Yesterday, I was having a conversation with a couple of friends and one began to tell me how someone we know is “white washed.” I asked him what makes this person WW. He began to list things such as how he dresses, speaks, etc. I then asked “well what way is he supposed to dress, speak, etc?” His response was “You know what I mean.”
To say that someone is “white washed” is extremely offensive. If a person does not speak the stereotypical way you believe they should doesn’t make them any less black or brown. As someone who grew up being called white washed and naively believing I was being praised for it, this type of language is toxic. People use this as an insult on some occasions and others truly believe it’s a compliment. Well I’m here to clear up any confusion you may be having. Are you insulting me? Yes. Is this at all a compliment? No. Are you diminishing my blackness? YES!
I get it it’s one of those things where you’ve said it to a black friend and maybe they didn’t have the reaction that I do. So in your mind that makes it alright to say it. They may have joked around with you, laughed, or just didn’t respond. In my past I’ve done it plenty of times. But hey, hi, hello, just because one of your friends isn’t offended by it or doesn’t find harm in it doesn’t mean it isn’t offensive to someone else. In a country where time and time again white people have more privilege then someone with brown skin this is just another way of telling us we’re not accepted as is. It is a way of saying that black people should speak like they’re from the hood to be considered black. A way of saying that Latinos are less to their culture because they don’t know Spanish.
It is a phrase that is designed to keep minorities down.
So if you take ANYTHING away from this I truly hope it’s to be mindful when using phrases or words that have to do with someone’s race. You never know what someone’s background is or any of the past experiences they’ve had.If you’ve been in this situation and don’t know how to handle it, my go to is to always question. Ask them why, what, and how. Let them understand how ignorant it truly sounds.
As always, I’m sending positive vibes your way.