Normally I'm not hip enough or motivated enough to comment when things like this happen, but given my post on micro-aggression a few days ago and the fact that I've given myself a hefty writing quota to fill, post#4 of the year is dedicated to +Green Liberation, who identifies not as White, but as Green.
You can find the development of this whole twitter conversation and the development of the #greenpeoplebelike hashtag HERE.
Where to start? I mean, there's so much material here. Many others have already pointed out that there are more constructive ways to personally deal with systemic racism than to choose to no longer identify as White. Unfortunately, as I have previously stated in the aforementioned earlier post, White privilege is something you are born into. Clearly not everyone wants to deal with it.
I think though, that the response we have to people who have difficulty acknowledging this simple truth is incredibly important. (And by we, I'm talking about all of us who felt " I'm Green" was not an adequate response to "I don't identify with White people", nor an adequate response to the issue of race as a sucky social construct that must be pushed against.) Yes, I think she's a little off the mark to think that denying her whiteness absolves her from dealing with the personal and societal responsibilities and inquiry into her privilege that come with her desire for positive social change. Yes, I think she was overly defensive and a bit aggressive, even when there was no clear warranting of it. And you know, this whole "how dare you say I'm racist!" song and dance is starting to sound unfortunately familiar.
BUT (you knew one was coming...)
What about us? How did we respond? How are belittling, disparaging and hurtful comments going to encourage this woman to respond to us with the love and openness we want her to, when we didn't show it ourselves? I include myself in this, as I retweeted, favorited and laughed at my fair share of mocking comments... until I realized that if I were struggling to process my race in a way others couldn't understand I wouldn't like it much if they mocked me like that. It was up to her to openly and honestly examine herself. If we feel she didn't (and I do...), no need to lambast her about it.
To be fair, not every response to this woman was negative. Some were really good openers to safe exploration of this "I see you White/I see me Green" dilemma. These were healthy and helpful.
However, I think in general it's high time we started looking at the way we interact on the internet. If someone is agitated you don't keep bombarding that person with stimuli. You leave one or two statements and then you back off. Let the person think, cool off, process. If the parties still cannot meet in agreement then at least they can be kind to each other.
With the gazillion people commenting on the internet, there really was no opportunity for this to happen. One or two statements multiplied by, oh let's just say a gazillion, adds up to a gazillion different stimuli coming in. I'm not saying we shouldn't tweet and blog and vlog and whatever else we do to share opinions and interact with each other. I just think we should be more mindful of others when we do so.
Even when we know we're in the right, it takes an extra bit of character to look beyond ourselves and love where it's difficult. That is the righteousness that I don't always show, but I always aspire to.