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Dear White People, Being An Ally is More Than Inviting A Black Person To Brunch

It was a typical night on Twitter as I scrolled through memes, funny videos and provocative comments about the impending confirmation of Brett I Love Beer and Sexually Assaulting Women Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Make no mistake about it, I was never under the delusion that Kavanaugh would not be confirmed. Even as compelling and truthful as I found Dr. Ford’s testimony, I am a Black woman living in this nation and if I know nothing else, I know that White supremacy will always fight to preserve itself. So, I sat back and watched Twitter become enraged as the realization hit that White was going to do what White always does, insulate and protect itself. To be honest, it was interesting after months, even years of speaking about race and injustice, realizing that White people still just do.not. get. it. Too many well meaning White people are playing checkers while White supremacy is playing chess and Kavanaugh’s confirmation was the checkmate heard around the world.

I expected White people to take to Twitter in outrage because that is what people do that have been asleep at the wheel for the past 400 years. They make posts saying, “Oh my goodness I have NEVER seen such injustice in this nation,” or “I just ordered a rage pizza, this is no time for a salad” because nothing says let’s fight injustice like eating a pepperoni pizza.

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The tweets were endless as White people particularly White women felt the safety of being feminine and White being stripped away from them.

And then Bette Midler decided to come online with her loud and wrong  tweet.

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How many times do we have to go over this? Women are not the n*gger of the world. EVER! PERIOD. On a White woman’s WORST DAY, she will NEVER be able to understand what it means to be a Black woman. People hightailed it to Bette’s tweet to tell us that she was taking the quote from John Lennon and Yoko Ono because of course, that makes it better.  If we look beyond John Lennon and Yoko Ono, the loosely quoted phrase can be attributed to Zora Neale Hurston’s novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God when she wrote, “De n*gger woman is de mule uh de world so fur as Ah can see.”  And even if they WERE trying to quite Hurston, she said the BLACK WOMAN was the mule of the world similar to Malcolm X’s quote, “The most disrespected woman in America, is the black woman. The most un-protected person in America is the black woman. The most neglected person in America, is the black woman.” Lennon and Ono did NOTHING but WHITEWASH the quote and make it something free love, bra burning White women could swallow down. That is the SAME THING Bette did when she got on her Ambien infused Twitter tirade. 

After several failed explanations (because you know you can just explain away the n-word) and “apologies,” Bette conceded her stupidity and tweeted an apology and stated that she was an ally.

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Really Bette? It rings true then and it rings true now? I know every day that I wake up I appreciate allies that haphazardly use the n-word to prove a point. It’s funny how many people NEVER want to acknowledge injustice that Black people endure daily but as SOON AS THEY ARE OFFENDED it’s “like being a n*gger.” You can’t have it both ways.

Many White “allies” Olympic LONG JUMPED over Black women that were explaining to Bette why her tweet was offensive, to tell her her tweet was just fine, because you know, any time I am offended I need a White woman to explain to the world why I am overreacting.

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White people that have one Black friend that does their makeup love to claim they are an ally. Having a Black friend doesn’t make you an ally. Having a Black person that you sleep with doesn’t make you an ally. Having a Black person in your circle that provides you a service does not make you an ally. Inviting a Black person to your brunch where NO OTHER Black people will be present, does not make you an ally. We appoint the label ally. I can dance the choreography to Single Ladies all day long but until Beyonce calls me her dancer, I am a woman dancing Single Ladies in front of a full length mirror in my bedroom. So, fuck your mimosas and basil and thyme infused scrambled eggs. That doesn’t make you an ally. What I need to know is, are you willing to go to bat for me?

Are you willing to use your privilege for the benefit of others that do not have it?
Are you willing to use your resources on behalf of a Black person, without seeking credit?
Are you willing to stand up and use your voice to diffuse a situation?
Are you willing to advocate for Black people in spaces we aren’t in?
Are you willing to tell your husband, your mother, your sister, your brother that their racist jokes aren’t funny?
Are you willing to speak up online and say, “That is wrong?”
Are you willing to share an article or blog that may make your friends uncomfortable?
Are you willing to read an article or blog that may make you uncomfortable?
Are you willing to take yourself out of the center?
Are you willing to acknowledge history and how you benefit from the horrors of slavery?
Are you willing to sit through a difficult conversation without saying, “Not all White people?”
Are you willing to demand that Black people be at the table when the topic impacts our lives?
Are you willing to stand with a Black mother that has lost her child to police brutality?
Are you willing to support a Black person even if no one is baking you cookies for doing the right thing?
Are you willing to sit back, be quiet and listen?
Are you willing to let Black people lead?
Are you willing to advocate on behalf of Black women that are paid less and you KNOW they aren’t being paid fairly?
Are you willing to step aside so a Black woman that is deserving can have the spotlight?

Or does your self-appointed allyship end by inviting a Black person to an awkward brunch where they are going to be the ONLY Black person, and you think you have done something radical and revolutionary by serving gentrified, grass-fed chicken and gluten-free waffles with agave syrup?

If you be an ally than stand with me, side by side. Be tried by the fire. 

I am not impressed by being invited to your brunches or your dinners. I am not impressed being on display for your friends and family members. What impresses me is this woman who had the courage to stand up.

THAT IS AN ALLY!  Someone that is willing to speak up and  stand up  in the face of opposition. 

Are you willing to do that? 

If not, please don’t call yourself an ally. Just  keep swallowing down your mimosas and eating your lox and cream cheese as you watch the world be engulfed in flames. 

4 replies »

  1. White females are opportunists. The end.

    One would think that they would gang up against THEIR oppressors, but they never do, because they are COMFORTABLE on the FAUX pedestal white boys provide.

