Photo: Brian Bohannon
Once in a while, I read something so ridiculous, I know it can't be true. It's either a lie ("vaccines gave my son autism")... or satire. So I double check the source, the nature of the website, and the author, to get to the bottom of things.
This week was one of those times. One of my well-meaning-but-emotional-and-confused Facebook friends shared White people, here are 10 requests from a Black Lives Matter leader, by Chanelle Helm is cofounder and core organizer of Black Lives Matter Louisville. In it, she literally wrote that white people must:
1. Will their houses to black people.
2. If you inherit property, give it to black people.
3. If you're a developer, build a complex in a black neighborhood and let black people live there for free.
4. Move to a smaller house ("downsize") and give your old house to black people.
5. Write "racist assholes" (probably including people who buy the wrong shampoo or celebrate Cinco de Drinko)
6. Donate to black land purchasing funds every single month.
7. Get your friends fired because they're "racist."
8. Get al your friends from the Klan fired.
9. If you overhear private conversations black people wouldn't like, secretly take pictures and stalk the people responsible. Get them fired, and also, physically attack them.
10. Fight White Supremacy by fighting white people and donating your money to black people at every opportunity.
Yes, seriously. In Chanelle's own words:
1. White people, if you don’t have any descendants, will your property to a black or brown family. Preferably one that lives in generational poverty.
I mean... even if I don't have descendants, I'll probably will my property to my friends. People who were close to me. Communities and organizations that enriched my life, like my church or alma mater. People are allowed to will to whomever they wish -- if that's a black family, cool. But it's very bizarre and entitled to say white people "should" leave everything to black people if they want to be good allies.
2. White people, if you’re inheriting property you intend to sell upon acceptance, give it to a black or brown family. You’re bound to make that money in some other white privileged way.
Wow. If you truly think that the secret to wealth-building is being white... that's probably why you're broke.
Not to mention the fact that you're clearly out of touch with reality. Two of my favorite books I've read this year are Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis and Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010 -- both of which explore the topics of white poverty in excruciating detail.
So, no. White people aren't "bound to make that money in some other white privileged way."
Chanelle, go educate yourself. And maybe learn a thing or two about accountability, responsibility, and personal finance.
3. If you are a developer or realty owner of multi-family housing, build a sustainable complex in a black or brown blighted neighborhood and let black and brown people live in it for free.
The reason developers and realty owners are able to own things like multi-family housing -- and, in fact, able to build sustainable and eco-friendly housing, rather than cheaper alternatives -- is because they don't do this.
They don't have jobs because they're white. They have jobs because they make good investments. How are they going to pay their bills... if they buy and build expensive things, and then let people live there for free?
Some owners of multi-family housing units are willing to give cheaper (or sometimes, even free) housing in exchange for a service, like taking the trash cans to the street on trash day; providing "lockout" help; hosting open houses when there is a vacancy; and other responsibilities. Maybe instead of demanding things for free... offer something in return.
4. White people, if you can afford to downsize, give up the home you own to a black or brown family. Preferably a family from generational poverty.
Yeah, so the thing is... the reason people downsize is because:
1) They're empty nesters and don't need all those extra bedrooms and bathrooms anymore
2) They're getting older, and stairs are hard and even dangerous for them
3) They're living on a fixed income, and want to save money by by paying taxes on and heat/air condition a smaller house
4) They want to use the money they make by selling a larger house and buying a smaller one to fund their retirement.
Downsizing isn't something you do because you "can afford" it. It's normally something you do because you've, you know. Taken the time to think strategically and realistically about your retirement.
Since you're clearly so very confused about retirement planning, Chanelle, might I recommend Jane Bryant Quinn's How to Make Your Money Last: The Indispensable Retirement Guide? Or, perhaps The Retirement Rescue Plan: Retirement Planning Solutions for the Millions of Americans Who Haven't Saved "Enough" might be more up your ally. (Just a guess.)
5. White people, if any of the people you intend to leave your property to are racists assholes, change the will, and will your property to a black or brown family. Preferably a family from generational poverty.
Yeah... no. I'm not going to write people I love out of my will because you think they're a "racist asshole." Especially considering that, despite wild and inaccurate claims that "black people can't be racist," they absolutely can be. How do we make sure the black or brown family we randomly give out houses away to don't hate white people?
