment for years, “I don’t have to apologize for my blackness!” Becky stay crying, but you’ll be alright! Thanks Luvvie!!
Standing up giving you the Angela Davis Fist in Air!!!
You remind me all the time why I’m so happy that I found this blog.
Putting the “Awesome” in Awesomely Luvvie. 24/7.
Beyonce is EVERYTHING in Maya Angelou’s “Still I Rise.” She is its living embodiment. I had my girls watch the video, then we read the poem together (again, because it’s a fav of mine) and then we pulled out their Black History Month homework and talked about the three together.
I’m white. I’m so white I get sunburned after sunset. Things like this help me be a better ally, to know what to challenge, and even better, how to. Thank you. Keep up the energy and power. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Yasssssssssss. THAT WAS ALL AND EVERYTHING.I THANKS YOU
This!! The amount of knowledge you just dropped is incredible! It gets so frustrating trying to be patient and explain over and over and over again… especially in areas where you are the only Black person. When I got to the Black pride v. White pride section, I wanted to stand up and have a good ‘ol Baptist praise break!! But of course I didn’t because…work. ☺ Anyway, keep up the great work!
I’m white. I’m listening. Trying so hard not to prefer “order” to justice. Every year I read MLK’s Letter from Birmingham Jail and every year I realize I’m probably that white moderate he means – and then I try harder. “let’s just all be loving” is the same thing.
“I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.”
Well, now. I’m a white woman who’s never much followed Beyoncé—just not my style of music, so when I saw her Super Bowl gig, I was all WHOA, she’s singing and dancing about black power, GOOD FOR HER, and good for her for choosing a stacked heel to dance in, rather than a spiked heel. Smart choice.
Then I got to thinking I’d better go look at her new video, which I did, and again, I was all WHOA, this is powerful and gorgeous and it’s kicking me in the gut, and damn, I should practice my moves more, woman’s tearing it up with those moves and that message.
I know this is different stuff for Beyoncé, and seeing as how it’s coming from the gut, good god, I love it. I’m not all up in the talk about it because I can’t stand hearing white people moan about Black History Month and the like. I even broke up with a good hairdresser over that mess once.
Anyhoo, Luvvie, you go on talking. Yeah, sometimes it is “us” and “them,” and I don’t know what the hell y’all’re talking about, ’cause sometimes it’s all another world to me. But I don’t doubt the love, girl. I don’t doubt it at all.
Context most definitely matters and the amount of butthurt over Beyonce would amaze me if i hadn’t lived every minute of my life in the United States. I am not a member of the Beyhive but I must admit that her dropping major cash on Flint and Black Lives Matter (on Trayvon Martin’s 21st birthday) and then showing up and showing out at the Super Bowl had me on the floor going “We;re not worthy”. Bey is the biggest entertainer in the world and I am in love with the fact that she used her platform to advance the cause of justice & equality for black folk. I am going to start buzzing around the outside of the Beyhive because she used her awesomeness in such an awesome way.
Your writing is not written for me because I am a white woman, but I am still empowered by it. I am empowered to listen, to learn, and to check within myself to see what I can do to stop the foolishness I see fellow white people displaying. I have resolved to let go of my fear of speaking out (because yea, my cousins are a hot f*&^%$# mess when it comes to race and being educated and empathetic in general) because if I feel fear of retribution, it is nothing compared to the fear of harm POC face every day for speaking up. I hope I can use my white privilege and share it with black people, because that’s how to promote love and understanding- giving what I have too much of to someone who doesn’t have enough. I want to be a megaphone for black folks, so y’all can yell it even louder. Maybe drown out my stupid cousins because Lawd knows ain’t nobody need to hear them anyhow.
Thanks for speaking truth to power.
So glad I found your blog. You make my cry laughing 100% of the time -and you teach me too. I know it’s not your job… but I am thankful for the perspective. Your piece on Flint was so excellent – and this one too.
I will always support a ballsy woman. <3 black, yellow, whatever. And Beyoncé's video had balls. (x a million)
– another white gal reader
This is the best explanation I’ve seen and I’m not surprised that you’re the one who has finally helped me realize the best way to explain how “black pride” and “white pride” are different. From now on, when one of my racist relatives (and I’m a white woman with Southern roots so I’ve got a lot of them) tries to go on about “well why aren’t we allowed to be proud of OUR race”, I am going to tell them this: Black pride is about love; white pride is about hate.
And then I will send them a link to this post.
Ahh Luvvie! You are an amazing woman. As a white woman and a history teacher, it is so hard to get across to people that being proud of who you are and where you come from doesn’t mean you hate anyone different from you. As someone else commented, we don’t need a “safe place” to discuss the issues. They are uncomfortable. The other day I was watching the Disney Channel with my girls. They were doing a Black History segment. One of the kids who is on Disney shows had a grandmother who was involved in being the first black students at an all white high school. I knew the inevitable pictures were coming. The ones that make my stomach roll. The ones of the black teenagers walking to school among hordes of screaming, angry white people. The tears started to flow (sometimes when I teach these are hard lectures for me to get through). My girls asked why I was crying. I had to explain that I cry because there was/is so much hate in our world and it makes no sense. I cry because we have come so far but have so far left to go. I cry because my husband and I have worked hard to make sure our kids don’t see color when they look at a person but the older they get the more the world tells differently. So Luvvie, keep doing what you are doing. Keep being who you are and making people ask the difficult questions and have the difficult conversations. Of course you don’t me to say keep doing what you do, but I wanted you to know that I am cheering for you. I am reading your words even when they make me uncomfortable because I want to grow and understand and gain knowledge in any place I can.
