“Some of them require you to talk through and to like talk about that pain and suffering and then they still don’t learn anything from it. It’s almost as if Black people having a conversation or engaging in anything isn’t worth value unless there’s Black pain of some sort. Because we’re not allowed to be happy.”
Amélie Lamont is an independent product designer(d) and writer based in Brooklyn, NY. She specializes in using cultural studies and design anthropology to inform her design process.
She’s also the co-founder of Good for PoC and creator of The Guide to Allyship, two resources aimed at helping marginalized communities. She’s had the honor of presenting her research and work at places such as The White House, The Great Discontent, Etsy, Twitter, Dropbox and Cooper.
Amélie is on a mission to engage designers in community-aware design practice and discourse. She is currently working on a talk show aimed at helping designers and non-designers alike better understand design’s impact on society.
Kim Crayton: Hello everyone and welcome to today’s episode of the #CauseAScene podcast. Today’s guest is Amélie; Amélie, could you please introduce yourself to everyone?
Amélie Lamont: Yeah, sure. My name is Amélie Lamont. I am an independent writer and product designer living in [redacted].
Kim: Alright. So, I always start this conversation the same way, even though we never know where the hell it’s gonna end. But why is it important to cause a scene? And how are you causing a scene?
Amélie: Yeah, I think it’s important to cause a scene because I feel like we live in a society where people expect you to go along with the status quo and what’s good, and quite frankly, from the perspective of a Black person and a Black woman, there’s this expectation that kind of just shuckin’ and jivin’ [laughs] for white people essentially.
So that’s why it’s important to cause a scene, because I’m not shuckin’ and jivin’ for nobody, that’s number one. And then, of course, in terms of what I’m doing to cause a scene, I feel like obviously again not shucking and jiving, but making sure that you’re giving back to the next generation.
I feel like, it’s one thing to be out in the streets, doing the work that you’re doing, and holding on to it for yourself because you’re trying to get recognition or fame, but I don’t care about that, because the work can’t be done unless you’re passing on the torch; so, talking to younger people about it, mentoring them, giving back to the community, uplifting people, because when all of us are uplifted, everyone wins. So that’s it for me.
Kim: Alright, so I’m doing a happy dance over here. So, you said three things that I want to address. If we get to it, we get to it. One is I love how you like the good things, and I put a question mark behind that because, only the people in power get to say what’s good, what’s fair, what’s—and I’m just like, yeah, that’s no longer acceptable anymore.
I wanted to talk about shuckin’ and jiving ’cause that is something that I don’t know everybody knows what the hell that is. So I want to give you a little, a little…. [Laughs]
Amélie: I’m sorry. [Laughs]
Kim: No, no, no. Don’t apologize. For what? It’s an opportunity for white folx to learn. So shuckin’ and jivin’ in my view—and you can google it—but shuckin’ and jivin’, in my view, reminds me of when I grew up and you saw “Little Rascals” with Buckwheat and Stymie. When you saw minstrel shows, that’s that, “Hey, yeah, I’m happy! I’m a happy little Negro! Hey, what do you want? What do you want? Yes, yes, I’m always jolly!”
It’s the mammy, with the big round belly, with the big red lips, with the big bosom that white people could just cry in when they need to. It’s that song and dance—and again, I mean, but let me put it in context. If it weren’t for shuckin’ and jiving, we wouldn’t be here.
Amélie: That’s true.
Kim: So there was there was a time when shuckin’ and jiving not only kept us alive, but helped us enter spaces that we weren’t normally in, and it is the epitome of prioritizing white folx’s feelings over our own.
Kim: It is the epitome of making ourselves uncomfortable so that white people could be comfortable. And so it was survival. It was how you saw the first Black entertainers. They had to do that to be in white spaces. So there is no—this is not a condemnation. It was survival. This is 2019. Don’t expect me to fucking shuck and jive any more.
Kim: So that’s what that is. And the third thing that I want, I love about passing the torch. This is the reason I do this work. I do this work—well, there are two reasons: whiteness is ignorant about its own history and every damn thing else. So it is my calling. I’m going to call it the calling, as an educator because I have the tools, the experience, the background to help students—’cause that’s what I consider them—students to learn the lesson by the end of the semester.
There’re very strict classroom management boundaries and expectations, and you see them pinned to my tweet, I mean, to my Twitter [profile]. This is how we’re gonna behave, this is how I’m gonna engage and I get to choose to change that ’cause it’s not a democracy. So that’s that part.
The other part is, I recognize that I’ve set my life up in a way that enables me to push the envelope where other people can’t safely do so. So, when I’m talking about pay, when I’m talking about speaker’s fees, when I’m talking about consulting fees, when I’m talking to speakers for 2020 and I’m saying that you need to consider my safety.
It means that you need to consider the safety of marginalized people as we continue to come into these spaces. Because there are people in our communities that don’t want us there, and when we’re talking about open carry states and we’re talking about all these other things when people can just walk into most conference things, whether they have a ticket or not—I mean you might stop them for having a ticket, but that doesn’t stop a person with a ticket from meaning to do us harm.
So, I’m talking intensely about when I’m speaking, moving forward, these are the things I need to put in place. You need to have put that in your code of conduct about no weapons will be allowed in this space. You need to put this in your code of conduct about how you will handle physical and verbal abuse. You really need to put those things down. So I totally get you about the passing the torch because I want people who come behind me not to have to do this work.
Amélie: Yes, exactly, 100%.
Kim: Alright, so—I’ve said a lot, which is normal. So, I don’t even know how I came across you. I don’t even remember because I know I reached out to you a while ago, I think. So I don’t even know; my ADHD or ADD or whatever the hell it is does not give me the wherewithal to remember [Laughs] what initially brought this conversation, how we got here. But I’m happy we got here. And so just tell me about yourself, Beautiful—so talk to me.
Amélie: Yeah, actually, I remember when I reached out to you. I was in a Slack community that someone had mentioned that you had joined, and you were causing a scene, and I was like, “Yes!” [Laughs] I was so…
Kim: OK so hold on, let me go back in…
Amélie: ..but I had actually left that community, way before you joined, because of the white women in the community.
Kim: OK, hold on. We’re gonna pause right quick, ’cause I need to make sure I’m gonna put this on pause. I need to know which group this is because I have left many Slack groups because of this. But hold on just a second. [Harp music plays]
Kim: Alright, so, oh definitely, now we’re back, she told me what Slack group it is. And I was there all of a month and a half, the GDI shit broke and yep, and there was pushback and, “Oh, that’s my friend”—bitch, I don’t care! She is causing harm to Black women!
