Bless Your Heart, Sit Down and Shut UP..Please

Photo by Dollar Gill on Unsplash

(An update — the person who blocked me, unblocked me and reached out. Have to give credit where credit is due)

So am I being petty or annoying writing this article? That is a rhetorical question, but feel free to answer it if you want. I actually thought long and hard about writing this “response” as a separate article. See I cannot write it as a direct response to a certain individual because they blocked me (at least I was blocked as of yesterday so I should probably check again I guess).

My offense? I think they see me as the asshole white person who asked a question of Black writer. This response made me think long and hard about how we show our support for other people and when that support becomes disingenuous, patronizing or even harmful.

Frankly, I liked the writer’s article (The Pandemic Prevents White Preoccupation With My Hair) that started all of this. I was really interested in her point of view. So I do what I often do when I respect a writer and have a question I responded to her article with that question. Odd I know and clearly a crime in some people’s minds. Carolyn Desalu, the author, answered my question and made a comment part of which was a “thank you”. I mention that only as an indication she was okay with my question/response. All was good in the world.

Well, all was good until someone decided to put in their 2 cents and told me to basically sit down and shut up because I was not “accepting”. To quote them “As white women it’s time for us to listen to black experiences, to accept, and learn.”

Problem is I am not sure how I was not “accepting”. Ms Desalu did not seem to take offense at my question, so why is this person getting bent out of shape. Am I supposed to just nod my head and not ask a question even if I have a question. Is that what acceptance looks like? Because to me this is a bit like acting like Lady Bountiful and it is kind of patronizing. Ms Desalu is more than capable of telling me off if she wants to do so.

In a nutshell that person’s response of telling me to shut up on the behalf of Ms Desalu is really bugging me even though I found it silly. I do try to ignore silly people or people who act like trolls. However, in this person’s quest to be an “ally” or “virtue signal” they are doing all of us a disservice by attempting to stop the conversations we all need to be having today about race and race relations.

Now I have to admit I did tell her “Bless Your Heart” and I think we all know what that really means. But I am tired of the “entitled” word being bandied about like a sledgehammer to stop any meaningful conversations.

Photo by George Pagan III on Unsplash

Here is what I wrote in response:

“Bless your heart for so politely telling me to shut up and sit down. So, if I try to have an intelligent debate and ask some question I am showing my “inherent sense of entitlement”. Please enlighten me; entitlement to what exactly? Expressing my opinion and having a mature conversation about an interesting topic. Well, the author of the article is “entitled” to express her opinion and I loved reading her article. I learned something and loved reading the article enough to respond to her. Yes, I am “entitled”; “entitled” to ask questions, debate the topic and basically act like an intelligent adult.

You say that it is time to “accept, and learn”. Part of learning is asking questions, exploring the topic and sometimes asking “why” or “what about this” and not just nodding your head.

In fact, in my opinion taking your approach is a bit patronizing. I gave the author of this article the respect she deserved for a great article when I took time to respond. I won’t patronize her by nodding my head and just accepting whatever is said like I am playing lady bountiful. Maybe you should check yourself for a bit of entitlement or maybe a bit of virtue signaling.”

At this point I was told yes to shut up. Oh and I was showing my white fragility at which point this person blocked me. Ironic I know.

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