Stuff White People Say

July 18, 2008


Filed under: Uncategorized — jwbe @ 7:15 pm

I am a fan of the book 1984 by George Orwell. The book is about manipulating truth.
Discussing with white people sometimes becomes like reading George Orwell. Those who have the power change the truth, even of their own words. And even on internet, where everybody else could read what they write. Including their own contradictions.

I would like to continue what Nquest once started (Nquest, if you don’t mind).

For example:
“I am on your side”
An out of the blue comment by a liberal white, who then tries to control his opponent

“You chase your allies away”
be nice, regardless what people say to you, because s/he is “on your side” [see above]

“Do you call me racist”
when actually nobody did

“Things are better today”


“always these talks about race”
when the same people have no issues with starting one thread after the next which is against People of Color, but get ‘sensitive’, when it is about whiteness and racism.

“Mentioning race perpetuates racism”

“You dominate the discussion”
Being challenged hurts white people and this is often the call for a moderator to interfere [restricting or banning of people who don’t accept racist posts]

“Don’t use the term White Supremacy”

“I never said that”
(even if it is posted a few posts earlier by the same poster)

“Teach me”
White people approaching People of Color, sometimes also saying in addition:
“it is in your best interest”
continued with
“I will listen to you”
only to reject what they get to hear

“Refrain from personal attacks”
Again the call to the moderator and regardless if there actually was a personal attack.

“Nobody will listen to you because of your style”
Making the style an issue instead the content of a message, trying to control and to distract from the topic.


  1. Excellent list, Restructure!!!

    I don’t know how many times I’ve gotten #1 (with #2 in-tow) and, as you noted, it’s always comes out of the blue. There’s not a thing on the list I haven’t heard or had used against me and I always get the last one. But, you know, I’m selfish like everybody else. A person’s style doesn’t matter to me so I don’t think my style matters.

    Also, it’s funny how only certain styles ever evoke that kind of cliche excuse for “making the style the issue instead of the content.” I mean, you can have someone being openly manipulative as you noted in your opening statement but as long as don’t appear to be the “aggressor” their style and behavior is overlooked.

    Also, my experience has been that people have different levels of expectations and apply different standards to different posters in internet situations. Someone perceived to be more knowledgeable is expected to be more gracious and understanding… letting a lot of stuff slide from the person perceived to be less knowledgeable. In some cases, the whole “teach me”, “it’s in your best interest” thing comes into play.

    And that’s one thing that always gets me: this expectation and underlying assumption that PoC aim to and must assume the role of “teaching” Whites about racism which always seems to revolve around the notion that “it’s in your best interest.” By all appearances, that’s the way a lot of people are schooled and seem to experience a lot of cognitive dissonance when that article of faith/belief is challenged.

    Comment by Nquest — July 18, 2008 @ 7:58 pm | Reply

  2. jw wrote this post, not me.

    But yes, great list!

    Comment by Restructure! — July 18, 2008 @ 9:00 pm | Reply

  3. Sorry about that.

    Comment by nquest2xl — July 19, 2008 @ 3:38 am | Reply

  4. yes and there are more such phrases, so I think perhaps it is an idea to write a list or so.
    Some more come to my mind like: ‘It’s in the past’, ‘get over it’, ‘are you asking for hand-outs’, ‘we already paid reparations’ [and refering to welfare], and also the tactics they try when they realize that two or more posters are ‘against’ them, to split the team and to try to divide them. This tactic like “You are constructive with your criticism – he is not” etc.

    Comment by jwbe — July 19, 2008 @ 12:18 pm | Reply

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