There are several reasons White people shouldn’t have the privilege or honor of leading Blacks and people of color. I wrote about a lot of them in Part I of this piece. It was too many reasons and too long to make it one essay. If you are White and your feelings get hurt easily, please leave now.
I realize the broad paintbrush may offend many White people, but it’s okay. I expect them to be offended because they hate to be called out for their collective behavior. White people and their fragility (feelings) go hand-in-hand.
If you read both these pieces and walk away concerned with your feelings about White people instead of the injustice, inequity, unfairness, and harm White people have caused directly or indirectly, you definitely shouldn’t lead anything or anyone. You probably shouldn’t raise future leaders either. You don’t have to love the people you lead, but you definitely need to at least like them, and White people have shown time and time again they don’t really care for people of color.
If a mirror held up by a person of color cannot compel or convict Whiteness, nothing will.
It is absurd that a man should rule others, who cannot rule himself.
They Don’t Know How To Have Fair Relationships: Good relationships are about giving sometimes and taking sometimes. White people have perfected the taking part— but their track records are shitty on giving. Giving where it matters most to the beneficiaries that are. Just look around at the inequities here in the United States and any place Black or Brown the U.S. initiated “helping” globally. Rarely, if ever, do White people leave the non-White world better than they found it. You cannot sustain meaningful relationships with such a legacy.
White people, Blacks and people of color have nothing more to give Whites in our inequitable relationship. When Whites lead, all they do is take. As a result, none of us know how to have a relationship with each other. White people either have taken everything we have, including our ability to protect ourselves, which is just the way White folks planned it.
People in solid relationships know how and when to battle. They also understand sometimes you’ll win and sometimes you’ll lose. White people must win at all times, no matter the size of the prize and no matter how minor the battle. White parents raise their white children to win. Everything they are taught growing up is about competing with others. They go through life thinking of humanity as a competitor they must battle. Take from others so they can have. It’s crazy. The rest of us are out here just trying to navigate White people.
Whites and Europeans have done this for centuries, literally stripping entire Black and Brown nations of their ability to protect or provide for themselves. They act as if we’ve forgotten about it, as if history has been erased, or maybe they just don’t give a fuck. That’s not how you get people to trust you. Being an abusive bully is how you develop enemies, and White people have PERFECTED making enemies. For Blacks and people of color, it’s like we’re in a relationship with our domestic abusers. The footing isn’t equal and we have no weapons to protect ourselves. We can’t be in healthy relationships with people who abuse us, and White people don’t know how to have healthy relationships with Black and Brown people. They really don’t know how to have relationships with each other.
If White people cannot relate to us, they should not be leading us.
They Take Care of Us Last: When it comes to helping the most disadvantaged, White people have a top-down approach to helping instead of helping the little person first. A prime example is the way White men went about saving the country during this pandemic. The poor, unemployed, already under-served, starving, elderly, the disabled, and the small business person were skipped to help rich White businessmen and the personal financial or political interests of White folks in charge. You can set your clock by White men. When they lead, they lead to serve people who already lead. White folks lead to help people who don’t need help. White people are in power to ensure they keep what they have because they fear they’ll be subjected to the very living conditions they’ve subjected the rest of us to.
White people will help no one except White people because they don’t know how to center anyone but themselves. It’s Whites first, which means minorities, and everything before them is second if not last, every single time. I’m waiting on the day to see them do something selfless, putting the welfare of others before their own. Until then, I’m never trusting them to lead me. I’m forced to tolerate their leadership.
They Have Unearned Privileges: White people have unearned privileges the rest of us will never have. White folks use those privileges to gain leadership roles they didn’t earn (see Brett Kavanaugh’s cry face or Rosanne Barr’s rebellious spirit). White people can do almost anything or do nothing and be rewarded for it. That’s not fair, and that’s not how things should work. You shouldn’t be leading if you haven’t earned the privilege to do so. There is a system in place that makes others work hard as Whites get rewarded for just being mediocre. Nobody wants a privileged, mediocre person leading them.
They Are Deaf: In every way a human being can be deaf, most White people are. They enter conversations unable to comprehend online conversations dropping their “Not all White people” bullshit when Blacks and people of color are talking. Anytime someone brings up inequity, White folks feel the need to defend White people, which changes the entire therapeutic conversation back to the primary source of our trauma.
Trust me, we know it’s not all White people, so if ya’ll could just learn to side with us and say “Oh yes, you’re right, a lot of us ain’t shit” instead of “Not all White people XXX…,” you’d add value to your colored peoples stock portfolio. The White defense train is never late, filled with tone-deaf White people. You’re the only people who need a disclaimer when having a conversation about race, inequity, injustice, or unfairness, and you’re the group most offended by Blacks and people of color having such discussions when we aren’t even talking to you, we’re talking about you.
Until White folks learn how to listen, hear, take criticism, stay out of spaces not meant for them and stop trying to deter discussions about them, they can’t lead us.
They Must Be Centered: White people will always make everything about themselves. I’m hurt (descendant of slaves speaking here), but I hurt their feelings by telling them how they’ve hurt me and my people over the past 400 years. We have a saying in my Black social circles, “We can’t get none if our White homies don’t get some.” White folks must be the life of the party or else. They are the epitome of green-eyed monster. If Whites must be centered, that means their leadership comes inherently skewed to favor White folks — and that’s not fair. It also means they can’t lead fairly.
They Don’t Know What To Do: Why in the hell should we continue trusting “good” White folks when they continually tell us they don’t know what to do to help us non-White folks as it relates to racism and inequality? How does telling us they don’t know what to do about their own people comfort us? I get it, I know you don’t know what to do, but your confusion is not a solution.