So oh, OK, so hold on. Let me let me go back in. I’m not sure if you’re able, ’cause this is our initial meeting. Oh, this was in December so it has been a while ago! It was almost, yeah. I’m not sure, so I’m not sure if you’re going to be able to receive this message, but just want you to know that I really appreciate you, and thank you for speaking up and standing up to white people, and especially white women when they tried to act as if we’re idiots or don’t know anything. Girl, my job. I got you. I got you.
Amélie: Yeah, I actually had tried when I was in that community, something went down. And then, of course, like always whenever you’re one of the few Black people, especially Black women, in a community. Anytime you speak up, you’re aggressive, you’re this, you’re that, I’m like, “I don’t even, I didn’t curse at you…”
Kim: OK, so but Imma stop you right there. [Amélie laughs] I’ma stop you right there, ’cause I need people to understand—I’m not gonna name this group. I’m not gonna name this group, but I need you to understand why the fuck this is so fucked up. Because this is a invitation-only group that’s full of women, and that’s transgender women, anybody who identifies as a woman or non-binary, and it’s supposed to be a safe space. It is a invite-only group that’s supposed to be a safe space.
And this group, right here, is one of the reasons I don’t like whisper networks. This group right here, because there are people in this group who fucking cause harm and they can get away with it. Or there are people in this group who know of people in the community that cause harm, and they keep it right there within themselves. And then people who are in this group don’t have the privilege to know about this information, so they’re exposed to the harm that these other people they know about, yes. Oh, my god girl, you just hit a nerve with me.
Amélie: Yeah, I just—yeah. And I’ve actually gotten to the point where I’ve noticed that a lot of communities that specifically center women is honestly, it’s just straight up code for white women, so…
Kim: It’s white feminism.
Amélie: Yeah, and so I’m like, I can’t—like, there was another one. When I quit my job in April, they were like, “You should join it.” And I was like, [making thinking sounds] “Oh, OK.” [Kim laughs] And then I go and they’re like [imitating other members in group] “Oh, my god, like, I just, like, my manager, just like, like, how I talk to my manager about, like, getting like, an increase, ’cause like, he sneezed and I just, like, feel really hurt.” And I was like, I can’t, so let me just leave this Slack group for my safety. [Both laugh]
Kim: Yeah, yeah. And for people who are going to get pissed that she mocked you, so fucking what, get out your feelings. No one gives a shit. Because you mock us constantly. We’re mocked in media, we’re mocked everywhere. So it is OK. And this is an uncensored show, so she could say whatever the hell she wants, ’cause I know that voice as well. I’ve heard it myself, from Becky, “Yes, Becky.” [Imitating “Becky”] “Oh Kim, could you please, that right there… [Amélie laughs] I mean, that was [exaggerated sigh] so, that was a bit aggressive.” Bitch. Let me tell you what aggressive is. I have not shown you aggressive.
Kim: If you knew how long it took me to write this damn email so that we wouldn’t have this conversation, and we still havin’ this fucking conversation? So I’m like, fuck it. I’m just gonna say whatever the hell I want to because we’re gonna have this conversation regardless. So there it is.
Oh, yeah. White women, they know. I mean, it is not hidden. I don’t hide it. They are the bi—[Sighs] White dudes, I just kinda shake my head at because I really believe that they would be extinct if they didn’t have privilege. I really believe that privilege was created because these motherfuckers would not be alive. They would just stumble over and fall off cliffs and all kinds of stuff.
I just like, I look at them and shake my head. But it’s white women, who have the power and the privilege to align with other women who—we could all collectively uproot and dismantle systems of oppression. And yet they continue to prioritize whiteness over anything else, and that’s what white feminism is.
It’s goin’ into these spaces and then requiring me to only focus on my gender when my race is what causes me death. I mean, I can say, unless I blocked it out, I am thankful that I’m not one of the one in three women who have been sexually assaulted.
So I don’t have that. I haven’t been sexually harassed because in the situations that I’ve been in, I can be the harasser, ’cause I know that’s what we did a lot in high school as teachers. We sexually harassed each other all the fuckin’ time, that’s how we got through the bullshit. But it was jokes. I’ve never been in a situation where I felt endangered, I haven’t felt endangered, because I was a woman. I’ve been in situations I definitely felt in danger because I’m Black.
Amélie: Yes, correct, because I feel like from the perspective of a Black woman, we’re not even seen as women in the first place. So, [Laughs] like I literally, no…
Kim: We don’t fit that mold.
Kim: So we’re not feminine enough.
Kim: We’re not skinny enough, our hair is not—we don’t, so they… Oh, girl, you just hit on something. I never even thought about it that way. That makes a whole bunch of sense, so that’s why that’s a nonstarter for us. They don’t see us as women.
Kim: They don’t see, they don’t—they’re not attracted to us. Yeah, so they don’t see me as—and I can tell you, I’ve always had a big mouth, so I know I quote unquote “intimidate” a lot of men.
Amélie: [Laughs] I get that too!
Kim: And my issue is, if you look up the definition of intimidate, I didn’t do that, you just don’t know how to manage your grown-ass feelings…
Amélie: Right, yes.
Kim: …and that ain’t my issue. Ooh girl, you just spoke to me, let’s talk some more about that!
Amélie: Yeah, I mean, a great example is, I spoke at a conference here in New York, I wanna say over the summer. And I was on the train, the subway, and there was this guy, he was actually Black, but I was sitting near the door.
And this motherfucker kept elbowing me in the head ’cause I was sitting down. So I turned around and I said, “Hi, excuse me, could you please stop elbowing me?” and he turns around, he goes, “You’ll be fine. You’ll be fine. You’ll be fine. You’ll be fine. You’ll be fine.”
And I was like, “Well, what I’m telling you is that I’m not fine. And if you could just please stop hitting”. He’s like, “It’s not on purpose. So what you getting mad about?” And I was like, “If you could just please, I’m just asking you to stop hitting me. That’s all. I know it’s not on purpose, I know it’s an accident. Not trying to argue with you. I just don’t want you to hit me.”
Kim: That’s the whole intention…
Amélie: Exactly. And so he goes, he was like, “Fuck you, bitch!” I was like…
Kim: I knew “bitch” was coming.
Amélie: OK, I was like, “Fuck you too!” [Laughs] I was like, I’m an adult. I know how to use curse words too, let’s use them.
Amélie: He’s like, he goes, “Your mom’s retarded”. And I was, like, “Great, then by proxy if my mother’s retarded then I’m retarded. And guess what, so are you. So let’s all be retarded together”. Obviously, that’s ableist. But you know…
Kim: Uh huh, mhm.
