My parents love the show Survivor and record it and watch it together. I happened to be in the living room when they were watching last week’s episode, where one player, the lone black man, accused another, a white man, of being racist. My parents were both appalled at this man’s use of the “race card.”
I was appalled at their used of that phrase. I hate that term. I hate that white people willfully ignore and/or remain ignorant of the subtle and blatant experiences afforded to us by our white privilege while invalidating the everyday situations POC face. I do not know what the white player was thinking or feeling when he called the black player crazy. It may have been a euphemism, like when black men were(/are) called “boys.” Or it may have been that the black player’s argument made no sense to the white player and his behavior defending it was interpreted to be illogical and wildly aggressive, aka crazy.
But, I never hear people talking about women pulling the “sex card,” or religious minorities pulling the ”faith card.” I explained to my parents why I do not think we should use this term, and I think they’re still chewing on the arguments I made to them. That is all I can ask for at this point.
And then I get in my inbox today an email from the leader of a “support group” for Bay Area converts. She wanted us to read and share our thoughts on the latest post of a blogger I’ve come to respect and admire, cross posted onto a popular Jewish site. Email obscures tone and intent more so than face-to-face conversation, but I was pretty sure I read between the lines (like any good instructor, this leader sometimes employs the Socratic method of instruction) and understood her frustration with the piece. The way the piece is presented on the site can lead to multiple interpretations of the title, one reinforcing stereotypes JOCs (Jews of Color) routinely encounter. I wish this Jewish site would be more socially responsible and not provide additional opportunities for white people to read malintent into the words and actions of POC.
And I wish I could live one day without so much race fail. I hope making that statement doesn’t put me in the same category as the people who say they wish they could get cancer so they could lose weight.