Hold Your Applause

White people don’t deserve to be congratulated for doing the bare minimum. When a white person aims to be anti-racist the first thing they do is expect those of minority groups to hold their hand while they mess up. They are not your parent, your therapist, or your teacher. The checking-in glance to people of color when you want to make sure you said the right thing, the anxiety of not being “politically correct” is not for Black and Brown People to absolve.

Black and Brown people don’t owe white people a damn thing. And yet too often we see white people trying to prove their allyship by showing off how much work they’ve done. They will draw attention to how good they are, and how far they’ve come; then break down when they get called out because they couldn’t possibly still be racist after they’ve done all the hard work of understanding racism at a surface level (/sarcasm starting at possibly).

Being Anti-racist is an active choice at every moment. It comes with mistakes, and pain and tears and screw-ups that you don’t think you will ever get past. Sometimes you will make a mistake. What you do after you make that mistake is what makes you anti-racist. White people shouldn’t expect oppressed groups to praise them for admitting that mistake and doing better. They should accept that being better is an expectation.

Go on your anti-racist journey. And do not expect to be applauded for just being a decent human being. If you expect applause, then why are you aiming to please? Why is seeming racist worse than being racist?

1 thought on “Hold Your Applause”

  1. This blog post is the raw, honest, non-coddling wake up call that White people need. Especially at a liberal arts college that is a PWI, I see many White “liberal” people who seek praise from both people of color and other White people after saying the most basic non-racist or anti-racist thing. I don’t think that enough White people who call themselves “anti-racist” actually take action and to the strenuous work of truly being anti-racist. Your two final questions raise important ideas for all White people to consider. Thank you for being so honest.


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