    Who came up with this word “ally” in reference to white folk? Because black folk have NO “allies”, sometimes not even other black folk. And those of us who are biracial don’t have black or white folk as “allies”. We all are lone soldiers. People need to wake the f**k up, like you said, Hannah, white only gives a damn about white. Point blank.

  2. Ya’ll have no clue what white people think like. You are just letting your anger speak for you and like Bette Midler found out, you don’t always say the brightest things when your angry. Her intent was good, she just didn;t see the whole picture or did she, The song is not talking about white women, it was meant to represent women of many cultures and believe it or not some women across the ocean have it even rougher than you. I wouldn’t personally have used the quote but you could tell from the rest of her tweet she was furious, But she does not deserve to be called a racist or a white supremacist, You know the difference just like i do who the truly evil are. Don’t just toss aside those that may need a tune up on education. And there are many out there that would do the same as that lady in the video. Throughout her whole career Bette has hired many black singers and musicians…two in fact were band leaders. Several of her best friends are all black like Darlene
    Love, Jenifer Lewis, Patti Labelle, and Aretha Franklin. She helped Luther Vandross get his shot, and she got the Neville Brothers their first record deal, When Darlene Love got inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame she asked Bette to induct her, If you just hate white people then just say it, Own it, Out govt and the two party system is corrupt as hell and they’ve done a horrible injustice to your community but believe it or not even the whites who are much better off are livimg paycheck to paycheck. wages have stayed stagnant for regular people for decades while people at the top collect millions and work everybody to death. Frankly most people don’t know what to do, but things are getting worse and the more of us that can work together in unity the better because something is happening akin to a civil or cultural war and I;m afraid we’re all going to have to march to DC and clean up this mess literally. The media and the govt have tried to sow divisiom to control us by keeping us fighting all the time men vs women, blacks vs white, gays vs straight, religious vs secular, It’s ridiculous because out in the real world it seems we’re nicer except for the real haters. I don’t mean to come off rude because i understand what your saying, I guess the simple version is know you’re real enemies and know which ones need a little fine tuning. Thanks for letting me speak.

    • You came on my blog to give a speech that you already had in your mind. That is the problem with most people. They read to respond not comprehend. 1. I didn’t call Bette racist. 2. I didn’t call Bette a White Supremacist. 3. You mention the song but not where the quote originated (which I included in the blog) but yet you want to explain the quote to me. 4. I am a grown woman. If I hated anyone I am not afraid to say that. I don’t hate White people so nope, I don’t have to own that. 5. I didn’t toss anyone aside. I didn’t cancel anyone. 6. I do not care if Bette has worked with many Black people or that her best friends are Black. That means nothing to me. 7. No one is speaking about White people living paycheck to paycheck. 8. If you want to work towards unity first start with understanding and the first step to that is to not try to explain away everything that I have said and add stuff I never said. 9. You didn’t come off rude but you did come off in a way of someone that isn’t reading to comprehend but as someone with their own agenda. Many people do that. 10. If you truly understood what I was saying that other stuff would have been unnecessary. 11. I don’t live in an imaginary world I live in this one and for me it’s not as nice as you may think. Can we be? Sure we can but we have a long way to go. 12. You must have missed this part Many White “allies” Olympic LONG JUMPED over Black women that were explaining to Bette why her tweet was offensive, to tell her her tweet was just fine, because you know, any time I am offended I need a White woman to explain to the world why I am overreacting. Because you long jumped over an entire blog to write this comment. Perhaps read your last two sentences and work on a little fine tuning. Thanks for reading.

      • I read everything you said and what I was talking about was a synopsis of everything I read over the last 3 days which has been the same old same old which has been hardly anybody taking into account what she intended, The word racist and white supremacist has been all over the place. I dont really care what people were telling her or not, because I know how prejudice works just fine. I also saw and read where the quote came from and that’s nothing new with pop music. Everybody is inspired by someone and things are reinterpreted, borrowed. and yes. sometimes stolen. It’s especially true, like i said, in pop music and i mean that in a very broad way. it’s been like that forever. I mean so much music sounds the same. I wasnt explaining the quote to you. L was explaining what Lennon and Yoko were trying to say anf how Bette probably interpreted. That’s the thing about lyrics and poetry, People bring their own life and experiences and can interpret things in different ways. I’m also learning there is just no way that racism can be defined. Everybody is wrong except for the person who is that race has there own definition and f it seems to be a different answer for each person in that race, I think the fact that she has many black friend and has always hired many black musicians says something. She’s comfortable with black people and she doesn’t hate them. She’s gone into their communities in NY to transform many areas into community gardens where the children can play and parents and single people had a place to go for respite. She and 50 cent became good friends and have partnered together on a few gardens, And yes she gets her hands dirty cleaning up areas and digging in the ground to plant trees and flowers. She just reached her goal of planting a milliom trees in New York and has literally changed the landscape of NY and has brought some beauty to the people. She also volunteers to work with underpriveleged kids in some NY grade school. She’s also teamed with Stevie Wonder to bring music and the arts into some schools, This may not mean anything to you and the countless others who attacked her but she got the message and she apologized for it, i also didn’t have a speech planned. I’m not a writer. I read what you wrote and you express yourself very well, but it just reminded me of what I had been reading the last two days. But at least you didn;t just cuss me out and run me off your page. Maybe I am missing something but I haven’t seen many others like me trying to understand. Sometimes things just click when you leasr expect it to. I just write straight from brain to fingertips, If it came out like a speech it wasn’t It was just a culmination of me trying to explain what I had learned, Sorry i bothered you. I won’t be back. Have a good weekend. My name is Don.

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