I celebrate you and your glorious Blackness. You’re not writing for me, but I learn so much by sitting still and listening to you. In my life, I’ve said and done dumb-ass things from not knowing better, but it’s my job to learn better and do better, and the only way to get there is to listen, especially when people say things that make me uncomfortable. I’m not entitled to be comfortable. I don’t want to be comfortable when the price is racism and oppression. Anybody who’s asking their fellow human beings to deny their experiences and sweep their pain and degradation under the rug or who expects a gold I’m-not-a-racist star for acknowledging people of color is not someone with whom you need to concern yourself.
This is why I have been a Luuvie supporter for almost a decade. You’ve NEVER compromised who you are to pacify anyone.
Yes to all of this. The first time I posted an article you wrote on my wall, I was taken aback by the amount of white girl tears it engendered. Geez. It wasn’t even a serious piece! ( It was the one about Rene Zellweger)
As a white middle class woman, all I can say to this is “RIGHT ON, LUVVIE!” I love reading your work but I don’t come here to find myself reflected or to be patted on the head. I come here to gain perspective and to hear an experience that isn’t necessarily my own… and to laugh my ass off.
I am a 65 year old white lady. I am loving all this talk about race after too many years of silence in the white community. I read Uprooting Racism several years ago and it was a wake up call. Thank you for your clear voice and your humor. Beyonce’s video was amazing as was the half time show. As a public service perhaps recommend some books to people who are struggling to catch up and wake up.
*standing ovation* Thank you for this!
I moved to Atlanta from Chicago a year ago, so I wasn’t used to hearing this much nonsense from fellow white people. As a white woman, other white people assume it’s ok to say racist things against other people to me. At first, I would respond angrily, like “The world *should* not revolve around you and your whiteness!! Stop being a part of the problem!” Then, I tried taking the sweet, Southern position of “Oh, honey, you don’t know what you are talking about, let me help you stop being a complete fool.” But, it is exhausting as not only are most white people unaware of their privilege and power, but they don’t pay attention to racial injustice, so they are super out of touch and try to talk about issues with the assumption that we are all in the same boat and the same rules apply. Nope.
So, Luvvie, Keep doing what you are doing! Writing about black pride while living in a majority culture that doesn’t think you should be proud is not creating an ‘us vs them’ dichotomy. The dichotomy is there already.
You call yourself ‘Awesomely’ for a reason, don’t dim your shine for anyone.
I had similar childhood experiences and I still, looking back, laugh at them. I was usually completely shocked and incredulous. “Wait, did you mean to say that? It sounded totally racist!” Or “Why would you say that?”
I know exactly what you mean about anger vs. “oh, honey” (works!) and how exhausting it is. I have to utilize them in Baltimore all the time. You keep it up in 404 and I’ll keep trying at 410.
This proves what I’ve been saying for years. White supremacy was never created because whites thought they were surpreme. It was created because whites are insecure and feel inferior to blacks. They never thought they could be powerful unless they took opportunity away from us for fear of us being better. They never thought they could be beautiful unless they made me feel ugly. That my friends is insecury 101 and the world fell for it. Once we remove ourselves and have self love, ownership of things there would be no white supremacy. If we let the world know we loved ourselves and took control of our buying power who would white supremacy have to be superior too?
That last paragraph was
SO MUCH YES.
This video, and subsequent post, were my absolute favorite things you’ve ever done. Thank you sooo much for this.
I love you Luvvie
Can’t thank you enough for laying it out calmly and professionally. My reply would have basically said, Whatever, B$:/$!! I have zero patience or tolerance.
It seems we can’t do or say anything with “them” having a problem with it. It’s getting worse and I am sick of it and them.
Exactly! I also have no tolerance left for this kind of BS, anymore. By this point, anyone who is in the mindset of of the woman who wrote to Luvvie is being willfully ignorant or one of those “concern trolls” you see in the comments section of every story where an unarmed, unthreatening black person is being shot down for being black.
Thank goodness for Luvvie, who, as usual, seems like she took a stroll through my mind when she wrote this!
Everything we need right now. “For the whole world”
I’m about to be tore out the frame for this comment, but I think you were a bit too harsh. Make no mistake, I agree 100% with the theme of your article. I love your blog. But this woman opened her email with a compliment to you. Possibly so that her view wouldn’t be taken so negatively. She voiced her feeling about the tone of some recent articles but still wished you well. I didn’t sense an agenda other than to dialogue with you about a view from the other side.
We don’t have to agree with her view, but to use the “really bitch” gif seemed harsh. Again, she is your FAN and expressed her admiration for your craft. You can dislike her statement and make an excellent counter point without dogging her like she called you out your name.
Anyhoo…I thank you for your wit, intelligence, and skill at helping me stay woke.
Nope. She was not too harsh. Idiot Girl has clearly lived too sheltered a life and she needs to wake the fuck up and understand that there are more important things in life than what TONE you use.
