I read an article a while back about Ralph Taylor, a white business owner from Lynnwood who took an at-home DNA tests that estimated he was 90 percent European, 6 percent Native and 4 percent sub-Saharan African. Now he, of course, feels he should be qualified for insurance breaks meant for business owners of color, naturally.
To put his test results in perspective, at best case scenario he had a great-great-great-grandparent who was about half Black and one that was a little over half Native, and apparently that means he faces systemic discrimination. I want to see the exurbanite insurance bills, the predatory lending debt, and biased termination from employment the gentleman has faced.
Taylor, did you wake up one day and were like, “This is why all that fucked up shit happened to me”? I seriously doubt it. This is far beyond passing privilege, this is white privilege akin to that old ass line “my great grandmother was a Cherokee princess” ridiculousness (Cherokee princesses do not and never existed by the way).
I’ll take it one step further: It’s racist and it seems to be derivative of a reverse racism ideology.
Now as far as the material issue at hand I’m actually pretty ambivalent about it, but the overarching pattern I found more frustrating. But to really dive into that I must make a distinction between this form of white supremacy and the experience of people merely passing as white. A person who passes is someone who has a distinct, direct, and present experience of their culture while appearing white, versus a person who for all intents and purposes is white, having no clue or connection to a small piece of a few of their ancestors’ culture. In fact he’s literally the same percentage Neanderthal as he is African (people outside of sub-Saharan Africa are 1-4 percent Neanderthal).
They may have just developed a new way to say the rich white man is the oppressed, by embracing the history of someone who was more than likely abused, to say the least, by the majority of his ancestors, in what may of very well been an non-consensual union.
This trend I speak of is a new wave a racists, who instead of outright bigotry depict a false narrative of embracing some long lost history. In this case it was a DNA test, your great grandparent who was supposedly some type of POC royalty, or interring the NAACP pretending to be Black. All of those are attempts to forcefully reap some type of benefit from the plight of communities that they are not a part of. These are all forms of white people trying infiltrate and or manipulate our realities to their benefit.
This, to be honest, is a long held Amerikkkan tradition. In the early days of Amerikkka, there was a movement for white people to claim they were native in order to get land, steal fish, so on and so forth. It was really just another tactic of colonization. I have to argue that this is just another extension of that tradition. This is the new wave, which I’m sure one day soon will transcend the old forms of bigotry shaping itsself in possibly horrifying ways.
So what to do? There really isn’t one specific answer. Stop tolerating this kind of behavior is a good start. Denounce groups such as the Washington Office of Minority & Women’s Business Enterprises (OMWBE), who approved his status as a multiracial person is great. I’m not saying we have to DNA test everybody, but that we should base reality off of actual experience.
Also, to be real, elevating the conversation into one of reparations not tax breaks, grants, or breaks on our insurance. (And no, Taylor you don’t get reparations.) Reparations should not be just financial but giving control of means of production to those who the system used as tools within their mechanism — Black, Brown, and Native alike. If that becomes a reality, it will change the landscape of the world as we know it. Which will get to the root of the problem: a lack of voice, a lack of the ability to hold our own destinies due to it being stripped from us. As long it is socially excitable to co-opt folks’ pain, colonization will find a new way to do its damage, a new angle to try. So we must not only pursue reparation but but combat white supremacy being socially acceptable, especially by those who reap the most benefit. At least that’s how I see it.