Amélie: I was just like, “This is preschool insults. All I want for you to do is to stop hitting me. That’s it, like we can throw insults…”
Kim: But you don’t exist as the person.
Kim: And this is the shame and this can—we’ll probably get some pushback from people, but again, I don’t give a fuck—and I’ve said this, it’s kind of disheartening for me because, as you know, I don’t trust white people by default.
And I’ve learned really not to trust many people of color by default, if they’re not Black. And now I’ve really, just by my own experience, I realized that most of the relationships that I’ve ever had have been with Black men, but I’ve been gaslit every damn relationship. Every last one of them, it’s been a bunch of gaslighting. So they can’t—we’re below them.
Amélie: Yes, correct.
Kim: And so at this point, and I’ve said this, I only trust Black women until that individual Black woman…
Amélie: Yes [Laughs]
Kim: …shows me somethin’ else. But collectively, all I trust is Black women. So when you see, people have noticed how I engaged on Twitter has changed.
I no longer come to the aid of anybody, really, who isn’t a Black woman. I just can’t do it. Women of color? No, it depends on if you’re saying somethin’ that’s just really ignorant, and I have some data that I can just drop and walk away.
But I’m no longer gonna—I learned that lesson the hard way. I learned that lesson from someone who I trusted who was a person of color who turned on me, and I was like, “OK, yeah, so you just did what white women do”.
And so I intentionally—because again, I have a strategy for all of this—I, when I’m engaging, if it’s not something that I’m just trying to highlight myself when I comment retweet someone, if I’m coming to aid or to assist someone, it is rare that it’s someone other than a Black woman. And if it’s a white woman—I’ve done it a few—it is those white women who’ve been in the #CauseAScene community, who are doing the work that has been asked and I’m just coming in to support what they’re saying.
Amélie: Yes, exactly.
Kim: ‘Cause they have demonstrated, through consistent behavior, that they can be somewhat trusted. [Laughs]
Amélie: I love the somewhat. [Laughs]
Kim: Oh yeah, because at any moment, because they don’t have my lived experience, and they think—at any moment they can harm us. And that’s something they need to grapple with.
I mean, they’re—just like you used ableist language—at any moment, because I don’t have that lived experience, I can do or say something that harms somebody who’s more vulnerable than me. But I accept that. And I learn every time.
Like I was telling a friend the other day, I’m having such a hard time taking the word—I didn’t realize how much I used the word “crazy” and “insane”. And so, she’s like, “I use the word ‘wild’ now”. And I’m like, “Oh, thank you!”, ’cause I need another word, ’cause I did not realize how often I use “crazy” and “insane”. And I’m like, that has to stop.
Kim: It’s the same thing when you have told racist jokes in the past. Or, I mean, I used to think anything was funny.
Kim: Now I see that the impact of those jokes, although they may be hilarious to me, they cause harm to somebody else, so I’m not gonna tell those jokes any more. I’m no longer gonna laugh at those jokes, because they harm other people. And so it’s not about your intention. It’s about your impact.
Amélie: Exactly. And going back to the story about the man on the train, he actually waited until he got to his stop, the doors open.
Kim: Oh yes, he said something.
Amélie: And then he grabbed me by the shirt and tried to pull me out of the train and started punching me. And I was like, yeah, because you don’t—I’m not a woman. I’m not a delicate flower. I’m like, I’m—
Kim: You don’t need protection.
Amélie: I’m dark-skinned. I’m 5′ 10″. So I look big, like…
Kim: Yes, yes.
Amélie: …he just figured he would whale on me, but I like, managed to get him off of me. I started fighting back a little bit and you could see the surprise on his face ’cause I wasn’t supposed to fight back. And I was like, [Laughing incredulously] “What the fuck did you think I was supposed to take it?”
Kim: It was about to fucking happen.
Amélie: “Are you out of your mind? Like, what?”
Amélie: “Are you out of your mind? Like, what?” So yeah, that’s a big part of it…
Kim: Yeah, that’s fucked up. Now, you just took this conversation in a whole fuckin’ direction I wasn’t planning on. [Amélie laughs] Damn! That’s just sittin’ with me, because that is so true. That is what we’re seeing with our Black trans women. They’re being killed by Black men. And it’s because—I say this, we all have a level of internalized white supremacy, anti-Blackness in us.
And I say this ’cause I don’t wanna be exclusionary, because I’m sure indigenous women feel the same way. But I don’t have that lived—I’m gonna put a period on that; feel the same way, period. I don’t have that lived experience to speak to that, so I won’t try an’ attempt to speak to that. But I can tell you as a Black woman, that’s pretty fucked up with what you just said to me; and did someone come to your aid or…
Amélie: [Laughing] Oh, no, not at all.
Kim: Oh, but if it was Becky. Oh, lord. Mhm.
Amélie: Oh, yeah.
Kim: Ugh. [sighs]
Amélie: Luckily, it lasted for less than 10 seconds, because I was just sitting there and when he got off the train, there was one person that was like, “Hey, cut it out”. And then he ran off of the train. And I was like—when I told some of my friends after, specifically some other Black women friends, one Black woman was like, “Did you call the police?” I was like, “Girl, why?” They weren’t gonna… First of all, it’s a moving train, so what use would that do?
And second of all, even if I did, they weren’t gonna help; third of all, there was a whole car full of people who saw exactly what happened, and quite frankly, if it had gone on longer for, maybe 20 seconds or 30 seconds, I guarantee you people would not have helped. They would have whipped out their cell phones and started recording it.
Kim: Exactly, because we’re animals. Because we are less than human.
Amélie: And that’s not the first time that’s happened to me on the train.
Kim: Oh, whoa, whoa! What?!
Amélie: Yeah, It’s not, like, right after the election. This was a white guy. I was walking to another car, like, in between cars, which you’re not supposed to do, but I was doing it. So I was walking to another car and this white guy just kicked me. And I was just shocked. And I was like—and I didn’t touch him, I was nowhere close to him, he just went out of his way to kick me. And I turned to him, and I go, “Hi. Did you just kick me?” And he just looked shocked because what he was planning to do was kick me and have me just go, “Oh no, how..?” Just like, not say anything, so I literally—eye contact, I was like, “Did you just hit me?”
And he was like, “Uh, uh uh…”, I was like, “Try it again. Try it again, bitch”. [Laughs] He just looked at me like, “Uh ah” [Amelie imitates a scared sound]. And I was like, “I don’t know why you thought it would be a good idea to kick me, but like, who did you..? I kind of want to fight you right now. I’m not going to because I don’t wanna go to jail, because that’s what would happen. But, like…”
Kim: Yeah, yeah, yeah. OK, so I want to stop right here, because this is—again, this is taking a turn, and I don’t wanna leave this without my white audience understanding what you just said.
