open letter from a progressive white dude to other progressive white dudes defending stephen colbert

arvan's picture

since most of us progressive white dudes do not really don't feel safe being talked to about race by anyone else, I felt compelled to say my piece on this issue as a card carrying white progressive dude.

(note: if you feel compelled to tell me that "not all white progressive dudes are like this and that you are one of the good guys...please don't. like, ever.) 

if you are white, male ID'd and progressive - this letter is addressed to you.

stephen colbert was wrong. he said some racist ass shit and no, it does not matter if "it was just a joke". colbert's response should or could have been

"I am sorry. That was racist. I was wrong to say that. It's not funny."

and then moved on.

instead, he blurted out in bravado, vanity, pomp and circumstance a bit about michelle malkin (the GOP asian girl) in what amounted to him saying "but I'm only joking and republicans are actually bad people"

it was a fauxpology of sarcasm that people would understand if they had a sense of humor. and for this, stephen colbert continues to be wrong.

now, white dudes, it's our turn. our response has been to deny, obfuscate, insult, threaten, demean and belittle @suey_park. and that's some racist ass bullshit.

it doesn't matter one bit about @suey_park or her hashtag or any other hashtag. what matters to us is whether or not we can admit that another white progressive said something racist. and so far, we cannot.

here's the good news: it's human and none of us invented being attached to something and rushing to defend it because we attach our own identity to that thing or that person. it's instinctive and invisible. we've been taught to defend racism for our entire lives.

here's the bad news: it's still racist and we're still doing it and it never goes away. we won't get a certificate some day that says "no longer racist, for the rest of my life".

when stephen colbert said that awful racist joke, we make excuses, we deny and we make counter-accusations. we swear on a stack of non-denominational meditations that because we mean well, that this is OK. it's never OK.

so, stephen colbert has to come clean. he may or may not and only time will tell. but there are a lot more of us out here, making excuses for our own racist actions in this chain of events and talking about anything under the sun except our own culpability and the impact that has on the world that we say that we care about.

that leaves us: the white progressive dudes. we can either keep denying, defending, changing the topic to anything but our role in perpetuating racism or we can turn the lens on our own actions.

if we are not looking at, acknowledging and interrupting our own racism as individuals and as members of the white progressive male groups we gather in - then how fucking "progressive" are we anyway? 

p.s. oh yeah, and to all the white progressive dudes threatening rape to @suey_park - we're not just talking about addressing our racism here.

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