Project 21 New Visions

Stacy Washington

To Improve Race Relations, Don't Suppress Your Race


by Stacy Washington (bio)

 

Writers at Salon.com are a very unhappy bunch.

Salon features articles about how depressing it is to be an American, how much life sucks for various victim groups and how everyone on the right side of the ideological spectrum is a liar. You get my drift.

So I wasn't shocked to see a piece by Priscilla Ward talking about suppressing herself to please white people. Being the braver sort, I dove in ready to be enthralled by her tales of liberal woe.

It actually wasn't fun reading about Ward's angst-laden days and insistence upon sustaining a double life. Her account both angered and saddened me.

Ward describes herself as having two personas. When she's around her white roommates, she seethes with hidden rage while "filtering" herself to talk white and say things she assumes white people want to hear. The other persona is the real Priscilla, who loves her blackness and craves being in a black world where she is comfy and safe and never challenged.

It's not a groundbreaking revelation. There are people who are more comfortable in this faux reality. What is revelatory is her open admittance that she isn't a trustworthy person who presents her best face to everyone she meets, regardless of race.

Ward hides her love of fried chicken from her roommates, yet doing so feeds her rage. My reaction is to wonder why she assumes her roommates would hate to see her cook and consume fried chicken. Wouldn't those hungry guys queue up for a few wings?

She said she censors her speech, but where's the sense in saying "hello" when "hey girl" works just as well if that is what you prefer to say?

Being real with others gives them the opportunity to truly know you. Oh, right. I'm forgetting. Every black person must act "black" when around blacks and act "white" when among whites.

What?

How about getting a secure grip on the Queen's English and utilizing it judiciously as if your very life depends upon it? Then, for fun, employ a bit of slang around those you believe would enjoy it. That's how I roll. I've been told that my use of slang isn't very good, but I'm working on it.

Being angry about filtering herself, as Ward describes it, is a total waste of energy. It's shameful, really. If she worked as hard on earning more money, she wouldn't need the white roommates she apparently hates.

I don't mean to insinuate that I don't tire of being queried about my hair or our family's eating habits or even how often I groom our children. It can become tiresome. But any thinking person can realize people ask questions when they are interested. There's no reason to assume someone has malicious intent unless there's proof.

Instead of lamenting questions, answer them gracefully. We can improve the situation by sharing information about ourselves.

She holds one roommate's lack of knowledge about events in Ferguson against him.

I wonder if Ward's low-information roommates have read her soul-baring Salon piece? Have they had the chance to see their personal interactions reduced to the flick of a well-played race card? If so, have they told her they're moving out yet?

The deeper meaning of Ward's piece is that, no matter what, whites can never win with her or any of the "Black Lives Matter" adherents, for that matter. It seems she refuses to check the FBI statistics on black deaths in police-involved shootings to find that black men are not shot every 28 hours (they aren't even shot by police every 28 days) in America. There's really no accounting for irrational negativity towards a couple of white dudes not smart enough to realize they live with a race-obsessed narcissist.

We all have our grievances, hurts and slights, delivered to us at the hands of others, that we believe are undeserved. In her piece, Ward longs to "crawl back into my tiny black universe." She rails against the "unintentional ignorance of white people," yet refuses to be her real self with the white people in her life. How can those poor schmucks she lives with learn about her without asking questions, engaging in conversation and observing her in their home together?

She could share so much with them, yet Ward chooses to attack them in the most passive-aggressive way: online, in public and without offering them the opportunity to respond or defend themselves.

This behavior is typical of the aggrieved minority mindset. Priscilla Ward and those like her don't focus on their goals and where they are headed. They're stuck having "mental temper tantrums" ugly things to endure, and certainly unnecessary.

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Stacy Washington is a member of the national advisory council of the black leadership network Project 21 and hosts a talk radio show on KFTK-St. Louis. Comments may be sent to [email protected].

Published by the National Center for Public Policy Research. Reprints permitted provided source is credited. New Visions Commentaries reflect the views of their author, and not necessarily those of Project 21, other Project 21 members, or the National Center for Public Policy Research, its board or staff.


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