“Shit White Girls Say to Black Girls,” parts 1 and 2, by actress and comedian Franchesca Ramsey are recently released YouTube parodies of the “Shit Girls Say” series that have gone viral. Predictably, the videos are causing an uproar amongst white people attacking what they see as Ramsey’s “racism”, when in fact what she is doing is illustrating, in no uncertain terms, some of the many ways racism continues to be inflicted on people of color.
Sisters of Resistance read an excellent article over at New Black Woman critiquing these kinds of responses, some of which we would like to share with you here. In it, she explains why white people have reacted so vehemently to what Ramsey has brought to the surface with her videos, which are the”microaggressive” forms of racism experienced by people of color on a daily basis. She also reminds those who took offense of the historical and structural context that makes it impossible for Black people and other people of color to commit racism against white people. We encourage you to read the whole article for its insightful analysis.
And for further info on the topic, check out this article by Jamilah King, over at one of our favorite anti-racist news sources, Colorlines.com, and hear what Franchesca Ramsey herself had to say about the reactions.
It’s no coincidence that backlash has been brewing against Ramsey’s video. Whenever whiteness is criticized or when people of color point out racism, whiteness retreats into defense mode and often lay the racism claim at the feet of people of color, as the commenter stated in her response on The Huffington Post.
You can talk to any black person and they will tell you they’ve had white people, both men and women, boys and girls, make these same comments to them. You can talk to any white person, woman or man, girl or boy, and they have probably made comments similar to the examples in the video to a black person at one point in their lives.
The reason why this video strikes a nerve among black women is it puts a clever spin on the many microaggressive forms of racism we face on a daily basis. This video puts a face on the racism we have to negotiate each day. All people of color each day wrestle with whether or not to challenge and confront both conspicuous or microagressive forms of racism. It also brings to light of how harmful these microagressions are when they are committed by people who claim to not see color or don’t believe race is a big deal.
The reason why this video strikes a nerve among white people is it puts a mirror up onto the racial slights many of them have committed. This video forces white people to think about how much whiteness, forms of oppression and othering of people of color has been embedded into their brains. The video and the examples of the microaggressions shatters the flawed notion that racism can only be classified as the obvious acts–the cross burnings, the hate crimes, the painting of racial slurs on property–and not the small, everyday occurrence that can often break a person of color’s spirit…
Since racism equals power and privilege, there is no equal form of treatment people of color can inflict upon white people that would perpetuate our racial superiority. There is no term that can be hurled at white people that reminds them of their racial inferiority.There is no ideology that gives people of color the power and privilege to decide what white people can or can’t view as racist. There is no institution similar to whiteness that allows black people to make our thoughts, feelings and opinions the center of discussion when it comes to the plight of white people. There are no political, economic, social or academic institutions in place that reminds white people of their inferiority by way of voting rights restrictions, stumbling blocks to receive aid, the decline of investing in public schools and the fight to block universal access to quality health care.
There is no historical context that belittled white women for having big butts or white men for having a sexual appetite bordering on rape and violence. There is no historical context in which gave black people the authority to enslave and brutalize an entire race of people. There is no historical context in which protecting black womanhood was used to justify terrorizing, maiming, killing, torturing and subjugating white men.
Franchesca Ramsey’s videos could be the starting point on a discussion on racism, both in its obvious and microaggressive forms. However, just like all events that could spur an honest, candid discussion on racism, this opportunity will pass without a budge because whiteness continues to turn the other cheek on a system that promotes its advancement.