Dear White People,
I’m almost 56 and half years old or to put it another way I’ve been on the planet for 677 months or 2934 weeks. And for each and every unit of those times, I’ve been Black or African American or in my early days, Negro. My expertise in what that means is thorough; it is based on both substantial study and abundant life experience. In other words, there isn’t a single opinion or insight on this matter that I need to have explained to me by you.
So when we’re discussing something I’m working on or considering that involves African Americans who might not have a role on The Wire, don’t tell me “oh no, no one will understand it, it’s not really Black,” which is of course, what a restaurant owner had the temerity to do this week. When I mentioned that he might think more along the lines of the characters found on Black-ish or Scandal, he just rolled his eyes and said “oh, I don’t know what those are, I guess I’m so out of it.” And he charged off to another corner of the restaurant.
I, probably like every other African American if not Afro-diasporic person, am accustomed to being Whitesplained on numerous matters. At my job on the beer aisle of a fancy grocery store, White people tell me all the time things such as all American microbrewed beers contains sulfites or Budweiser has bought Sam Adams but I didn’t recognize the news because it was presented as InBev buying the Boston Beer Company. When I was a cheesemonger white people would often tell me that none of my beloved American cheeses were made from raw milk. When I’d cite chapter and verse of the FDA policy on the matter they’d give me a condescending look and suggest that I get my employer to send me to Europe where I could eat real cheese. I get Whitesplained about jazz and sports too. In all of these cases, I typically tilt my head to let the BS go out the other ear, so I could get on with my life unfettered by the nonsense.
I’ve been Whitesplained about race before, but I decided that this week is the last time, or at least the last time I take it without raging back. I guess after 56 and half years, or 677 months or 2934 weeks, I’ve just run out of patience.