A while ago, I was on the Black Witch Tumblr and saw a reblog from another Black blog about how the term “PoC” (Person of Color) can be really annoying sometimes and I jumped in and added that I agree because PoC can erase individual racial identification whereas “White” is still a standalone. Normal day on the BW Tumblr, right? That’s until the White Opinions started rolling in.

hey man i saw your post about how being called a “POC” is offensive. i’m white, so i don’t know shit about racism and can’t decide what’s offensive to you and what isn’t. to compare, as a gay woman, i find this new term “queer” (used to describe everyone on the LGBT spectrum) offensive, as do many others. do many people share the same thoughts on the term “POC”?

– chihiroschurros

Hi, I happened across your blog on accident and I have to say that your analysis of the term POC is pretty damn interesting. Honestly, I’ve always had an issue with that term. Hell, I’m a white male and every time I or someone else used it it always made my skin crawl and I had no idea why. Now I do. I know for certain that if I wasn’t white, I sure as hell wouldn’t want to be referred to as that, and I’m sorry that people have used that to refer to you. It’s actually slightly dehumanizing.

– elegyforafez

See what I have to deal with?

I responded to them both in a super snarky way because, eh, it’s usually tough to explain to Whites how racism effects minorities because they go (conveniently) temporarily stupid and unknowing about the existence of Google so might as well express my opinion fully, even if they don’t get it. That and I wanted to nip any future White opinions before they could come in because it isn’t uncommon for White folks to latch on like a bedbug to the one minority that will put up with their bullsh*t. Especially in minorities-only discussions such as the term of PoC.

I responded to chihiroschurros with this response (wouldn’t be surprised if she thought you couldn’t be gay and not White at the same time) and to elegyforafez with this really scathing response because hey, White folks have a difficult time understanding the comment “Not your discussion, be quiet. And you’re dead wrong anyways, thus why you should be quiet,” I figure that tone and snark would help them understand that hey, maybe they should have been quiet in the first place and kept their White Opinions to themselves.

Oh and one responded to me with this

Oh. Well. Sorry to offend you.

– elegyforafez

What a dingbat. Here was my response. He thought I was offended? Nah. I wasn’t offended, he’s just really annoying with throwing in his opinion – actually assumed he had a place to present one – and if I wasn’t viper, he was probably going to go “hurrrrrr durrrrrrr, I didn’t get any of that. Duuurrrr” like White folks generally do when faced with explanations of why what they said/thought/did was incorrect.

Now for folks who are going, “but they’re just opinions, how is it White opinions? You’re categorizing by race too!” Yeah, the categorizing is on purpose, think of it like the term “mansplaining”, where a guy tries to explain a simple concept but heavily injected with sexism. “White Opinions” are intruding opinions in a subject that generally concerns and primarily affects minorities and White people who express their opinion automatically assume it is the highest opinion or the most authoritative because, well, they’re White. They’re a little too used to their privilege and think that since they’re speaking to minorities, they have the highest word.

It is very important for everyone to understand that in group conversations about race, religion or whatever, if you’re the one with the privilege, it is important not to invade that space and try to dominate the conversation or even inject an opinion that’s not necessary. A White person didn’t have to express how they felt about the term PoC because 1) it’s not their place to determine what we should be called and 2) we minorities already know how Whites feel about using terminology to describe someone’s race and/or ethnicity and given their track record, we really don’t want to hear any more of their thoughts and ideas. Notice in both Asks, the person pretty much implied “Oh my god, I think PoC is degrading, too!” which is really insulting because it tells me that they think PoC is insulting but I bet if the word us Black tumblrs was talking about was the N-word, they would either be silent or go “Hey, a word is a word! People should be able to use that word [especially us White folks because we really want to call you that, oh man, ur so mean. Weeeeeeeh, you’re infringing on my first amendment rights by not allowing me to freely use hate speech, this isn’t what our forefathers died for].” Let’s you know right there that they have a problem with a term that actually has “person/people” built into the name but if it is a dehumanizing term, oh go nuts.

It’s like if there was a Christian in a Pagan safe space, just trying to “correct” people left and right. Telling us, “Oh no, that’s a sin in the eyes of the Lord” or “Your god doesn’t exist so you don’t have to worry about that” or “I don’t think I have privilege at all, I’m just saying, I don’t think that you should take Creationism out of schools because that would lead to more school shootings! Prayer works – just to Jesus though, none of that devil worshipping you do. That causes them.” Notice the Christian is being remarkably rude because they’re completely disregarding a space that isn’t for them and instead of bowing out, they’re just establishing their religious privilege and down talking everyone else. Think this doesn’t happen? It happens all the time, even on national stages, just let a Black group try to talk about racism and prejudice in America and watch the White privilege start flying in through stereotyping, down-talking or trying to have the domineering opinion in an arena they have no business being in.

Now, how does one deal with encroaching White Opinions?

Here are your options:

A) Ignore them

B) Remind them that this is not their convo and you are not their cultural ambassador

C) Remind and ignore

This is really good because let’s face it, you really don’t want to keep arguing with these people forever because they’re going to use every tactic in the book to make you say that they are right or somehow twist your answer into making it appear that you’re proving them right. Nothing is wrong with saying, “This is my position on the situation and after that, we’re done.” No minority has to be a cultural ambassador to White folks. Ever. Google exists for a reason.

Or you can play racism bingo

racism bingo

Let’s see what I hit:

– “Just a coincidence that it looks like racism”

– “Didn’t Mean It That Way”

– Free Space for “White Opinions SMASH!” (I like using my free spaces early)

– “Only saying what people really think”

Remember folks, if you have privilege in that area (racial, gender, religious, cultural, etc), it’s best to just shut up and listen or strongly risk getting snipped at.