This article originally appeared in Every Day Feminism and you should check it out to get a great breakdown of why this practice needs to stop.
Here’s a quick summary in the meantime.
If you don’t believe whitesplaining is wrong, then you’re missing how the motivation behind whitesplaining is influenced by white supremacy. So let’s unpack the most common reasons why whitesplaining happens, to examine why it’s so misguided.
1. You Think I’ve Got a Fact Wrong (‘Actually…’)
2. You Think My Feelings Are Wrong (‘Be Objective, It’s Not That Bad…’)
3. You’re Concerned About My Approach (‘I Think What You Mean Is…’)
4. You Think You or Someone Else Is Being Falsely Accused (‘But I’m Not a Racist!’)
5. You Heard Another Person of Color Say Something Different (‘That’s Not What I Heard…’)
6. You Want Me to Stop Talking About Racism (‘You’re Being So Divisive’)
Whether you want me to “calm down” so I get my message across, to clarify what I mean so I don’t hurt white people’s feelings, or to stop talking about race so you feel more comfortable, whitesplaining is not the answer.
Because regardless of your intentions, whitesplaining has a damaging impact – silencing people of color, shutting down vital racial justice conversations, and often spreading misinformation.
So rather than upholding an oppressive lie that says people of color need white saviors in order to have reasonable conversations, have some humility. Recognize that you don’t have all the answers, and people of color deserve space to be heard without white people talking over us.
Maisha Z. Johnson is the Digital Content Associate and Staff Writer of Everyday Feminism. You can find her writing at the intersections and shamelessly indulging in her obsession with pop culture around the web. Maisha’s past work includes Community United Against Violence (CUAV), the nation’s oldest LGBTQ anti-violence organization, and Fired Up!, a program of California Coalition for Women Prisoners. Through her own project, Inkblot Arts, Maisha taps into the creative arts and digital media to amplify the voices of those often silenced. Like her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter @mzjwords.