See also: I Changed "Men" to "Black People" in an Everyday Feminism Article, and Here's What Happened, and the newly-updated, I Changed "Men" to "Muslims" in an Everyday Feminism Post, and Here's What Happened.
6. White people, re-budget your monthly so you can donate to black funds for land purchasing.
Yeah, so like... Remember the thing about how so many white people are actually really struggling financially? The strange belief that all white people have tons of money and their "white privilege" shields them from poverty and bounced checks... is kind of why so much of white America feels estranged.
And it's at least partly why trump won.
Also, fun fact: donating a "small" amount of money each month... actually compounds to hundreds of thousands of dollars over a lifetime. I'm not saying people shouldn't donate if they want to and can afford it. I'm just saying... wise money managers look at their wealth, money, and spending from more than just a monthly perspective.
If this confuses you, check out Slate's Real Cost of Your Wedding Calculator. It's not the same thing... but it's pretty eye-opening.
7. White people, especially white women (because this is yaw specialty — Nosey Jenny and Meddling Kathy), get a racist fired. Yaw know what the fuck they be saying. You are complicit when you ignore them. Get your boss fired cause they racist too.
Yeah, so here's the thing.
When you go to work and your goal is to be a bitch and get people in trouble, no one will like you. You won't get raises or promotions -- and then you won't be able to afford things like houses and property. When you obsess over dumbass shit like "feelings" and "identity" instead of how much you can contribute, your work performance suffers.
However, when you go to work determined to be the best and do your best and focus on the tasks you need to get done that day, you shine.
Remember: despite what Everyday Feminism might advise, networking isn't "entitled white people crap" -- it's crucial to your career advancement.
But I guess different people have different priorities. Bitching and backstabbing aren't mine.
I do, however, value democracy, free speech, privacy, and freedom. You know, liberal and democratic values. I'm really not down with the whole censorship, violence, and authoritarianism thing.
8. Backing up No. 7, this should be easy but all those sheetless Klan, Nazi’s and Other lil’ dick-white men will all be returning to work. Get they ass fired. Call the police even: they look suspicious.
Okay, so, you realize there are only, like, 5,000 Klan members, right? The odds of me actually knowing one are, like... one in 64,200.
Also, it's "their", not "they".
Also... I thought it was, like, transphobic to make fun of men with "lil' dicks". (See also: Trans Activist: Gay Conversion Therapy Doesn't Work, But Straight Men Must Learn to Love the D.)
9. OK, backing up No. 8, if any white person at your work, or as you enter in spaces and you overhear a white person praising the actions from yesterday, first, get a pic. Get their name and more info. Hell, find out where they work — Get Them Fired. But certainly address them, and, if you need to, you got hands: use them.
Wait -- seriously? Don't be such a psycho. I'm not going to eavesdrop on private conversations, then stalk and dox people. And I'm certainly not going to put my hands on someone because I didn't like what they said in a private conversation.
That's just... barbaric and psychotic.
10. Commit to two things: Fighting white supremacy where and how you can (this doesn’t mean taking up knitting, unless you’re making scarves for black and brown kids in need), and funding black and brown people and their work.
Wow. Now you want to regulate what white women knit? You are a very strange person.
If I want to knit an ugly Christmas sweater, I'll knit an ugly Christmas sweater -- and, no, Vox, ugly Christmas sweaters are NOT "a form of cultural elitism."
If I want to knit one of those weird, square-shaped pink hat things (I hear they're supposed to... look like a vulva?), I will. (Luckily for everyone, I don't.)
But what I'm really confused about, here, is that you want "black and brown people funded for their work."
But all you've said to do in this post is give and donate and will things to them for nothing.
Oh, I see! You've listed not one, not two, but three different ways that readers can send you money. Like, you, personally. For the "work" of telling us to change our wills.
There are also several groups we white people can donate to, from a bail fund to a Youtuber with 16 followers, who wants white-sponsored books and breakfast.
Well! I have some links to share, too. But unlike Chanelle, I wouldn't tell my readers to give something for nothing.
So! If you want to support reasonable, educated, moderate, and empirical individuals, you can:
Buy books that ACTUALLY support and empower women.
