I went to the City Club today to hear Ta-Nehisi Coates talk about his piece on reparations. He was smart and funny and I felt so gratified to have the opportunity to hear him talk about a piece of writing that he is going to be remembered for for a long, long time.
And then during the Q&A, some old white guy stood up and came right out of the gate with, “If you ask me…” And the whole thing went straight to hell.
First of all, NO ONE ASKED YOU ANYTHING. Second, you’re going to keep talking anyway, so thanks for playing Oppression Olympics and using this as a forum to talk about how tough some white ethnic minorities had it under Stalin and how you think, in the interest of equity, Ta-Nehisi Coates should join you in seeking reparations for Ukrainians.
And then, you know, like it couldn’t get worse, Ta-Nehisi starts to give a much kinder, gentler answer than this man could ever claim to deserve and he cuts Ta-Nehisi off and says, “So, bottom line, you don’t care about white people, but we should care about you.”
It was horrifying. What is wrong with people!? Like, white people specifically. What the fuck??? A big piece of this talk was about the ways in which black people are continually silenced by a white majority who willfully discount the lived experiences of blacks to preserve their warped sense of “democracy” and “justice” and then the whole room got a living, breathing demo of that.