White folks telling us they don’t know what to do is like telling your next-door neighbor you see being physically, verbally, financially, and emotionally abused by their spouse you can’t do anything to help her/him. Adding insult to injury White people, you’re really good friends with the abusive spouse. See something, say nothing is for cowards. Minding your business is for cowards. Being friends with the abuser does nothing to help victims. That’s what telling us you don’t know what to do feels like. Doing nothing shouldn’t be an option.
Our number one problem in America is race, which is the main driver of inequality and inequity. White folks desire to skip the race piece and go right to fixing inequality, but racism keeps getting in the way. It’s an easy fix if you’re not a part of the problem. Since White people can’t seem to do anything about racism, they shouldn’t be allowed to lead.
They Don’t Know Our History: White people don’t know their own history, they Black history, they don’t know Asian history; they don’t know African history, or any history that doesn’t glorify White folks. I laugh when I see white folks praise White men like racist ass Winston Churchill or our racist Founding Fathers. They tolerate racist flags and monuments and celebrate the slaughter of native people. White folks allow White Supremacist to live and thrive decade after decade. White people will glorify our racist history right in our faces with no regard for our feelings. Our racist history is too important for leaders to not know it. They don’t know because they don’t have to know it. Black and Brown history doesn’t matter to White people because they rule everything. They make up their history as they erase ours.
How in the fuck can you lead us out of a wet paper bag if you don’t know where we all have been? Without knowing your history, White people don’t even know the various ways they’ve harmed us. If you don’t know where we’ve been, how in the hell can you tell me where you’re taking me, and how in the hell am I supposed to trust you?
If White people took the time to read history books, they’d know they’ve always been America’s biggest challenge. Instead of leading, White folks need to be in college enrolled in American history and cultural study programs — taught by people of color and Blacks. Learn about other people and yourselves before trying to lead them.
White Legacies Trump Black Pain: White people can be a racist ass Republican for forty years, become a Democrat later in life when they find Jesus or some shit (i.e. Elizabeth Warren), and then all is supposed to be well in the world. Blacks and people of color are supposed to not only forgive you, but White folks also want us to trust you. How when White people can spend so long being evil and supporting inhumane interests? It’s not gonna happen White people. That’s not a winning strategy anywhere, but ya’ll keep on trying it. There are some people of color who will never support White people because they’ve never seen or felt a White person supporting them.
Blacks and people of color need something to believe in. They’ve shown us we cannot to believe in them. They let us down every time.
White people believe their careers, legacies, and intentions should trump our pain and trauma. From George Washington to George W. Bush, to raggedy-ass Donald Trump, White people can get away with harming Black and Brown people — racist legacies intact and have all the earning potential of a rogue Wall Street trader. White people, your credit is bad. White trumps everything and when you continue to disregard our pain and our past, you will never show us you’ve changed.
They Love To Be The Victim: White people love to play the victim as they chastise the real victims. White folks have been aggrieved since they freed slaves, and we’re still talking about how White folks are the victims of other people taking their stuff. White women aren’t exempt. How do villains lead victims to safety and freedom? They don’t, especially when they never apologize for the roles they’ve played in your oppression and injuries. If the perpetrators of the injustice, unfairness, and inequity (Whites) keep pretending to be the victims, how do the real victims ever get justice? They won’t.
If White people can’t tell the difference between a real victim and a real perpetrator, they shouldn’t lead.
Their Apologies Are Just Words: White people hate apologizing. Ya’ll are some stubborn motherfuckers when it comes to saying you’re sorry. I don’t know what that’s all about, but it’s just another reason to excuse yourselves from leading Blacks and people of color. If you can’t admit you’re wrong or apologize, we can’t have trust White folks understand right from wrong — so we need not have Whites leading us. They’ve done so much they need to apologize for. Instead of trying to dig themselves out of a hole, they make it deeper with arrogance and defiance. Not being able to apologize for wrongdoing means there is no way to repair relationships. When you apologize but don’t make any changes, your apology is worthless.
While apologizing is necessary, it doesn’t absolve White folks from their collective histories. Whites cannot lead if they’re never sorry. Whites can’t lead if they’re defiant. Whites cannot lead if they must always be right. They can’t lead if they lack empathy, and they cannot lead if their motives are driven by Whiteness.
We need a race-based solution for America’s racialized inequities. White people have shown Blacks and people of color time and time again their inability to be fair and just. They lead, govern, teach, bank, build, sell, design, create, and even police with bias. White people have also proven they are unwilling or incapable of selecting leaders without bias. I have no reason to have hope in White people. I have no reason to believe White leaders. I have every reason to believe White people will do what they always do and that’s nothing to repair their relationship with Blacks and people of color.
White people also have no plans to correct centuries of incessant warfare on communities of color, protectionism that favors all things White, or their authoritarianism/fascist rule over Black lives. They have no idea what a democracy is, if they did, minority communities wouldn’t have to keep fighting to participate in it equally. White people have shown me who they are. I have no choice but to believe them.
It is absurd that a man should rule others, who cannot rule himself. — Latin Proverb
White people who don’t know what to do about White people shouldn’t have the privilege of ruling over others. If White people cannot do anything about bad and evil White people and cannot lead without bias, they will never get a blessing to lead me. It’s a prison with invisible bars.
Leading people is an honor and privilege, not a rite of passage. White people must learn how to manage themselves before asking others to trust their leadership. You’ve been lying to yourselves for far too long.
If you missed the first part of the discussion, you may find it here: