“All White People Are Racists”
Recently, transgender model Munroe Bergdorf made the statement that “all white people are racist” which resulted in her being fired from a diversity campaign she was working on with L’Oreal. On a wide scale, the issue of racism is always a sticky subject due to the defensiveness and aggressiveness it usually draws from both sides of the argument. I’m starting this series on “The issue of race” to give my thoughts and opinions but also theoretical solutions to problems. It is one thing to rant and swear about something that is bothering you and a completely different thing to complain but also provide reasonable solutions. I know my ideas will probably go as far as nowhere but it is important to post them anyways.
First things first, please note this in relation to any form of political campaign or statement I ever write about:
As soon as you attempt to contradict a statement in anyway, you are supporting whatever injustice the statement was attempting to tackle.
Personally, I get that it’s about a system that has been put in place to provide a sense of superiorty to most white people. Or at least that is what I took her statements to to mean. The danger with fighting for diversity is reaching a point where, by fighting for your own rights, you dismiss or disqualify pre-existing rights, meaning: the rights of white or heterosexual people shouldn’t be undermined by the rights of coloured or LGBTQ people. You can not fight for equality if you’re not going to be equal during your campaigns and after you win your fight. Now Bergdorf definitely was not trying to do undermine white rights or make them look bad, but she failed to realise that that is how white people would perceive it or at least that is how they would make it look. But the truth is the truth. Here are some top the stamenents she made online in relation to her initial statement that all white people are racist:
“Honestly I don’t have energy to talk about the racial violence of white people any more. Yes ALL white people.
“Because most of ya’ll don’t even realise or refuse to acknowledge that your existence, privilege and success as a race is built on the backs, blood and death of people of colour. Your entire existence is drenched in racism. From micro-aggressions to terrorism, you guys built the blueprint for this s***.
“Come see me when you realise that racism isn’t learned, it’s inherited and consciously or unconsciously passed down through privilege.
“Once white people begin to admit that their race is the most violent and oppressive force of nature on Earth… then we can talk.”
If we fail to be as bold as Bergdorf, how do we bring attention to how society fails us? Do we just accept everything and tamper with the ruth in order to make it sound sweet for the internet and avoid any backlash that comes out way? No. Like Bergdorf we must speak out about societal injustice being prepared for whatever comes our way. Obviously not all people are racist so let me use an example of another statement to explain my point. The phrase “Men are Trash” obviously isn’t in relation to every single man. But it’s a lot easier to spread a feminist movement when slogans are short and simple. Common sense would tell you that women are referring to the system that society has placed us in which allows men to be and feel superior, leading to some men abusing their power. It’s the same with the “all white people are racist thing”. Of course not every single white person out there is racist but that is an easier message to spread than attempting to calculate exactly how many people are racist. That is why I think she said what she said. I don’t actually agree with the plain statement that “all white people are racist”: I understand what she was attempting to say but starting your argument with such a shocking statement is pointless. Whatever she said after all white people are racist became irrelevant because she created a barrier for her own campaign.
Solutions to this problem…
How do we stop people from saying the wrong things to fight serious issues?
Bergdorf was fired as a result of how she put across her views which takes away fro how amazing it was that she was being included in the campaign in the first place. So in terms of people who are like Bergdorf and are provided with a large platform to represent a group of people (whether that is POC or Transgenders), use your platform POSITIVELY. Do not scream shocking statements that will get you fired. How are you supposed ti change injustices in the world of fashion if you’re sitting at home because you got yourself fired from a DIVERSITY campaign?! Change things from within. Let your voice be heard but quite simply don’t be stupid. Its the same “racist” white people who have hired you. You’ve called them all racist and they now do not want to work with you. I understand it but it was stupid.
“Dear White People”…
And in terms of white people: Stop being so defensive. Listen to what we people of colour have to say. We are not making things up when we say the system favours white people. We are also not trying to attack anyone. The planet is large enough for all races and beliefs to inhabit it. We can not do that if every time one group of people point out a problem with another, they get upset and drag people online.
And to both parties, be careful what you say. Think before you speak.