I love this question.
I love this question because it is the most unassuming question uttered by white racists.
It’s the white racist notion that their world is fair, that humans have created a system in which equality is a standard. It’s the white racist ideology that a word of criticism is actually a compliant. It’s a means of silencing those who rise to speak, those who look at the statistics and suddenly end with one conclusion—the conclusion they, the white racists, cannot accept.
But this question also trails the words of white liberals who imagine a world refined, a current world born from the ashes of slavery and colonialism and genocide and made beautiful and whole and pure. They imagine a reconciliation without the Truth—without the acknowledgement of race. They may not say the question, but they mean the answer the Pharisee-like question holds: the world shouldn’t be based on racial divides.
So I love this question: why is everything about race (with you people)?
Everything is about race—because you have made it so. Race is an invention, and it’s not the invention of people of color, trust me. This is evident by the fact that many peoples of the world find it hard to describe race, unlike many Americans. For many peoples of the world, for many brown people who make up the majority of that world, race is a thing brought and defined from the outside, one that’s difficult and riddled with its own problems: is it centered on language? Or color? How do you define white then?
The ridiculous notion of race was born from Europe, the appendage of Asia, and was expounded into the lives and essences of Brown and Black people. Thus, today it has meaning because it was expounded upon us and our lives, but it wasn’t our creation—it wasn’t our child. It was merely meant to be the child we carried on our backs.
So, when white men and women ask why everything is about race, people of color should respond: “Funny—I was just about to ask you the same thing, but with some facts.”
The facts are that Black men are murdered at a higher rate than white men and women—and that, specifically, they are murdered by white police. That Black women have been and are raped by white men at an exponential rate. That Black men die sooner but slower than white men and women because of heart disease. That a Latina makes less than a white woman. That most of the people who work in the airport are Brown people, and that’s fine for them to pick up your chips, but when these Brown people rise and come to sit next to you on the plane, they must be dragged out, must be pulled out of the security for another check. That Black and Brown people must put masks of whiteness—speak “proper” English, eat with a fork and spoon, be able to order at Starbucks, laugh at white jokes about being broke and in college—in order to succeed in the United States, even though they’ve lost themselves in the making. That my father had to wait twenty years to become a citizen of the United States, and then he was called a terrorist by white children who found him scary.
Yes, everything is about race—because you have made it so.
Yes, everything is about race because we suffer—because of you.
Yes, everything is about race. And we are not to blame.