Atop a growing heap of Black corpses, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, FBI Director James Comey and a teeming hoard of white people proclaim the need for a chitchat on racism. Never mind that we’ve been discussing white violation of Black people since Olaudah Equiano and Harriet Jacobs or that these talks have not convinced white people to permanently divest from the enterprise of white supremacy. These chinwags are designed to be impotent because the exchanged words rarely reveal truth about what racism is and how it works. A Chinese proverb says: The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their proper name. Words are tools, weapons. People must re-examine the way we articulate the value of Black life and the machinations of white terrorism. Too many terms deliberately obscure and confound an accurate understanding of racism. Our vocabularies require a spring cleaning. Take these seven phrases to the dump.
There’s a lengthy record of white paternalism that justifies white tyranny by equating the global Black collective with unruly, ungrateful, undisciplined children in need of white guardians. Former President Richard Nixon, Hollywood icon John Wayne and literary giant Rudyard Kipling all concluded and promoted that “The White Man’s Burden” was to rule the immature coloreds of the earth. The phrase “crying racism” is the evolution of this racist doctrine. When Black people correctly charge, accuse or indict whites for centuries of terrorism, we’re compared to whimpering infants throwing a tantrum. It’s expected that racists will employ this term to further discount Black voices. We should permanently expunge this term.