This is why my gender is not a priority for me. There’s a guest, who I’m looking in her face, who’s told me two instances where men have assaulted her. And you knew that there was nothing that the police would do about it. We’re not having the same…
Amélie: In the case of one of them, because they’re white, the police doubly wouldn’t even believe that anything had happened. And then also with the Black man, even if there was police, the other thing I struggled with, I was like, “Well, damn, like, he’s a Black man, and there’s already—” I was like, I just…
Kim: Girl, you don’t get them fucks out here. That’s why we stay in abusive relationships. That’s why I tell this story about when people—like, white people call the police all the time. You know, I mean, just call the police all the time. [Amélie laughs] Girl, I read a story about in New York how they’re getting more rat calls because gentrification.
Amélie: Yeah exactly.
Kim: Yeah, and you’re in communities, the people used to the rats, they like, “Fuck it”.
Amélie: Like, what you want us to do?
Kim: But they keep calling folx and people are like, “OK, it’s rats. Get over it. You moved here.” Yeah, exactly. But it speaks to—and I’ve said this before, that we’re having totally different experiences. So if I’m at a family reunion and Uncle Bob—no, I don’t have Uncle Bob, that sounds too white—I have a Uncle Hakeem. There we go. No, George is a family name, so I have Uncle George, right?
Uncle George gets drunk and starts acting belligerent. What the fuck are we gon’ do? Is it: A) call the police? B) just look at this motherfucker like, oh my god? Or C) Are we gonna make Uncle George go lay his ass down somewhere until he sobers the fuck up, and then somebody gon’ take him home? Which option do you think? White people gonna go with A.
Kim: We gonna put his ass in that room and shut—”If you don’t shut the fuck up talkin’ to us…” [Kim imitating talking to “Uncle George”] [Both laugh] “Every time you”—we gonna cuss his ass out—”every fuckin’ time you drink, you show your fuckin’ ass, the hell wrong wit you”. But we’re not gonna call the police, because we know to call the police on Uncle George, Uncle George may not last. He might not make it alive out of that situation.
Amélie: Yup, correct.
Kim: So we’re gonna deal with the trauma and abuse of what the fuck Uncle George giving us. Because, like you just said, you were thinking about the Black man and making sure he’s safe.
Amélie: Yup, yup.
Kim: But that is so fucked up, ’cause now we go—let’s take this full circle, so we’re talking about Becky and her feelings, and the shuckin’ and jivin’ that we’ve had to do, Black women having to raise white babies to the exclusion of their own babies being taken and sold, and even today, when you see the mortality rate of our mothers and babies.
And then we have situations where the men in our lives are abusive to us [sighs] because of, again, internalized white supremacy and anti-Blackness. We—this is not the conversation I thought I was gonna have, but this is a conversation obviously we needed to have, ’cause no one has been on the show that talks specifically to the pain of being Black women. And when you say, you throw out that trope of a angry Black woman, we have fucking reason to be angry.
Amélie: Yeah, correct.
Kim: And you ought to be glad, you ought to pray to whoever you believe in, on a daily basis, that we have not knocked you in your goddamn throat.
Amélie: Correct. I agree.
Kim: Your ass is on the train commuting or walking down the street, and you’ve been assaulted twice. Just because, just fucking because.
Amélie: Mhm. Yep.
Kim: And you want to get mad because some email you took as a personal attack and your feelings got hurt… [Amélie laughs] Bitch, feelings—and this is the problem—feelings and acts of harm are not equal.
Amélie: No, They’re not.
Kim: They’re not. Feelings are something that you need to manage as a full ass adult. Take your ass to therapy, do whatever the fuck you want to. Harm is something else. Someone causing you harm is something that’s outside of you.
Kim: Your feelings are internal. So if something happens and you—this is why that one group that we will not name pissed me off so much, because again, someone came to me after, another Black, well two, Black women, after I left the fucking group with screenshots of some other shit that happened.
And it was actually a friend of mine, let me put quotes, ’cause now it’s somebody who I considered a friend, who had caused harm in the group, got her feelings hurt and left. And I still need to have that conversation with that person because that’s unacceptable.
Amélie: Yeah, I agree.
Kim: It’s like, you’re the Tasmanian Devil. You go in and you kick up a whole bunch of dust and your privilege allows you to walk away and not deal with any of this shit.
Amélie: Yep. That’s about it.
Kim: So you leave dead bodies. All this pain, trauma, all behind you and you walk off. Again, ladies and gentlemen, this is why I say fuck civility, and I am no longer responsible for your feelings.
Amélie: Yeah, completely agree. I mean, I still even remember, like, a few years ago I joined some book club that was run, actually not by a white woman, but I actually call non-Black people of color, usually white-adjacent because that’s what they are.
Kim: Yeah, mhm.
Amélie: And, this white-adjacent woman was so excited about this book club, and I signed up for it, and then I realized I wouldn’t be able to make it to the first meeting. So I sent her an email and I go, “Hey, So-and-so, won’t be able to make it”. And when I write emails, I don’t do the stereotypical woman thing, which is like, lots of exclamation points and smileys. I just write sentences, ’cause that’s what people do. [Laughs] That was the wrong thing to do, because she came back with this whole email upset because I didn’t tell her why I was missing it. I was like..
Kim: None of your damn business.
Amélie: Yeah, I didn’t tell you because you actually don’t need to—it’s not gonna change the fact that I’m missing the book club.
Kim: We ain’t like this. This is a book fucking club. Why? I don’t…
Amélie: Exactly. She’s like, “You didn’t tell me why you’re missing it, and also, your email was very cold.” I was like, “No, no, no. You felt my email was cold. I just wrote words. Did I have to add smiley faces in order for you to feel more congenial with me? ‘Cause I’m just telling you that I can’t make it.”
Kim: And it’s so funny because I’ve had to retrain myself. I will write an email and then I take out all that bullshit. So I’ll write a email, I apologize that I have to reschedule blah, blah, due to de de de de. I get it all out, and then I take everything outta there and then “I have to reschedule” and that’s—I’m done. And that’s it, because all that other shit is not necessary.
Amélie: Yea, yup.
Kim: That’s for your comfort. And it’s not, I’m not, you don’t need to know why. I don’t need to explain it. People cancel on me all the time, I don’t get upset. It’s just OK, let’s circle back on this shit later.
Kim: Yeah. Oh, my. Yes. And people call me cold, or they’re like, “You’re just so short”. OK, but did I communicate what you need to know?