I’ve also been tone-policed more times than I can count, in the context of sexism–men are put off by me, women play Man Appeaser and correct me. No. Hell no. We live in a world where a man can beat the shit out of his girlfriend and then parade her naked in the cold because she supposedly cheated on him and other so-called human beings will cheer him on, don’t DARE tell me I need to soften my TONE.
So I get where Luvvie is coming from, even if as a white woman I don’t understand the racial issues she lives with. “Use a nicer tone” is just a few shades away from “shut the fuck up”.
Tone does matter – I’m a black woman, a psychologist who teaches classes on prejudice and discrimination, and it is our collective job to keep the lines of communication open. We can’t learn from each other, and from our past, and from this nation’s past (mistakes and successes, all of them) if we shut people up and make them afraid to ask questions and engage in open dialogue. I love your word “tone-policed,” and I get where you’re coming from – my strong women colleagues have had our fair share of this (“don’t be so aggressive,” “you should be nicer,” etc.) from the administrators and our colleagues. But at the end of the day – we gotta keep those lines of communication open, we gotta let people speak their minds and state their opinions, and ask the hard (and, for them, embarrassing and oftentimes) scary questions. And we have to be willing to educate, and respond in a way that keeps those lines of communication open. Can’t do that if we call them names, shame them, or shut them down. If I called my Latino, and Asian, and White students “Idiots” and told them to “wake up” when I talk about racial prejudice, who does that serve? Making people feel bad, or stupid, or excluded serves no purpose – except to fan the flames of intolerance and fear of otherness. We are here together on this planet – and we will only progress if we can do so together, with understanding. I’m proud to be black, and I’m proud to be a woman, and I’m proud of anyone – regardless of skin color, race, culture, orientation, age, weight, you name the social category – who is open to fair and rational dialogue about these emotionally loaded issues.
I love this blog – and I love the heat and the passion it generates, and I’d just remind everyone that at the end of the day, we’re here on this planet together. And everyone has his or her own struggle – and ain’t no way you can tell the depths or nature of that struggle by looking at that person’s social category.
I’m a white woman, so you don’t need my damb approval, but can I just say you’re one of the best things going in my life? Whenever I get depressed about how fucking stupid white people are, I read you, and then I feel better.
And no one knows how much she benefits from white privilege than me. But when I tell my friends, they’re strangely silent.
Keep on saying what you’re saying.
Some of us are listening.
Yes ma’am! Thank you!
I wanted to mention that I went to my (new–we just moved) local post office. I had to buy new stamps. I asked for Black History stamps, given that it’s Black History month, and I like keeping my stamps timely.
I was told that they didn’t carry any. None. Not that they had run out, but they hadn’t had any in the first place.
When I posted on my Facebook page, do you know the number of people who tried to make excuses? Well, I’m sure you know. But damn. Can’t even get Black History stamps in a southern post office. Who’d of thunk?
Girl, Yaaasss! ( and I think this calls for Sexual chocolate mic drop and exit stage left- why can’t I add a gif when i need one)
“I am not coming to your house to turn off your light because I said I love being a Black woman.”
You’re illuminating the whole world.
I love you! She was waaay out of line. p.s. I’m white. We’re not all like that.
I’m also a white woman, and, like the other lovely women who’ve commented, I thank and applaud you. (How white do I sound? Good Lord.) Last week I talked about you in this exact context: How much I appreciate having your proud Black voice mixed into the very vanilla cultural world I inhabit, and goes much I’m learning about the severely underrepresented Black woman from you and your hilarious commenters.
I’ve been married to a Kenyan man for five years. We live in Tanzania with our two biracial kids. I know you know that black African does not equal black American, but I’m so glad my daughter, who is “white” in Africa and “black” in America, will have women like you to read and listen to.
Stay strong. For every critic, there are an awful lot of us counting on you to keep on being loudly and proudly Black!
You are my negro shero
Please invent a real Fool STFU Gift Basket because that’s the greatest thing I’ve ever heard.
Ignorance is frightening. Just yesterday I had to listen to my mother ranting about how she loved Beyonce until the super bowl and why don’t we have a white history month, and I’m sitting there like REALLY?? We have 11 white history months.
Perhaps you need to keep some Butthurt Reports in stock to respond to certain emails. 😉
“I read that and closed it, fed up because for being such historical bullies, white people sure are fragile when they feel remotely threatened.”
This said everything – THE TRUTH OF THOSE LAST 15 WORDS helped me exhale.
I honestly think that’s where all our bullying tendencies come from. Feeling threatened over the least little imagined slight. Wanting to make sure no one can ever threaten us again just by, I dunno, looking at us funny or something.
It’d be laughable if it weren’t so unbelievably dangerous. 🙁
If you mess with a mama grizzly’s cubs, that mama bear will stand up and maul the shit out of you.
The only people arguing that a mama bear doesn’t love her cubs are people who think animals don’t have feelings. Also known as “morons” or “dinosaurs”.
You can be speaking from a place of love and still be angry or outraged or aggressive. Mother Nature says so and y’all, Mother Nature has the final word. (You can say God, if you prefer. Same diff.)
I hate tone police. But I am not surprised you have to deal with them.
