Sunday, December 8, 2013

My Open Letter to Olivia Cole

Hi, Olivia.

Allow me to begin this letter by doing something I suspect is unthinkable to you: I honestly don't give a rat's ass if you're white. That you would begin your "open letter to the three white students who filed a discrimination complaint against their black teacher" by mentioning that only doubles my contempt for you.

Does it stun you to hear that one white person can feel contempt for another? Well, you'd better get used to it.

In a sense, I almost feel sorry for you. You must really think that white people walk around all day wearing invisible knapsacks and high-fiving each other for being white. All the while, hiring all sorts of people solely because they're white. And apparently all the more ready to listen to your "white privilege" tripe because apparently we take things more seriously coming from other white people.

These assumptions about how other people think about race speaks volumes about how you think about race. Who the hell was ever taught that "white is always right?" Were you taught that? Really? Really?

Now, I know these are trying times for you. The push-back against your extreme and socially-corrosive ideology is growing. The more you and the people who share your ideas have attempted to tighten your oppressive fists around the minds of others, the more minds have slipped through your fingers. It's not going to go away any time soon.

Perhaps what stuns even more than your obvious lack of self-knowledge is the sheer extent of your condescension. You have the nerve to lecture these students about their lessons in what you believe the "true" history of the United States is without bothering to acquaint yourself with the fact that Shannon Gibney is supposed to be teaching an English course.

Or perhaps even your assertion that Gibney is trying to make them "better." "Better" than who? "Better" you?

Here's the truly stunning thing. And seeing as how you've revealed that you take what you hear more seriously when it comes from a white person (right?), I'm sure you'll take it seriously indeed.

The people who stuffed your too-empty-by-half mind with this nonsense are oppressing you. And you've internalized your own oppression. And if that makes you feel good about yourself, then so be it. But the least you can do is stop demanding that other people submit to the same oppression to which you've submitted.

If you want to internalize your own oppression, that's fine. Stop demanding the rest of us do the same.

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