Amélie:: I didn’t tell you to jump off of a cliff. So I literally just told you what I’m doing and what you need to do. I don’t know why I have to hug you or kiss you in order for the communication to go through, like I don’t…
Kim: And it’s fake anyway!
Kim: I’m no longer, I cannot do, I cannot—that’s it right there. I lived such an authentic, transparent life, or I try to, that I just can’t do the fake stuff. I just don’t have it in me anymore. Once I push the envelope and push the line, like, “Oh, I could say that? Oh, shit. OK. Oh, oh, I could say that too?” [Amélie laughs]
“Wait a minute, wait a minute, and I could say… and I could do… and I can—oh, and I’m getting paid to say..? Oh, fuck, I’m done.” Once that genie was out the bottle, there’s no putting this back. I know, I could never—there was no company I could think of that I could work for at this point because I just don’t, I have no fucks to give. [Amélie laughs] I’ma let you know I have no fucks to give. So I have to be an entrepreneur. I’ve painted myself into the entrepreneur corner! [Both laugh] Because that’s just the nature of what that is.
Kim: And I’m saying this ’cause I wanna kind of pause here because again, I have a mostly white audience, and I really want you to take, to sit with this discomfort you’re feeling right now ’cause I know you’re feeling uncomfortable. You’re feeling like we’re talking about you. We’re making fun of you. Yep, we are. Fuck you. Yep, mhm.
Yeah, that’s exactly what we doin’. Because, as you say, as my guest said, we live very traumatic lives. If you’re not here to take that burden, to help me deal—not even deal, shit, I want to not even experience—if you’re not here to buffer me from experiencing this trauma, I could care less about your feelings. I could care less about feelings.
And I could tell you all day long, I have over 7000 followers on Twitter, half y’all—well, not even half, not even a third, not even a eighth, not even a sixteenth, not even sixty-fourth of y’all doing anything actively to help support anything that I do. So, fuck you. I don’t—fuck you. You’re not hiring me. You’re not supporting #CauseAScene. You’re not a sponsor. You don’t engage when I get attacked online. You don’t do anything. All you do is sit there like a parasite and learn from what Black women are saying, so you can parrot it and take credit for it. [Amélie laughs] If y’all don’t fucking stop taking credit for us lived experiences that y’all don’t fucking have? Hmph, girl.
Amélie: Yeah, no, you’re right. I mean, it’s funny, it’s like—I won’t name names, but it’s kind of like that person, I won’t even name gender—that person who happens to be white, who wrote a book about, I think it’s like design ethics or something? And people are like, “Oh my god, this book is like the most innovative book that was ever written on ethics and design”. I was like, I there’s whole—Black women… OK…
Kim: Oh, my god. We have a bit more recent than that. So you have the, in politics, The Squad…
Amelie: Oh god!
Kim: And now you have the five rebels or whatever the fuck they calling these white women who sat on the sidelines until they felt safe enough to come out and say impeach, while these Black women, these women of color, have been getting attacked by the president of the United States for months, including, representative Maxine Waters.
They have been at the forefront saying this stuff. And now all of a sudden, everybody wants to put these five white women on the cover of shit as if they’ve done something. [Amélie laughs]
This is why I say whiteness is not original. All it does it steal it.
Amélie: That’s literally what it does.
Kim: All it does is appropriate. It takes shit. I mean, look at the music. Look at the clothes. Look at the asses. Look at the lips. Look at the hair.
Amélie: Yes. Yes.
Kim: Look at everything. Kim Kardashian is a walking, talking Black appropriation billboard. Box braids! Bitch, if you don’t shut up, that’s damn cornrows, the hell wrong wit’ you? Shit. [Both laugh] Cornrows up, they out on the outside, French braid If they on the inside, don’t play the play with us.
Amélie: I actually never understood that as a kid. I still remember when I met one of my first white kids ever, and she had the French braids and I was like, “Oh, my god, I love your cornrows!” And she was like, “No, it’s like, French braids”. I was like, “No, that’s definitely cornrows though, ’cause that’s what we be doing in the hood all the time.” [Kim laughs] “Just we do them inside and outside, it’s called cornrows” and she’s like, “No, my mom says it’s like, French braids”. What? Interesting.
Kim: Yeah, exactly. And we never get credit for shit. We never get credit for shit. It’s just like, “Oh, OK, that’s cute. Oh, oh, oh, so asses are in now. Oh, OK. Yeah. OK.”
Amélie: Or like, I was doing some research over the summer, I found out that punk music comes from Black people, and I was like, “Of course it does”. I’m like, duh. But it’s just funny, like the narrative that people have around punk music, it’s so white. I’m like, “No, it actually literally comes from reggae, and R&B, and like all Black music, so…”
Kim: Jazz. Blues.
Amélie: Yeah, all that. [Laughs]
Kim: R&B. Pop. Country. All of it! [Laughs]
Amelie: That’s funny. And horrible.
Kim: It is! It is! Because they get the benefit of the doubt and it becomes they own it, once they—that’s the thing they get to own it. And then when we bring it up, it’s like we’re stealing. So we now, we gotta bring proof. What the fuck?! Proof?! How is my lived experience legitimate for you, but not for me? It’s all very—again, I know white people are uncomfortable, but you’ll be alright. You’ll be just fine. You know me, I like to make you as uncomfortable as possible. So this is right up my alley.
Amélie: And if you’re curious about my punk music comment, go look up Bad Brains. They are kind of like the people who ushered in punk music as we know it in this country and even in England.
Kim: OK, the fact that you even have to say that is just like that, it’s like…
Amélie: I know because I feel like they’re gonna Google it, and they’re gonna they’re literally just gonna Google “Black people made pop music”. Yeah, so I have to give them the actual…
Kim: Or, “Black people plus pop music.”
Amélie: Yeah, so I have to give them the actual origins of that thing. Just if you want to @ me on Twitter, I can give you sources too, I just..
Kim: Yeah, yeah, it’s all about—and that’s why I stopped my doctoral programs. I’m like, I’m sick of trying to prove myself to people who barely have a high school damn diploma. Screw your ass. [Amélie laughs] Mm-mm. I’m done. I’m so over it. So again, if I’m aggressive or angry, I deserve to be.
And majority of the time when you’re saying it, I’m not. I’m chilling and I’m watching something on TV while I’m Twittering, I’m soaking in the tub… [Amélie laughs] I’m chillin’, but you want to call me angry because your feelings got hurt. Bitch, I’m Black, do you know how much it takes for us to—you know how much we’ve had to endure? If we got angry and acted out every time somebody did som’n shitty to us, we’d definitely be…
Amélie: We wouldn’t get anything done.
