‘When White People Say They’re Progressive’ – The Perfect Reply to Fake Allies

“I hear ‘progressive’ as my obituary.”

Silencing, stereotyping, and disregarding people of color – that’s not what “progressive” white people do, is it?

Many white progressives claim to be anti-racist allies. But there’s something very off with the way they often go about trying to prove that they’re not racist.

The problem can be hard to point out, because it’s often so subtle and insidious – and because these same “allies” frequently respond by centering themselves and their defensive feelings.

In this fantastic piece, poet J Mase III captures exactly what this feels like for people of color.

By translating what he hears when white people tell him they’re progressive, he points out what so many of us go through with white folks who care primarily about whether or not we see them as “nice” – “nice being the operative word, and far more important than justice.”

We really appreciate this – and we hope it can help people recognize that you have to be more than a complacent ally in order to change the racist systems we’re living with.

With Love,
The Editors at Everyday Feminism



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J Mase III is a Black/Trans/Poet based currently in Seattle by way of NYC. He is founder of the trans & queer people of color talent agency, awQward. A full length copy of his book, And Then I Got Fired: One Transqueer’s Reflections on Grief, Unemployment & Inappropriate Jokes About Death will be out later this summer. To find out more about his work, find him on Facebook, Twitter, and of course, www.awQwardtalent.com!