You are promoting love from a place of love and I love it. Thanks for saying what so many of us are feeling.
This stuff blows my mind too. I don’t get it at all. That song is nothing but the next step for an artist who is one of the blessed and we are gifted to have her work pushing our thoughts and feelings. Honestly I think a lot of the reaction is really just a reaction to ART in capital letters. Art that provokes FEELINGS. Perish the thought! The state of racial politics (and, frankly, art education) in our society is that a lot of foolish, ignorant people think these feelings being provoked mean something about the artist. But really this is just about a 500 year old cocoon being skewered by a master. I love every second of it and wish there was a video of white reactions to Formation. I’d watch that shit with popcorn and a soda. I wish there were white people Formation watching groups so I could attend and troll these people live and in person.
And yes, some of my “cousins” are pathetic. I tell them that every opportunity I get, ha ha.
[…] >>> CLICK HERE TO READ THE EPIC AWESOMENESS <<< […]
I am a Hispanic woman. And I love this blog. Not because of how entertaining it is, but because I feel as though I am learning. I have been so ignorant about the world around me and I feel as though I can begin to understand what people of colour and women of colour go through. Obviously I am not white and I have had my fair of racism but nothing to the point of feeling hopeless. I am beginning to understand what POC are going through and what they are fighting for. So thank you Luvvie, for giving me the opportunity to understand, cry, hurt, and laugh by your side.( I hope no one finds this post offensive or any of the terms or words I used. I am truly speaking from the heart. )
SFGate (online San Francisco Chronicle) did a story about “funniest post-Super Bowl memes.” They didn’t understand my objection to the one that had Black Panther posters in the background, with Peyton Manning in a Nazi uniform and the message “sorry to rain on your Panther parade.” What the hell made this funny? Still no response from them.
A so-called black person accused me of the us vs them argument when Cam Newton was slammed for being tired of the same question (from a different white face) and walked out, and was called “boy” by a known racist. I told her that even though I’ve been slapped any number of times, I haven’t been slapped enough to ignore it.
But some folks have the go-along-to-get-along so deep in the psyche it will require releasing their souls for them to ever understand that freedom is more than a concept.
Glad I was there for the original “Chuchhh” service but being able to read it makes it all the more powerful! Yeah All Laaat!! ^^^^
I realize that I am likely to get french-fried for this, but please know I ask it with humbleness and a genuine desire to know and to grow.
I get this: “[W]hat I have been doing in my writing (and life) is celebrating my Blackness, my love for Black people and my pride . . . . The idea that somehow upholding and affirming my own Blackness, being proud about it, being loud about it, is some type of anti-white statement will never stop blowing my mind.” I mean, I _think_ I get it, as much as I can as a white girl.
But where is the celebration of Blackness, of Black people, and Black pride in this: “[F]or being such historical bullies, white people sure are fragile when they feel remotely threatened”? How is that not exactly the sort of “us v. them” undertone your email correspondent was so foolish as to mention?
I’m not picking a fight, I am genuinely asking. Thanks for your patience.
Never have I seen these kinds of sentiments expressed so perfectly without collapsing into patronizing SJW claptrap. Are you sure you didn’t compose this essay first and video it later? 🙂
Love this. It echoes almost exactly the discussion held at a conference I watched this weekend (well, except for the Beyonce bits). Talking about building bridges and being willing to ask questions like ‘what does this mean to you?’ and listening, really listening.
Love this! Thank you. I am white and will be sending this to all of my white friends who are just a hot mess right now and making me so very angry. And, if you run into anyone complaining there are no white people in the video. There are. The line of cops are white.
Hail, hail, Luvvie! The Grand Slam of posts!
I read the title and immediately took my seat in the second row of pews on the left because I just knew you were about to take me to church. Girl! GIRL! If I wrote down my favorite lines from this post I’d be copying and pasting the entire thing in my comment. This. is. ERRTHING! This whole piece just made my day. If I had a $1 for every time I wanted to yell out “IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU” since Saturday my tail would be paying off every student loan I got. Luvvie please stay doing you! You give me life with every post.
Well said ! Go Naijagal! I personally love your blog and you know what I am rocking my natural hair. Being proud of who you are must be celebrated nothing to be ashamed of. Being proud of who you are and going for your goals is important because you have to love yourself before anyone else cares. And if there are people who do not love you, well so be it. Dust it off! Stay blessed, Sister!
[…] done that song, no one else is brave enough) and Black Pride vs White Pride. Check out the post HERE, it’s a little lengthy but totally worth the […]
Good stuff. People are so used to sailing through life that the least little ripple makes them panic. We’re not trying to minimize your struggles, dammit! Just pointing out some stuff that’s invisible to you.
p.s. It’s “up in arms”, not “up and arms”.
“I am not coming to your house to turn off your light because I said I love being a Black woman.”
Please come over and you can do whatever you want with the lights. I adore you Luvvie. You make me think, you open my eyes and most importantly you make me laugh harder than just about anyone.
I’m whiter than a paper sack of bleached flour so I know my thoughts on all this don’t mean jack. But I wanted to say that I love watching this “movement” (is that what it is?? I don’t want to use the wrong word) unfold. I love watching the pride and the confidence and yes, I love watching my asshole white “friends” squirm (my facebook friend list has taken a beating and god help me there’s more to come).