Kim: Oh, my god. Girl. Y’all just don’t know, it’s like, lord! This is why I tell y’all that I just I don’t trust—and the reason I trust Black women only, basically, and in the rare occasion there’s some other folx, is because I know you have had a similar—you’ve had, not had my experience, but you had similar experiences. It’s like when you said shuckin’ and jivin’ and I knew exactly what the hell you was talkin’ about.
That’s what I loved about Toni Morrison, if you haven’t seen her documentary, she talks about the white gaze. She was not writing for the white gaze, which meant she could care less if you understood the language, she was not giving you a bibliography, she was not giving your appendix to look—she was not, this was not writing for you.
She was writing for people who had this lived experience, and if you wanted to know about it, you was going to do the research on your own. She was not setting it up so that you could understand, and this is why I do this. I, when I talk about business, when I talk about everything, it’s from a perspective of, “Screw the right thing to do. This is the shit you got to do if you want to be successful in your company, period.”
But my lived experience, I’m gonna give it to you how I give it to you, and if it’s raw this day, and if I feel that you’re somebody I really wanna break some shit down to, that is more emotional labor on me, which means I have to go into my damn trauma and pain to explain some shit to you, so that—I don’t owe you that, I don’t owe you to expose my pain and trauma to you. I don’t owe you that. And the fact that you require it, mm, it is so mm demonic to me, it’s just like…
Amélie: And also like, especially demonic as some of them require you to talk through and to talk about that pain and suffering, and then they still don’t learn anything from it. But it’s like they—it’s almost as if Black people having a conversation or engaging in anything isn’t worth value, unless there’s like, Black pain of some sort.
Amélie: …unless there’s like, Black pain of some sort. Because we’re not allowed to be happy.
Kim: Or a Black stamp on—I mean, a white stamp on it. So if they could say “Yeah, oh yeah”, and it’s always, “I had a similar…” No, hell you didn’t, you didn’t have shit similar to this. It’s totally, totally different. You had an experience, I’m not gonna discount your experience, but it’s not similar to this.
Kim: And yeah, it reminds me of, and people might get offended by this, but it reminds me of sadomasochism. It’s that whole, you need to see me in pain for you to understand, for you to say, “Oh, that must be true because she’s actually crying, or she’s actually—I’m seeing, I need to see you visibly in pain for me to say, “Oh, shit, that must be true””.
Amélie: And even with the moments when we do experience joy, at least from the white gaze, what they end up doing is taking that joy and comparing it to Black pain, because they’re like, “Oh well, you deserve to feel joy because your ancestors went through slavery”. And I’m like, “Maybe I just deserve to feel joy, because I was just trying to feel joy right now.”
Kim: Or we get the—somebody put something—”I’m so sorry for all the other white people”. [Both laughing] Ohh lord!
Amélie: Oh, that’s my favorite! I’m like, “But you’re white too!”
Kim: This is not helpful.
Amélie: That’s your people, why…? You…
Kim: This is—yeah, yeah, yeah. This statement is equivalent to what you just said, which is no better. So yeah, that fake—and maybe it’s not fake, maybe it’s sincere, but it’s disgust—it just comes across to me as disgusting and creepy. I can sympathize, and I can empathize with people, but I would never say, if I have—I’m not gonna apologize for my race. I’m not going to do that. I’m not. I’m not gonna apologize for Black women. I’m not going to apologize for Black people. Because again—ooh, I just hit on something—because the reason you do that is because whiteness is individuals and we’re groups of people.
Kim: We’re never individual. So, yeah, you can speak on behalf, because you the individual can apologize for the group of white assholes. But because we are a group of Black people and you want to speak on, “I’m so sorry that some of us…”. No, you too.
And this is very reason why I say “whiteness.” I use that term to juxtapose “Blackness,” because that to me, it levels the playing field. If you’re gonna talk about white people, Black people as a group, we’re gonna talk about white people as a group, and I don’t care if you’re, as you said, white-adjacent, if you look white to me you’re lumped in that group.
Amélie: Yeah, because when white people look at someone who’s white adjacent, they offer them the same opportunities and benefits that white people have. So it’s kinda like, sometimes when I’m talking to non-Black people of color, especially ones who are super sensitive about POC issues, I’m like, yeah, you’re a person of color, sure. But even within, like even just removing Black people, what you’re failing to realize is that anti-Blackness is worldwide. So even in your community, say, Asian people, East Asian people tend to be lighter. Yeah, East Asian, Asian people as a group of people tend to have struggles, but the darker in skin color you get, the worse it gets, like, if that’s just…
Kim: In South America.
Kim: In the Caribbean islands, in—anti-Blackness is worldwide, that’s what I tell people all the time. Anti Blackness is—the closer you are to white, the more privileges you have. And you may be lower on the hierarchy, but you—so the thing is, you never, even immigrants who come here, you could be anything, but don’t be like those Black people.
Amélie: That’s literally what it—because even in the Caribbean, my family’s from the Caribbean—so even growing up I’ve had… I remember one time my mom was watching the news, and I forget, you know how just generally on the news, I’m sure they still do it now, they’ll always go to “the ghetto,” air quotes. And they’ll find the one, air quotes, “ignorant ghetto person” and do an interview with them; they can’t speak, air quotes, “proper English.”
So my mom saw that on the 10 o’clock news and she was like, “Why do they talk that way?” And I looked at her and I was like, “Mom, what did you just say?” She’s like, “Black people.” And I was like, “Hmm”, just, you know, pointing at my skin. I’m like, “That’s us”, and she’s like, “No, we’re Jamaican”, and I was like, “Hmm, that’s interesting.”
Kim: Yep, yep. And I’m glad you told this story because people don’t believe me, and this is what I say also ’cause I’ve had African individuals who tell me that when they come to, migrate to the—immigrate, migrate. I don’t think that’s the right word.
Kim: Yeah, immigrate to the US, they’re told, you know, don’t hang around those Black people da da da da da da… And so everybody wants to be anything but Black. And I’ve talked about this, and Dr. Kendi talked about this in the book “How to Be an Antiracist”—in one of the chapters that, he talks about it—they’re gonna dump, they lump us all together anyway. So, you could be a immigrant, you could be from the Caribbean, you could be from a Latin American country… You’re dark. They don’t care. Because by default white supremacy sees us as a group…
Kim: …and this goes back again, full circle to women. If patriarchy sees us as a group, if you prioritize the most vulnerable who have other things—and this is another thing why white feminism is insidious, because it says only, well, it’s not just white feminism when you get into these spaces, they try to make you focus only on the things we all have the same. Because in their eye, that’s how we’re gonna get there faster. Well, that helps you if you only have the one thing!
