If You Don’t Want To Accept Your Reparations, I Will!

Most recently I finished reading Little Bee, and while the novel wasn’t the most entertaining (i.e. the worst novel I’ve read in awhile) I appreciated seeing the giving power of the human spirit.  The reader learns that Sarah, the lead character, made a large sacrifice for Little Bee, someone in need.  As storytelling would have it, the lead character was a White magazine editor and the willing recipient a Nigerian refugee.

This trend of Whites coming to the rescue of the Black/Negro/African disadvantaged group isn’t anything new.  With the recent popularity of novels, such as The Help, it’s been shedding more light on this conundrum.  Along with that have been some critical, oftentimes harsh, rejections of this model from many Blacks.  Why must Whites always be the ones to save the day?  Why are Blacks always made to be indebted to them?  Why can’t Blacks ever be in the position of saving themselves?

I personally have not been one to subscribe to that mentality.  Call me naïve, but I’d like to believe in the power of the human spirit.  This power that rests on the golden rule, “treat others as you would like to be treated.”  Does it really matter what color the savior’s skin most closely resembles, so long as lives are being positively influenced and brought from darkness?  Whether it had been a “Shaniqua” or Sarah helping her, Little Bee had needs that we should be thankful were met.

Yeah, I’m naïve. *shrugs shoulder*

I know people like Shelby don’t support this outlook-she’s known for bringing up the point that while we know the true implication Whites have had on our livelihoods, the rest of the world doesn’t.  When novels and movies spread the unfair, inaccurate Whitey-Saves-The-Day propaganda,  skewed portraits of the true White influence are presented to the world.

Tonight though, after reflecting on the major sacrifices Sarah made in the name of basic human needs, I found myself more receptive towards the more pessimistic outlook.  Whereas before I didn’t see it as a systematic setup to frame Whites as the saviors (because the savior could be any race of people, I just happened to be reading novels featuring Whites ones), I now see it as it is.  But instead of being upset and angered by it, I feel a sense of satisfaction.   Why you may ask?  One word.


Who runs the world?  Whites.  After all the chaos, dysfunction and havoc they’ve created in the world (not just towards Black people in America), why in the world complain when they do their part to start trying to clean it up?

I promise I’m not racist otherwise why would I have accepted dates with White…err, I mean Italian, men.

Yeah, they may be doing it to clear their consciences, but so what?  Is work getting done?  Are more Asian and African babies getting adopted?  Is more attention being drawn to AIDS prevention, famine and other worldly catastrophes?  Let’s face it-it’s great to have your own fighting for your causes, but it’s even better to have others fighting alongside with you, Whites included.

Moral of the story (because I didn’t do the best job of getting this across when it was originally written.  S/O to Nicole): Overall I have always thought it’s people just doing things “out of the kindness of their hears.”  But for awhile now there have been many who look at me with that “Yancey, be for real.  They ALL have ulterior motives.  It’s ‘White’ people.”  This post was me exploring the “why” behind White’s (possible) ulterior motives…from a people who seem to “have it all” almost feeling “bad” for their priviledged status and doing what they can to “make amends/peace” about it….that is what was going on in “Little Bee” and “The Help.”

Just go read “Little Bee.”  It will have you questioning these ideas of race, power and nationality OUTSIDE of the United States.


2 thoughts on “If You Don’t Want To Accept Your Reparations, I Will!

  1. Wow. Not sure where to start with this one. I have been reading your posts for a while now, some things leave me saying “Go girl” and being genuinely happy to see how you’re making your way in the world. This one, though, left me having a “what the…???” moment. I began reading this with an open mind, interested in your point of view. The part that was a written word equivalent to the record scratching and the music coming to a screeching halt was where it seemed you were insinuating that the cause for Whites doing anything good was to clear their collective conscious. I sincerely hope that was just a misguided statement open to interpretation and that I interpreted incorrectly. I’m not speaking for my “race”, because quite frankly, there are some truly bad people out there, just as there are bad people of every skin tone that exists. But to allude that there is that underlying motivation with negative connotations behind any good thing that whites do, is just plain ignorant at best. While you may not realize it, nor subscribe to the same belief system, there are actually people in the world who do not make decisions based on race. There are people who have found that their purpose in life is to do good, serve their fellow human beings, and when possible, use their resources (no matter how vast or small) to help those less fortunate.
    I believe that we need to understand our history so as to continually try to do better. I also believe that adults (white, black. brown, blue, etc.) need to take accountability for their present situations. At some point, the blame game loses it’s power and becomes a barrier to personal growth rather than a means to overcome and move forward in a positive direction. Yes, I understand that racism still exists, but additional / opposite racism is not the way to make things better. It creates a bigger divide, and fuels the fire for those who have hate in their hearts.

    Although it was really disappointing to read this post, I wish you well and hope that your time in NY allows you opportunities to see the world as a bigger and more connected place. Embrace this time in your life and use it to see a brighter picture. You will find what you look for- if you look for support of negative beliefs, you will undoubtedly find it, but if you look for the good- well, you just may be surprised.

    Sidenote- the entire cast of Jersey Shore is exempt from this “whites are awesome, too” post. They suck, as do anyone wants to be like them. 😉

    • You’re right Nicole. Do I think EVERY White person is trying to cope with this “guilty conscience?” No. Do I think some are? Quite possibly. And if that’s the case, am I okay with that? Yeah. I guess that was the main point of this. I didn’t do a great job of getting that point across…and now that it’s out there I’d feel bad going back and rewriting it…although I could add a disclaimer at the bottom…(I may go ahead and do that).

      Overall I have always thought it’s people just doing things “out of the kindness of their hears.” But for awhile now there have been many who look at me with that “Yancey, be for real. They ALL have ulterior motives. It’s ‘White’ people.” This post was me exploring those ulterior motives…from a people who seem to “have it all” almost feeling “bad” for their priviledged status and doing what they can to “make amends/peace” about it….that is what was going on in “Little Bee” and “The Help.”

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