As I mentioned in the Tracee Ellis Ross post earlier today, as a member of the “model minority” who has benefitted from white proximity, it’s up to me to engage in conversations about anti-Black racism and identify bias and privilege in my own community among Asians and white people as I work to practise better allyship. But for those of us who are trying to do better, an important thing to remember is that we will make mistakes. I will make mistakes, and be called out for them. And that will suck for sure, but the way I’m trying to push forward is by reminding myself that the end goal is to improve the circumstances that Black people find themselves in every day just for being themselves.
With that in mind, yesterday, in response to my post about Blake Lively and her Instagram about her donation, writing that she had been complicit in the past, and her shame over the mistakes she made out of white privilege, I heard from a reader who told me that by featuring Blake on the site, I was still centering the white perspective and focusing on the wrong thing. This reader also called out my post on Julia Roberts and namechecked Taylor Swift, and her tweet criticising Donald Trump as a better way to write about white women who are trying to do better. I appreciate this feedback and I have heard it. And I’m telling you this because I’m about to spotlight another white female celebrity – Gwyneth Paltrow – and her post on Instagram about Black Lives Matter:
View this post on Instagram
If you feel compelled to comment â€œall lives matterâ€ in response to this post and youâ€™re not a bot (which you probably are), nor an agent provocateur trying to create instability and division in our country, you might want to consider that you are reacting from a blind spot of white privilege. Saying â€œall lives matterâ€ is a denial of how dangerous it is to simply live as a black person in America. â€œAll livesâ€ do not live in fear of getting killed simply because of the color of their skin. #BlackLivesMatter. Here are some ways to join me in taking action. â£ Donate:â£ @bailproject, a national jail fund that fights racial and economic inequalities in the jail systemâ£ â£ @blackvisionscollective, a social justice organization and legal fund based in Minneapolisâ€“St. Paulâ£ â£ North Star Health Collective provides health care and other resources to activists and organizers on the ground: https://www.northstarhealthcollective.orgâ£ â£ @NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the countryâ€™s first human and civil rights law firmâ£ â£ @aclu_nationwide provides a broad range of legal services for civil rights issuesâ£ â£ @Colorofchange, the nationâ€™s largest online racial justice organization.â£ â£ Campaign Zero, an organization outlining guides and resources about civil and human rights legislation: http://joincampaignzero.org/
So here’s my dilemma: I don’t know if it’s OK to be highlighting G’s post; the reason I am is because she’s specifically addressing “all lives matter” and many people, many WHITE people’s bullsh-t “all lives matter” responses to Black Lives Matter. This might be a good time to bring up the classic illustration about why it’s stupid:
To go back to Gwyneth, many of the people who identify with her are probably the kind who will drop an all lives matter into the conversation. She’s basically telling them to shut the f-ck up. Which is good.
But she’s also telling them that they’re reacting from a “blindspot of white privilege” which… I mean, she’s pretty much the epitome of white privilege. And it’s not like she’s out there talking about what her blindspots are. I’m a well-intentioned person of colour and I have blindspots, many of them. So now that Gwyneth is shutting down the all lives matter assholes and pointing out blindspots, hopefully she too is doing the work on her own blindspots and privilege and also pulling up with more than an Instagram post. Is she making her workplace diverse? Is she making her content inclusive? It’s the question I’m asking myself now – and this very post might be a fail on that front because it’s about Gwyneth. If this is a mistake, drag me for it. But don’t tell me how it could have been done better, especially if you are a member of the Black community. That’s not your job, it’s mine.
Quick gossip observation though?
One of the people who left a positive comment on G’s post was Angie Beyince.
She’s Beyoncé’s cousin, who has co-written with Beyoncé and is an executive at Parkwood. So… are B and G still tight?
Attached – recent photos of Gwyneth in LA this week.