Amélie: Exactly. [Kim laughs] Like, what about the other…? I mean, and also the one thing that we have in common isn’t even all that in common, because the way I experience womanhood is completely different from the way a white woman experiences womanhood.
Kim: Yes. Because I’m not—my womanhood, as you already said, is not a woman. I’m not a woman. Oh my god, it’s a journey of truth. Ain’t I a woman? You know, it’s like, I have the parts but I’m still not considered a woman.
Kim: So that still doesn’t work for me. And it speaks to how they’ve appropriated intersectionality. Intersectionality, it was not, is not meant for white women. [Amélie laughs] Go read the seminal work of Kimberlé Crenshaw. It is not meant for white women. It’s not about your—and you don’t have intersectionality, so it’s not you and your whiteness and your LGBTQ. No, it’s not that.
It’s—and this is what I—when whiteness enters the room, your marginalization usually gets shut down or ignored, because you come in with whiteness and at this point, when you come in with whiteness, any marginalization, any empathy, sympathy I might have for your marginalization gets erased, because you come in with whiteness, and you come in with privilege and you come in demanding shit.
Amélie: I don’t think that a lot of them also realize that like, kinda going back to all these other parts of their identity that they think is intersectionality… Like I still even remember when the election happened, and I had a white friend who was—identified as a woman at that time, and they were like, “Yeah, like, this is so bad. Like, you know, Trump is gonna, like come after people like me.” And I was like, “Girl, you’re white. Like, you’re gonna be fine”. And she’s like, “No, I’m trailer trash. And I grew up in like, in a trailer park, and I grew up poor.”
I was like, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, I get you, I hear you. But all you need to do is brush your hair and put on some good clothes, and you’re gonna be—like no one can… Like, yeah, you’re queer. But no one’s gonna look at you and go, “Oh, that person’s queer”, they’re gonna see two things; they’re gonna see that you’re a woman and they’re going to see that you’re white. So I just—you’re gonna be fine.”
And we actually had a huge argument over it, ’cause I kept trying to tell her I was like, “All those other identities that you’re talking about, they’re technically invisible. Like, no one can see them.”
Kim: Yes, yeah.
Amélie: “The only thing that people can see immediately is skin color. So if we’re gonna talk about who’s gonna be affected worse, and I don’t want to play that game, but if you wanna play that game, it’s going to be the darker skinned people slash immigrants and darker skin immigrants in this country, as far as this election goes,” and she just didn’t get that.
Kim: I’ve had this same conversation about white-passing Jews. I’ve had the same conversation about white trans women. I’ve had—and this goes again, when whiteness enters the space, it demands to be centered, and any other marginalization you have is ignored. Because for white-passing Jews—to me, you’re all white. I don’t know the difference between Irish, Italian, Greek, Jew; if you look white, it’s in my best interest to—for my safety—to lump y’all together.
Kim: Because if I spend time doing that other stuff, it might cause me harm. For white trans women, you’re causing harm to Black and brown trans women when you come into lesbian and non-binary spaces, demanding that these women no longer talk about their cycles. They no longer talk about pregnancy, that they no longer talk—because it’s not the thing that you have in common. Just because your lived—you cannot ignore somebody else’s lived experience. Their lived experience does not oppress you.
Amélie: Yeah, it doesn’t change—their lived experience does not take away from you being a woman, you’re still a woman, we’re all women, but there is a different lived experience happening in terms of that womanhood…
Amélie: …and that’s OK. There’s nothing wrong with that. But it’s just like..
Kim: It becomes a problem when you demand that—you come in and silence these women who have created spaces for themselves for safety…
Kim: …out of being not a part of white groups anyway.
Kim: So they created these spaces for safety. They’ve been open to all women, because they recognize that you have transitioned or you’re transitioning and you need a safe space, and you just shit on it, their goodwill, by coming in and saying that issues about abortion, and their cycles and all, you can’t discuss that.
That’s the same—why would, why would, that’s no different from me saying, I go into it as an educator ’cause I’m special needs certified, I go in and say, “OK, if you have autism, you can talk about that. But if you have ADHD, because that’s just your behavior, you know it’s not visible, then I can’t, I’m not gonna accommodate you.”
When it comes to test time, I have to make accommodations for your ADHD so that you can have success on taking the test. The same as I do with like, autism is a spectrum, there’s some people I need to make certain accommodations for; extended time, make sure they have, they’re in a quiet place. They might need to have headphones on. I need to treat your—I don’t like disability—your lived experience, we’re just gonna call it a lived experience, I have to respect your lived experience in the same way. I just treat it differently.
Amélie: Yes, exactly.
Kim: I just approach it differently, because as an educator, by the end of the year, there was a goal I had to get everybody to. We all weren’t going to get there at the same place, the same pace, the same time. But we’re trying, I’m trying to get everybody as close as we possibly can to that goal. Because if not, then I—then the administrators are asking me at the end of the year why didn’t that person meet this benchmark.
Amélie: I was going to say, I love that you said that in terms of someone who’s a Jewish person and they’re white-passing. Viewing them as white and kind of bringing it full circle back to this idea, like if you’re a Black person from an African country or Caribbean country, when you come to America, you’re gonna be seen as Black, they’re not gonna be considering your country.
And it’s funny ’cause I’ve heard people get kind of upset about that idea, ’cause they’re like, “No, like, we can totally, like, just treat people based on, like, you know, like, who they are”. And I’m like, “No, no, no”, because it’s not even an American thing, it’s actually an international thing. Even…
Kim: It’s a system thing. So it’s not even on the individual level. It’s a system. The system is not designed to treat us as individuals.
Amélie: Exactly, so even like, bringing it back to World War Two when Japan occupied Korea and split Korea into two factions. There’s this, I remember reading this book called “Pachinko” about that occupation period, and Japanese people were so proud. They’re like, “Ugh, I could tell a Korean apart from a Japanese person when I see them”. They absolutely could not do that in any way, shape, or form. What they needed was a passport that identified that person as Korean, so that way they can fully discriminate without any questions about that discrimination.
Kim: Yes. Without mistakenly maligning some of their own.
Amélie: Exactly. And I just thought that was so fascinating. I was like, that’s [Laughs] that’s wild, but OK. Fascinating.
Kim: Yeah. I had a conversation—and I’m gonna wade in here—’cause I see the same thing with China and—is it Taiwan?
Amélie: Yeah, China and Taiwan.
