But I have to, don’t I? If I don’t, someone might make the mistake of thinking that because I have white skin, that I must also be gleefully celebrating the financial boost she received after crying because That Bully of a Black Man decided not to tip her. We showed him! Didn’t we, white folks? We showed him. We showed him exactly how valuable white people are in comparison to black people. We showed him that we will happily overreact to the “pain” of a white stranger, while underpaying our domestic workers who loyally take care of our homes and children. A waitress cries because she didn’t get a tip, a person of colour makes a kind gesture towards her, and the internet goes mad and the crowdfunds her more money than most black families in this country will see in a year. If not two or three years. And I must celebrate it?
It turns my stomach. It makes me understand the black man’s hate for the white man even more than I have ever understood it before.
And before you go into a rage wobble: Yes, the man was rude (personally I don’t feel it was quite as rude as everyone else seems to think but anyway) and he was a bit of a bully. Fine. You’ve probably done something similar before. To a telemarketer. A waiter. Whoever. The man fights for a specific cause and his zealousness spills over into life. I know most folks won’t get it, but I kind of do. I won’t say it’s “ok”….but even if it’s not ok, this ridiculous call for the man’s education to be terminated is a pompous white privileged overreaction if I have ever seen one.
I keep thinking to myself: What if it was me? What if I was the waitress who was bullied? Well…I’m usually quite good at the empathy thing but for heaven’s sake. If it was me I probably wouldn’t have gotten the shakes, then burst into tears, and rushed off to my friends so that they could pat me on the head and give me heart rubs. I probably would have been annoyed at the lack of a tip, and then grumped about it a bit to my empathetic waitressy friends. And then reconsidered waitressing because waitressing is hell.
But even if I DID burst into tears, and even if I DIDN’T understand the cause behind the give back the land comment and even if I wasn’t able to look past the bitterness and the hatred and I was feeling all super sorry for myself…would I be able to accept all that hate money?
Because that’s what it is, isn’t it? It’s hate money. It’s fuck the black man money. We can all pretend that it’s about being against racism, but it’s not. It’s about a black man daring to be his honest douchy self with a white woman. Because no one is crowdfunding for the black waitresses who get lower tips than the white waitresses. And no one is crowdfunding for the Debonaires delivery guy who was purposely hit by a car a little while ago. This list could go on for pages…
The first R50 tip, I believe, came from a good place. It came from a place of I’m sorry you had a bad experience at the hands of a black man, but not all black men are bullies. It was a completely unnecessary gesture, but it was sweet. I don’t believe the rest of the 100k came from the same sort of place. That money comes from a place that dismisses black anger and doesn’t seek to understand it. Is comes from a place that scoffs at the very idea of white privilege. It comes from a dark place of serious denial.
So I’ve been wondering, if it was me, would I take that money? It’s a tough one. It’s a lot of money. No one’s ever tried to buy my values before, so I can’t definitively say that they’re not for sale, but I hope they aren’t.
I do like to think that I wouldn’t be able to take that money. I’d probably kick myself forever for turning it down because seriously, 100k is a decent trip the UK and I can’t afford that place in real life! But if I did take the money I don’t think I’d be able to forgive myself.
Because it’s hate money. As altruistic as we all like to believe it is, it’s hate money. It’s one-upmanship money. It’s money that yells loudly about how white people think that white pain is more important than the person of colour’s pain.
And I want no part in it.