Reading this transcript made me cry. Because I read your anger and your frustration but more so because I read your YOU-NESS and I love, love how your self-love comes shining through in everything you say and do. Even when you’re writing humor it is done in such a way that brings people together. Reading your comment sections on facebook always makes me feel like a girl looking through a window at a fabulous party…I can hear the laughter and see the smiles. Cripes I can smell the food!
It makes me happy to see other people loving on themselves. As it should be for everyone.
Keep on doing what you do so well, Luvvie.
I’m white. I’m 41. I’m a wife and mom. My son dates a girl who has a black father and a white mother. I’m a teacher who has students of many races, genders, socio-economic statuses, and beliefs. I live in a world I have to share with people who aren’t like me, who don’t see the world as I do, who have not experienced the privilege I have enjoyed or perhaps have experienced more. And it’s my job, and all our jobs, to talk this shit out, listen, and get uncomfortable when our collective selves been actin fools for hundreds of years. Get over it people. Be grown ups. Listen, change, or STFU and crawl back under your rock. And to the white lady who emailed someone about how to write and express their own feelings, I’m embarrassed for you and of you.
“We are not supposed to be in this world just so that people can digest us easier” and all the rest of this post makes me LOVE YOU LUVVIE and I feel this post IS love. As you so aptly say, Love is understanding. For flawed white liberals like me, remember it like Luvvie tells it here: Love is not burying your head in the sand. Love is knowing our history and taking whatever shred of responsibility we can manage for the legacy of white supremacy that whiteness is based in. Know your complicity, own up to it, and heal it the best you can, people. Only then will you truly feel the love.
I just have to take a moment, breathe and allow these words the space and time to not only continue to resonate in my spirit but just become a permanent part of my mind. THIS. RIGHT. HERE. Phenomenal. Thank you Luvvie for composing, writing and giving life to our anthem of Blackness. Love this.
I’m white. I will never know what it is like to be black. I love your writing, and know that while I can feel compassionate, empathetic, and disgusted with what my race has done to yours, I will still never know what it is like to be black, grow up as black, or deal with everyday life with dark skin. That doesn’t change how much I love reading your work, and hope that someday we can continue to see each other as being equal , celebrate diversity and never hear of racism or prejudice again. I pray for that day. Keep writing.
Yellow Starbursts… now I’m drooling.
The only good thing about that stupid woman writing her email to you is that it inspired YOU to write THIS, and I got to read it and learn that you exist. I’ll be your newest follower. LOVE it! <3 <3 <3
Luvvie, I am so very sorry that happened. When black people have pride that doesn’t mean they’re shitting on white people. I’m white and I get that, and I don’t understand why so many other white people don’t. It isn’t such a difficult concept.
By the way, I’ve been reading your posts for a while now and I love them. You’re awesome, Luvvie. Don’t let dumbasses of any skin color get you down!
Seriously, that chick has some nerve to fix her fingers to tell YOU what to write on YOUR OWN blog. *sucks teeth*
I’m a white female, so while I don’t know what it’s like to experience racism, I do my best to listen to and understand the struggles from friends who do know what it’s like to be black in America. That being said, you deserve a round of applause for this article. I’m not saying I’m perfect, but I try not to be ignorant of my privilege or be tone deaf. I really make a conscious effort to see the world through eyes that are different than my own. However, this week, I’ve seen a lot of ignorance coming from my fellow white Americans. It’s extremely ugly and I’ve gotten in many fights with people over them saying stupid stuff like “white privilege doesn’t exist” or “all lives matter.” I could go on and on about the stupid things I’ve heard, but I’d rather say a few things about Queen Bee herself:
I think Beyoncé is an amazingly talented and intelligent artist. I love how she’s not afraid to stand up for what she believes in even if it means getting flack from the bigots. I love how she’s proud of her Southern heritage and that she recognizes that black people are beautiful and have worth BECAUSE of their blackness. I admire her homage to the birth of the Black Panthers, and to people like Huey Newton and Bobby Seale who made it okay for black Americans to defend themselves against the fear and violence that they faced. As a white women who will never truly know what it’s like, I admire every bit of it and think she’s a bad bitch for it.
“So I promote love in that I promote understanding.”
Yes. This. So profound! So many people want to skip over the messy racism of our country’s history and jump straight to “all is forgiven”. But there cannot be love, at least real love, without understanding.
Breathe. I can BREATHE!!! You’ve said everything I’ve been trying to vocalize since the Super Bowl and my fb page lit up w/white tears and rants against Bey. I listened to you live, as I got ready for work (you made me late). Then listened again when I got home. I read this piece out loud cuz you’ve said EVERYTHING when explaining the difference between Black Power/Black Pride and White Power/White Pride. And said it so much more eloquently than I could have. Then you end it w/love and understanding. Brought tears to my eyes. I’ll be sharing this on my fb and Twitter pages and emailing it to all my friends. In the morning, when I know they’re online. ????
Thank you! You are Awesomely Awesome!
Black Girls Rock! Black Pride! Black Power! Black Girls Code! Black Love! and my new favorite Unapologetically Black!
