MarnitaSpeaks
3 min readFeb 20, 2023

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Is this really your first time with the "not all white people thing?" Do you have so few relationships with Black and brown people to not have the common understanding that when most of us speak of "white people" we aren't saying "all white people" we are saying "the white people who behave this way," or "the majority of voting white people," or the "majority of white people who enact laws and make decisions." Or "the majority of white people who have platforms." It just gets wordy to continually always say "not all white people." We do this because it becomes tiresome to say "not all white people" since it would be silly to attribute something to "all white people" and we assume that "white people" to whom it does not apply know that we are saying "the white people who behave this way."

So when someone comes out and says "not all white people" it demonstrates a very specific type of both arrogance and ignorance. Because there is always at least one white person who will do what you are saying whenever someone talks about their trials and tribulations with the dominant culture some white person will come out and derail the conversation and make it all about them. Just as you did. "Not all white people."

It happens continuously. If I speak of racial violence against me 9 out of 10 times if I am speaking with a white person, instead of asking about the impact of the violence, instead of demonstrating thoughtful consideration, the vast majority will spend all of their time focusing on themselves. "I didn't do that," "that has nothing to do with me." "you are being mean to me."

In what other context is that a response to hearing about violence against a person? It simply isn't. But you've been trained by our dominant culture society to believe that your individual feels are more important than actual violence against my body. Your hurt feelings. Your insistence on innocence.

When you responded you demonstrated that the person who centers all conversation on themselves is not a "stereotype" but rather a very specific type of person. You just proved that it's not a "stereotype" but rather a lived and embodied expression.

That's why I said "wow, just wow."

You could have just walked away. What this writer just said didn't limit your access to opportunity. Didn't strip you of your culture. In fact, their writing had zero impact on you and yet you felt a need to stomp your feet and say "not all of us."

We see you solely by your words and behaviors.

So you NEVER have to say "not all white people again." If you don't believe me try this, next time you read a column like this instead of saying "not all white people" ask a question.

You are saying the white people who engage in this behavior is that correct? Although there are a few writers who will say "No I really mean every single last white person on the planet." my guess is you'll discover that what I am saying is true. That all you are demonstrating is that you don't have m/any of us as friends and by centering it on "not all white people."

How many of your white family members and friends actually fought for civil rights? You do know that when MLK Jr was alive the vast majority of white people hated him and thought he was horrible? How many friends do you have that were sent to boarding schools to be "civilized?" How many black friends do you have who were informed not to wear their own cultural hairstyles while Bo Derek was called a 10 for stealing ours? How many times have you heard that orange nail polish is "unprofessional" but pink nail polish is understated and "professional" only to figure out that pale pink is a color that looks better on fair skin and saturated colors like orange look better on dark skin?

You most certainly did center the conversation on yourself. Refusing to engage the material in any way. It's exhausting. It's tiresome.

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MarnitaSpeaks

CEO of Marnita’s Table. Inventor of experience engineering model Intentional Social Interaction (IZI) that rapidly brings people together across difference.