Thanks so much for reading. This is hard for me because soft bigotry is kind of like a mental illness someone is refusing to get help for. They don’t think they have a problem so no solution is appropriate.
I struggle with this one. I don’t want to go down a long rabbit hole, but I would say that most White households and households of color are taught to respect and revere Whiteness because it has power. We have been taught and trained generation after generation on how to engage Whiteness.
We don’t judge anyone on how they speak (although we do judge ignorance), because it’s not important to us. We are taught to watch how people treat us. Also, I would say our focuses (Whites vs People of Color) are different due to our lack of power and the inability to secure more power.
All the systems are possessed by Whiteness. People of color must gather and compose ourselves in a manner to impress Whiteness so that we are allowed to achieve our personal, family and community goals (whatever that is — higher ed, law school, criminal justice positions, corporate leadership, lending, etc.). In doing so, we subject ourselves to constantly being judged.
Using the word “articulate” to describe Blacks in context with us aspiring to lead people other than Black people means we are being judged by Whiteness to determine whether or not we’re going to get the White seal of approval to lead Whiteness. Because the judging and qualifications are conducted by White people, I feel like it really isn’t my responsibility to suggest another way to judge people of color. Can we get the same critique using the same criteria Whites receive? Is that impossible? (Just asking not being extra or anything)
As good human beings, we really shouldn’t be walking around judging people on something as superficial as how articulate they are to determine whether they are good. Being articulate doesn’t equate to intelligence, it just means we can speak well and we know a lot of words to impress White people sold on education (I guess).
The bottom line is that Whiteness has to hear what people of color are saying and look at how insulated it is. Look at the criteria it sets for non-white people. Look at the fact that we are a nation of immigrants and you’re asking people to give up their native tongues to speak English in a manner appeasing to Whiteness (the shoe is rarely on the other foot).
My solution is check yourselves and then come up with a solution.
I have found when people of color try to offer suggestions we’re met with much resistance and rebellion. It’s not our problem, but it is a huge problem for us. The problem is that soft bigotry and all out racism is so old, so prevalent, and so resistant it’s hard to change. It’s hard to see the error of your ways, and it’s very hard to admit there is a problem.
My suggestion is for White people to look at how they judge and expect things from people of color they don’t expect from White people. Then ask themselves why, it it right? Look around and ask why aren’t there more people of color leading? Why are people of color still achieving firsts in 2019? What’s the problem? What are the barriers for people of color and who put them there? Who are the blockers of progress? Who judges people of color to deem them safe, worthy for mass distribution to White folks? Are the standards different for White leaders and Black leaders? Listen how Black candidates are described by White pundits versus Blacks? So you see or hear the difference? Call your own people out. Do you hold people of color to higher, unattainable standards even when candidates are of equal caliber, if so then why?
My solution would be to ask a lot of questions of Whiteness so that it can craft it’s own solutions. I hope that makes sense. Sorry for being so long.