Kim: Pakistan and India? And I’ve asked someone—because it was the same country and it broke off because of religions, one’s Muslim and one’s Hindi—and so this is… Or, or going back to World War Two, how after World War One they annexed the part of Czechoslovakia that had, that they broke up during World War One, and they annexed—and then that was Hitler’s rationale for, “Oh well, these are German-speaking people, people are supposed…”
Kim: No, not Austria. It was a part of Czechoslovakia, ’cause that was the first country that he actually, that the Germans, that the Nazis actually took over. They took that one part and said, “Hey, because they’re Germans”, and then they just took over the rest of it, and that was when they had the first—they felt it was gonna be easy to take over because no one pushed back.
And they’re like, “OK, you can take that”, because of diplomatic reasons or whatever. And so it’s this thing, it’s the same thing I see again with Israel and Palestine; it’s humanity, deciding not to see the humanity in other people.
And then you have these people who wanna come on Twitter and, like, “We’re all the same!” No, until everybody is treated the same, what you’re saying is bullshit. Until we stop maligning Muslims, until we stop maligning people from quote unquote “shithole countries”. Until we stop doing that then no, we’re not having the same experience, and I’m not gonna have “I don’t see color” conversations with you.
Amélie: [Laughing] Oh, god.
Kim: Yeah. Yeah. We’re not doing that, because to do that, for me to do that makes you comfortable, and it puts me in danger. And we’re no longer doing that in 2019. I’m no longer putting my sanity—and I’m not using this as a ablest—I’m literally, I’m not putting my sanity in jeopardy to please privileged white people, it’s just not—or whatever privileges. And that’s another thing, privilege changes based on what group you’re in. That’s what people don’t understand. Depending on the group or the environment around, your proximity to privilege changes.
Amélie: I feel like in terms of trying to get people who don’t understand privilege, which tends to mostly be white people, but also some white-adjacent people, the best resource that I’ve used is Peggy McIntosh.
Kim: Unpacking girl.
Amélie: Yeah. Unpacking the backpack situation.
Kim: Yeah. Knapsack. [“White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack”]
Amélie: Knapsack. Yeah, people just seem to get that, I’m like, “Why..?”
Kim: And the same thing with “White Fragility”. They get that. And so that’s been a interesting dive for me lately, particularly since I’m doing the “How to Be an Antiracist” podcast, ’cause I’m gonna continue to do books. I mean, it’s the book club. And I’ve decided that I will not be highlighting any white writers. I will not be highlighting whiteness studies. Because again, they speak specifically to their white experience, but they wouldn’t understand their white experience if they did not juxtapose it to a Black experience.
Amelie: Yesss, yes. 100%.
Kim: So I’m not gonna dive into—’cause “White Fragility” is a great book, it’s a great thing for them, but you gonna do that on your own, we gonna talk to some Black folx who gonna help you see the light of day. So the next book we’re gonna be reading is “The History of White People” by Nell [Irvin] Painter. Yeah, mhm, after we finished this book at the end of the year.
Whoo, this has been—I am sweatin’. You have got me…. [Amélie laughs] You have really—again, I never know what I’m gonna, what’s gonna happen when I have my Black women on, but damn, girl, you took me to places that… And again, I know some of you are gonna, are upset. I know some of you are gonna, you know, not follow me any more. I don’t give a fuck.
Amélie: Ditto. [Giggles]
Kim: Yeah, because this is important, this is a conversation I needed to have…
Amélie: Yep, same.
Kim: …because I needed to unpack some of this. So—’cause this is, like, I continue to tell people, I am educating the oppressor while I’m still processing my own oppression.
Amélie: Yesss! Yeah.
Kim: So this is again, is why, intersectionality. I’m doing two jobs. I’m tryna keep my, be—and I don’t wanna say professional, ’cause my professional looks totally different from other people’s professional, ’cause other people’s professional looks like white folx… [Amélie laughs]
…so that’s not what it is. I’m trying to stay in the educator mold, let’s put it that way, while I also know that doing this, it brings up things, it brings up scars, it brings up things that I have to process, I have to step back. It’s the reason why I only work four days a week. I can’t do this shit everyday.
Amélie: Ah, I love that you work four days a week. That’s delightful.
Kim: Yeah, I can’t do this every day. And I’m usually done by one o’clock because I need to…
Amélie: Ah, yes!
Kim: I need to be done. I gotta, I can’t do this all day, it would be—I do not believe in harming myself in that way. So, and I again when people think this work is for funsies, it’s not. I do this work because I recognize I’m good at it. I recognize it is needed. And I have a privilege to be able to do this work. So I’m very appreciative of being able to do this work. But this work is hard. This work is hard.
So what would you like to say in your last moments here?
Amélie: I feel like you definitely mentioned a lot that people will be upset and they’ll be frustrated, and I also agree, like, whatever, get over it. I guess for me, what my hope is, is that if you’re a white person or a white-adjacent individual, I would hope that you understand that you don’t need a Black, brown, or indigenous person to educate you in terms of your privilege and the work that you need to do.
You don’t also necessarily need to listen to—like I said Peggy McIntosh is great, but there are plenty of Black women writers who’ve been writing about a lot of the things that have come to the forefront in the past year or so around diversity and inclusion who have been around for far longer than many of us have. They’ve been writing for years, and they’ve been ignored, so just do a Google search, the information is out there, you’re just not doing the active work to actually dismantle some of the systems that we’re talking about.
And then the final thing that I would say is kind of going along with systems, that’s literally what it is. So when these conversations like this happened about white people or white supremacy or whatever, and you feel yourself getting in your feelings—ah, you’re so self-centered. That’s what you are. Because it’s not about you as a person. It’s about a system. When I find myself angry with white people, like sure, it might be because of a thing an individual did, but on the whole, it’s because of these white supremacist systems, that’s what I’m angry at. If you’re upset and you think that I’m talking about you, you’re self-centered because it’s not about you. It’s everyone who participates in it, which is myself, you and everyone else, so it’s not about the individual. I don’t have a space for the individual. It’s about the system, and we’re all just…
Kim: The individual does not scale. We cannot dismantle, we cannot change tech dealing with the individual.
Amélie: No, no we can’t.
Kim: And yeah. Mmh. You made—again, we could go another hour, but I just, I don’t have the bandwidth for it. I’m exhausted.
Amélie: I feel you! [Laughs]
Kim: Girl, this conversation has exhausted me. I appreciate it, but good god almighty. Because again, I just recorded something for the white gaze, and it’s like [Makes gagging noise] feels so disgusting. But if it didn’t help me, I wouldn’t be doing it, so… Thank you so much for this candid conversation.
Amélie: Yeah. Thank you.
Kim: [Sighs] Take a breath. And have a wonderful day.
Amélie: You too.
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