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Hey friends! Long time no see. So there’s never a shortage of stories in the media where someone’s being completely outright racist or there’s some sort of miscarriage of justice involving People of Color.
And it doesn’t matter if I’m talking about it in real life or online; there’s always at least one person who chimes in with, “Ugh! Just stop talking about race! You are the one that’s keeping racism alive!” They probably don’t sound like that, but that’s just how they sound in my head.
And then I respond with, “Please, have all of the seats.”
The idea that talking about race or racism is thus perpetuating the problem is absolutely ridiculous. You can’t fix a problem without talking about it.
DOCTOR: Unfortunately, your test results came back positive. That means you’ve got anywhere from six months to a year left to live.
FRANCHESCA: Oh my God.
DOCTOR: I am so very sorry.
FRANCHESCA: So what do we do next? I mean, what’s the next step?
DOCTOR: I would say let’s just ignore it! It could get better, but chances are it probably won’t.
FRANCHESCA: Is there some sort of surgery, or some medicine I can ta–
DOCTOR: Lalalalala, not listening!
FRANCHESCA: …You know I’m right here.
DOCTOR: I can’t hear a word you’re saying!
FRANCHESCA: What are you doing? Are you twelve?
DOCTOR: Oh, there’s my lunch break! Gotta go.
Something else I encounter whenever I talk about race on the internet or in real life is the people who say, “I don’t see color! There is no such thing as race! We are all part of the human race!” and then they eat a granola bar and do a yoga pose.
The thing is is that, yes, we are all part of the human race, but I’ll let you in on a little secret: even in black and white, I’m still black. And there’s nothing wrong with seeing my race and my color! It’s part of who I am. It’s a huge part of my identity. The problem is when people treat other people differently or less than because of their race.
And I realize that when people talk about being color blind, they really believe that they are somehow fixing the problem, or that this is a solution to racism and I will be the first one to tell you that there was a time in my life that I actually thought this too. But in reality, it’s kind of like taking a bandaid and putting it on a giant head wound when what you need is stitches.
If you are “color blind” and “don’t see race,” that means that you don’t see who I am. Thus, you don’t see the challenges or the obstacles that I have to face as a black woman or as a person of color. And I need you to see those things in order to help me fight for equality.
DOCTOR: Lalalalala, not listening! Haha!
So see me! I’m right here!
Not to mention that it is hella tacky to jump into a conversation about inequality just so that you can proclaim, “Not me! I don’t act like that!” Congratulations. You are a decent human being and not a racist or a bigot. Instead of asking for cookies, let’s go ahead and focus on fixing the problem instead of patting you on the back for not being part of the problem.
If you don’t want to talk about racism or inequality, that is totally your business. But when I see injustice in the world, the thing that I want to do is speak up and use my voice and my platform. I make noise because I want to be heard. And if you don’t want to be heard, that’s totally okay. But guess what? I’m a grown-ass woman and I’m going to talk about whatever it is that I want on my platforms in real life, on the internet. And you will have to deal.
And sure sometimes maybe it just comes off like mindless rambling or complaining, but sometimes you need to complain or just commiserate with other people who understand your experience and know where you’re coming from, and that is totally okay! I believe that it is possible to make progress and educate people, even when we are complaining.
So if you’ve ever encountered these types of dismissive comments when you talk about race, racism, or inequality in general for that matter, let me know about it in the comments below. If you’re interested in the things that inspired this video, I will put in the video description box some links to some stories that got my juices flowing–that sounds really gross.
And if you are interested in why you haven’t seen me in a month, it’s because I recently took on a full time job at Upworthy.com. Hooray! I’m super excited about it, but I got to be honest with you, it is a lot. I have not had a full time job in two years. So I haven’t been able to make videos and I’m sad about it, but I’ve gotta be honest with you: I love my new job. I miss you all, but I love what I’m doing so much. I’m getting the opportunity to uplift the voices of people that I think need to be heard and share amazing content from all over the internet that is inspiring and educational and uplifting and just stuff that people need to hear about, and it is awesome.
So I’m not going to be posting every week. I’ll more likely just be posting whenever I’m inspired. Don’t worry, I’m not leaving you. You can still connect with me all over the internet. I’m on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram; the internet streets are ruled by me. There are really no streets in the internet, but you know what I mean. I will link to all the places you can find me in the video description box. I really love connecting with you all. I’m pretty active and I do want to hear from you, not just here on YouTube.
I think that’s it. Thank you so much. Don’t forget to subscribe. I’ll see you when I see you. Bye!
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Franchesca “Chescaleigh” Ramsey is a graphic designer and video blogger based out of New York City. With over 100k subscribers on her two YouTube channels, she and her videos have been featured on numerous style and entertainment blogs and news publications including MTV, The New York Times, Essence.com, and The BBC. In January 2012, Franchesca had her first viral video “Shit White Girls Say…to Black Girls” which accumilated 1.5 million views in 24 hours, 6 million views in a week and over 9 million views to date. Follow her on Twitter @chescaleigh.