Yaaaassssss this gives me LIFE. I am a white woman as well. I LOVE this. Thank you for putting into words why you can’t yell white power and white pride. I’ve never been able to articulate that well to other white people, but THiS. YES. I’m definitely not you’re “basic” white girl, I have been surrounded by black people and culture for a long time. I fell out of my chair when all this Beyoncé anti police racist shit came about. I watched the video and was like damn there she is with her baaad ass again. And I guess I’m just so oblivious or just give zero fucks I didn’t even bat an eye at the black panther outfits. Yes. I never feel offended when someone says black is beautiful, black girls rock… I know I’m beautiful and I rock too but the world already celebrates me. This was the shit right here!
YES. I think a lot of white people just can’t handle that not everything in the world is *for* us. It’s embarrassing and childish (and racist, that should without saying).
Frankly I think it’s incredibly gracious of you to even give this amazing response to such whininess.
Appreciating that you gave a shout out to similar LGBT struggles. I read recently something Toni Morrison said about writing under the “white gaze.” It really resonated for me due to the fact that I have lived most of my life under the “straight gaze.” F*(# that. I’m exhausted. Straight people can either take me as I am, or not at all.
Thank you for this!!!!!!!!!!!
[…] new song formation and what it all meant for ‘black’ people. You can find the post here. A very heated piece with a strong message which I would love to share my thoughts […]
I feel I’m a baby in the world of feminism. I want to know if it’s always going to be this hard to battle with privilege or if it’ll get easier.
Personally I find it stupid for people to be offended by not seeing a white person in a music video or seeing a bunch of beautiful ladies with natural hair at the super bowl? Who cares? Let people be happy! If you don’t like it, turn your head the other way. You don’t have to see the same beautifully empowered people we do. You don’t have a right to wreck their lives and their movement just because you feel like your toes are getting stomped on.
Because “white” isn’t a culture. Irish is a culture, German is a culture, Russian is a culture. No one’s protesting at German-American heritage festivals or St. Patrick’s Day parades that all of this white heritage crap is racist, because it isn’t. “White pride” isn’t a pride in any culture but the culture of racism, segregation, and Jim Crow: it’s a direct response to black civil rights and it’s an attack specifically on black people (and other POC). “White power” in its historical context means oppression of nonwhite people, it doesn’t mean “improve the situation of my specific cultural group” the way “black power” does. It drives me nuts to see other white people not getting this. Maybe, as a Jew, I have a little more perspective on it, because I know what it feels like to be “other” even though as a white American I’m also privileged in many ways.
I’m rambling – my point was, great essay, loved it. And Beyonce is great – I’m not a big fan of her music in general, but loved this song and video, love her commitment to racial justice and to feminism and to activism in general. It’s always good to see celebrities use their powers for good and not evil.
Great article! I appreciate the post and the perspective check for me. As a white woman living in the Northwest, I don’t always feel like I understand everything that goes on. I want to listen and learn, so I really, really appreciate this blog post. Now I’ll have to catch up on some of your other posts.
Thank you for this beautiful piece. As a white man, I can understand how white people not only feel “hurt,” but also scared that we will lose the levels of power, voice, and space afforded to us by virtue of our privilege, appropriated as a result of 100s of years of crimes against humanity. Someone who looks like me needs to commit to showing up for Black lives, not to be a savior or rescuer, but as an ally and supporter in the redistribution of social capital that MUST happen, if any of us are to be OK. Giving up social capital may sound noble, but it isn’t, because it was never mine in the first place. And anyone who is honest will admit that it hurts–and that’s how it tries to remain in place and preserve the institutionalized status quo in which it is situated. That “hurt” (for someone like me) is the feeling of something vital happening. Bring on that hurt, so something much, much greater can heal. Thank you again for reminding me (and others) about all of this.
Another whitey weighing in… a) Bravo and great essay. b) Favorite rebuttal: “I always operate from a place of love. My name is Luvvie.” Boom. c) The hard truth every white person [who isn’t already a total racist] has to face is that we are soooo hungry for acknowledgment that we’re ‘one of the good ones.’ We want credit for being allies, which is not really the point of being an ally. We want a gold star for the doing the most basic work. That’s what’s behind all the ‘my feelings are so hurt’ white tears comments– it’s white people being afraid they’re not going to be seen for who they are, but are going to be lumped in with all those other dumb white people who aren’t enlightened and who don’t read your column and etc. (Imagine: being lumped in with everyone who looks like you, without being judged on your individual merits! DO YOU KNOW WHAT THAT’S LIKE??? #irony)
As you pointed out, we have a talent for making even Black power and Black History about us and our relationship to it. It’s the awful by-product of living in a world that is so white-centric, the tiniest shift away from that model feels to a lot of white people like some kind of attack.
I want so badly for us to move forward, as a people and a culture. But to do that, ALL white people, including me, have to stop trying to grab credit for being enlightened every time we take a baby step towards real equality. We have to stop piping up and asking Black people to include us and our feelings in their every conversation, and in any celebration of themselves. We have to stop being that actress at the party who thinks everyone hates her until they call her pretty.
I read this whole thing and loved the entire post, spoke to my soul. You said everything that I’ve thought. There’s a real slave master mentality, whether they know it or not, when they ridicule or wag a finger at anyone celebrating their blackness. There’s nothing anti-white about being pro black. Thanks for this.
One of the worst articles I’ve read
First of all I will never, ever, pass a brown paper bag test. I totally understand every thing you said as a fellow writer. However, I do take issue with Beyonce’s sudden declaration of her black pride and the timing (Blank Panthers, Superbowl, World tour, etc.) and the fact that she says she likes her baby’s hair in an afro and her man’s Jackson nostrils, but wears 5 feet of braided blond extension and contours her nose Latoya-style with make-up. She’s the only blonde one in the video. Black pride?
As a white girl raised in the buckle of the Bible Belt in the south, I think the sheer ignorance and racism of other white folks getting all pissy about Beyoncé or Obama is repulsive. They just don’t get it. They think because something didn’t happen to them means it never happens to anyone.
They also hold this mentality of “I never owned slaves or chose to partake in KKK lynchings, so no one should suggest that present-day white people have a problem.” It’s so obvious. The writing is on the fucking walls! We benefit from our ancestors who did heinous acts. That’s why a white male is significantly more likely to get a college education than a black male.
Then there’s the idea that white privilege doesn’t exist. Just because someone is poor, doesn’t mean they don’t have other advantages. When we get pulled over, we can rest assured that it was not due to the color of our skin.
Maybe we need to learn empathy. Maybe we need to stop listening to dumb fucking rhetoric. Maybe we need to drop assumptions about a situation. There are a multitude of things we need to do in the white part of society to fix this astronomical problem.
I feel shame for what we have done. It’s not right. Until we decide that the problem is important enough to address as a nation (since the majority is white people), nothing is going to change. It’s disheartening. Unfortunately a lot of people are beyond ignorant. They’re morally bankrupt.
Well, this white girl just read your post and all I can say is RIGHT ON, Luvvie!! My friend Jenny (The Happy Hausfrau) gave you a shout-out for this post and just from the title, about “loving blackness while hurting white people’s feelings,” I thought I’d probably agree with you 100%. Actually I was wrong — it was more like 120%! (And I subscribed to your blog because of it.) I am also sick and tired of white folks who seem to think every time an African American makes any kind of statement asserting pride in who they are, it’s an “insult” or a “threat” to white people. That is bullshit, plain and simple! Look…when a white person says that, or for that matter when they claim white privilege “doesn’t exist,” that says something pretty bad about THEM, not the black folks they are cutting down. They’re the ones who really need to read your words and take them to heart…and of course, they’re the ones who won’t, probably. Anyway. Glad I found you, and you keep right on keepin’ on like this!
[…] further (better) reading on this subject, I recommend Awesomely Luvvie’s About Writing While Loving Blackness and Hurting White Feelings and Everyone Wanted to Be a Black Girl until Beyonce Dropped Formation at The B3 Chronicles. Both […]
[…] 8. Why celebrating blackness isn’t “anti-white.” […]
[…] About Writing While Loving Blackness and Hurting White Feelings by Luvvie Ajayi […]
[…] Luvvie’s Article […]
Luvvie, you’re an amazing leader. Amen. #RaisesHandstoSky. Thank you.
I guess there’s a small chance someone will read this comment, so why not… I can’t help but question Beyoncé’s motives- I’m thinking public image is playing a huge part. Last month, she wasn’t dark-skinned or African enough (http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/why-rumored-beyonce-saartjie-baartman-biopic-riled-some-critics) and this month she’s some sort of demi-god for dressing her dance crew like black panthers. Seems suspect to me. On another note, the African chief that denounced her said “She lacks the basic human dignity to be worthy of writing Sarah’s story, let alone playing the part,” and that the role should go to an African actress… and Beyoncé should only play American women. At what point do we get over the childish crap that only Africans can play Africans and only black people can whip and nae nae? Because I am sick of white people getting crazy about black pride, and not even trying to get what it’s about. I am sick of living in a society where blacks are murdered by cops at an exponential rate to whites. I am sick of all the hurt feelings on every side. I can’t even be a white person in support of black rights and black equality without taking heat from everyone on the planet for not saying all the words exactly right and not tiptoeing through the tulips. I’d love to have conversations about race- but too often we are just reciting our monologues at each other.
[…] About Writing While Loving Blackness and Hurting White Feelings, Awesomely Luvvie. PREACH. […]
Can we please make this piece required reading for white folks? Yes, I’m a white girl; I do my best to be aware of my privilege but like all priliveged people I need a reminder from time to time and this is a timely, important one.
Luvvie, you’re inspiring, hilarious, thoughtful, and so much more. As a white person reading your blog (both your pieces on race and your pieces that make me cackle like a drunk hyena), I’ve never once felt that you disparage or disrespect us. If other white folks can’t read your work and learn from it, I’m sorry for them. They’re missing out on powerful insight and potent humor.
Well I made my way to your site from a referral due to a comment I made on Gertrude’s site (see below). After reading your posting things are put into more perspective. I am winding down in my life and grew up in the old days with JFK and MLK. This might not sink in however it does have some bearing. All I see in your posting is nothing anything different than one person trying to promote one’s religion on another of a different faith. However as we all worship the same God (being an American) is nothing more than a dog chasing his own tail not knowing it is his. My pereception on your writings is that you can not get out of past. I do challenge you to give me names or examples of someone telling you that being black is a liability (the world telling you this???) If the world is saying this, then being an American is a liability also. I can go very deep into this and if I did I surely will be labeled as a racist which I am not. I am just a hard working honest American. this can cure the soul and the homefront. Here is what I said to Gertrude and she passed me to you. Well Gertrude, I am a so called WHITE guy and what to throw my two cents in about the Beounce militant superbowl statement. first i woiuld like to say that the 400 years of black stuff is old, and it will only get older as the centuries pass. This is america, and most people that came here came due to a repressive situation in their lives. this is what america is all about. Some blacks want to make their statement as do the hispanics, chinese, (that were slaves to the railroaders), the indians (which were totally screwed over), and of course the whites as they are called. Is it really anyones fault in our current time of all these things that happened centuries again? Is it not enough that the civil war saw 500k americans die to change the slavery issue (amoung other issues between the north and the south)? The success of an american is thru family values, education (if you can get thru high school you can succeed in america), hard work, honesty, and obey the laws of the land. I grew up in the days of JFK and MLK and still base my character on their preaching. Not what america can do for you but what you can do for america, and judgement of a person by their charater and not color of skin. Well guess what, this is in denial and reversel. It seems that everything is wanted to be given, and charactor is off the chain. Blame it on the White man, fine, but it does not change perception which rolls out to be reality in the percieved eyes. Yes we have issues will bad cops, corrupt politicians, and most of all very poor parenting. If we can clean up the gangs, the drugs, get family values back on track teaching morals and charactor, we have a chance. Now the New Black Panther Party / muslim coneection with it, along with the Farrakhans, Jacksons, Sharptons, and any other group that promotes militant behavior to include riots, murder, racist talk, and the disregard for our laws and the prevention of law enforcement to enforce the laws will only be dealt with in similiar manners. Sorry, but you have to earn respect, and you do this by being an american with values, integrity, honesty, and work hard without the free stuff which only drags the infrastruce down to include our biggest resource SCHOOLS. None taxed drug trade money alone could fix the inner city problems if all the people in the business just worked an honest living. Looking back 400 years will not fix todays or tomorrows problems. Family, education, and hard working americans will. Their is no AFRO, CHINESE, HISPANIC, IRISH, FRENCH AMERICANS, JUST PLAIN OLE AMERICAN.
http://conservativeblackchick.com/blog/new-book-con-job/ this girl is good, she is more 21st century.
[…] it features politically charged imagery focused on the lives of African Americans. As blogger Luvvie Ajay elucidates: “…some white people can only tolerate Blackness when it’s tame and timid. When […]
[…] it features politically charged imagery focused on the lives of African Americans. As blogger Luvvie Ajay elucidates:“…some white people can only tolerate Blackness when it’s tame and timid. When […]
[…] Ajayi : I first encountered Luvvie through a Facebook Live video that she made about the topic discussed in this article. She is strong and unafraid and does not care about making her writing easy for white people to […]
As the white mother of a ten year old Black daughter: YES. And THANK YOU. And tears.
Love and prayers.
Um… I love you. Yes I’m black, female, a mom, sister, wife, straight, middle class, African American… and I love you. Thank you.
Luvvie, thank you. Thank you for writing this, for expressing what is in my heart everyday (and with gifs!)
I live in Barbados and our racism is fierce and special but I will keep talking about it and keep making folks mad. Can’t stop, won’t stop. You inspire me to keep speaking my truth.
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful! And I will add, if they think about it, most white people know you can celebrate your culture without it being perceived as denigrating others. Think about the white folks who wear, “Kiss me, I’m Irish!” buttons on St. Patrick’s Day. No one looks at them and accuses them of being anti-black or anti-Asian or anti-English or any other group. Because they’re celebrating their Irish ancestry.
And lest anyone think otherwise, I will co-sign the fact that “white pride” falls in a totally different category, because it has always existed to oppress the non-white. If it didn’t have that history, it might be different, but here we are.
I love this so much! I love this post! I love you for posting it. We, as a group, need to stop being so damn delicate about this. Yes, it is about race, yes it needs to be said, and more than that, it needs to be heard by white people. We need to hear it and sit with it and figure out how to do our part to fix it, not go running off with our feelings hurt. We need to do better.
P.S. Beyonce SLAYED me with Formation. Work. Of. ART. So amazing and powerful. F%*& the nay-sayers, because they don’t mean a thing.
You #Slayed in 50-11 Shades of Black!
Someone [White] on Twitter just came at me sideways saying:
“I find that there is no difference in a human, so sorry that you still have to fight about color”.
Huhn? I wasn’t even aware of the original tweet. I’d only been tagged with 2 others, by ppl I don’t even know.
[…] the scope of my pride, and […]
Well Luvvie, Im a white gay man who is not at all offended by your words and wisdom! I agree G!! Consider my ass subscribed!! I look forward to reading more of your important, not to mention entertaining, wordsmithory!!
Big love, peace!
[…] to not hit my head on the brick wall of willful ignorance (my own and […]
[…] to not hit my head on the brick wall of willful ignorance (my own and […]
[…] About Writing While Loving Blackness and Hurting White Feelings, Awesomely Luvvie. […]