Christina Hoff Sommers is the "Factual Feminist." She despises "fainting couch feminism," the crazy new form of feminism that spouts that women aren't warriors, but butterflies. My favorite book of hers is One Nation Under Therapy: How the Helping Culture is Eroding Self-Reliance, which was surprisingly prescient. But The War Against Boys: How Misguided Policies Are Hurting Our Young Men is also very timely and relevant.
Laura Kipnis is one of the first feminists to speak out against out-of-control Title IX abuses. Due process matters, and her recent book, Unwanted Advances: Sexual Paranoia Comes to Campus, explains exactly why. But her early work, including the acclaimed Against Love: A Polemic, is worth a gander. The Female Thing: Dirt, Sex, Envy, Vulnerability explores the contradictions between "feminism and the inner-woman."
Ayaan Hirsi Ali is an ex-Muslim and human rights activist who believes that Islam is in need of reform. She shares her compelling and heartbreaking story in Infidel, but my favorite book of hers is Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now, which provides evidence and specific suggestions for how Islam can be acceptable and respectable in the modern, civilized world.
(Of course, "intersectional" "feminists" dismiss her work as the rantings of an emotional and traumatized woman. Because feminism, right?)
Buy books that support non-violence, understanding, rational thought.
Lionel Shriver is high up on my list, here. Although she writes fiction, she's been an outspoken critic of social justice snowflake bullshit, including "cultural appropriation". Donning a sombrero during her keynote speech at the Brisbane writers' festival, she tore into the the argument that writers – most particularly white writers – are guilty of “cultural appropriation” by writing from the point of view of characters from other cultural backgrounds.
"“The moral of the sombrero scandals is clear: you’re not supposed to try on other people’s hats. Yet that’s what we’re paid to do, isn’t it? Step into other people’s shoes, and try on their hats.”
I loved her bestseller, We Need to Talk About Kevin, the story of a mom whose son committed a school shooting. A work of fiction has never made me feel so uncomfortable. Big Brother tackles obesity, sibling-hood, and love (to mixed reviews -- it seems like a love-it-or-hate-it sort of deal), and The Mandibles: A Family, 2029-2047 explores a dystopian future in a witty, psychological, and non-SciFi-y way.
Jonathan Haidt wrote the book on why so many people put feelings over facts, and why facts often fail to change minds. I recommend The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Religion and Politics to all intellectuals, students, and politically active people that I know. But don't just enrich your mind -- enrich your soul. Check out The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom and Flourishing: Positive Psychology and the Life Well-Lived.
Charles Murray makes the list because no scientist should ever be afraid to pose a carefully-worded, evidence-backed hypothesis or question. Yet when Murray did this in his controversial book, The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life, he was blacklisted and deemed a "racist" in the name of political correctness. The vast majority of his critics haven't even read the book -- which is over 800 pages long, and contains only two chapters about correlations between race and intelligence. That there are differences between races on IQ tests is a matter of scientific fact. There is no debate or ambiguity. The question, in Murray's own words, is:
“It seems highly likely to us that both genes and environment have something to do with racial differences. What might that mix be? We are resolutely agnostic on that issue; as far as we can determine, the evidence does not yet justify an estimate.” (p. 311)
Hardly the racist diatribe his critics imagine, is it?
Since The Bell Curve, he's published several provocative works, including By the People: Rebuilding Liberty Without Permission; In Our Hands: A Plan to Replace the Welfare State; Apollo: The Behind-The-Scenes Story of one of Mankind's Greatest Achievements; Real Education: Four Simple Truths for Bringing America's Schools Back to Reality; and, of course, Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010.
Buy products to support and promote science, truth, and free speech.
You can go with a graphic t-shirt:
Or even just, like, stickers and stuff:
Donate to people who actually DO things, like run for office and tutor disadvantaged youth and conduct science research and stuff.
One of the funniest things of all about Chanelle's post is that, despite the header image of her article featuring a sign that reads, "Public service NOT Private profit":
Chanelle ends her post by listing three ways to donate to her, personally.
Is that not private profit?
It seriously undermines your message when you think you should be payed for having and sharing it. There's a reason trump is always making (unfounded) accusations that protestors are being paid -- because if you're being paid for it, it's not your cause. It's your job.
This isn't unique to Chanelle, though. Students at Oberlin have demanded $8.20 per hour for protesting. So which is it? Do you believe in your cause, or are you looking for cash?
Considering her article is about why more people should give her things, I think I have a pretty good idea...