Wanda Sykes: ‘We need white people to tell white people to stop being racist’

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Wanda Sykes was on Jimmy Kimmel Live last week, where she talked about the fact that so many people are coming out to protest. Wanda has been an outspoken opponent of the Trump administration for years, as has most every other celebrity with a conscience, and I really liked what she had to say about the protests. So many people showed up all over the world to protest police brutality in the US, the crowds were amazing, especially considering the fact that there’s a pandemic and we’re scared for our lives. Wanda said that white people really need to show up, and that we need to call out other white people for racism.

On her video telling white people to join the cause
I just had to say something. We can’t do it alone. If we’re out there marching and asking for change, we need white people to do it. We need white people to tell white people to stop being racist. When we do it it’s obviously not working. The person that’s kicking your butt, why can’t ask us ‘why can’t you make them stop kicking your butt?’ It doesn’t work like that.

“I hope that this is something that really sticks with people”
This is different, you can really feel that. You can see white people out there. I guess we just had to tell y’all ‘hey it’s ok, you can march. Just because it’s Black Lives Matter doesn’t mean we don’t want you involved. We need you involved.’

[From Jimmy Kimmel on YouTube]

I have a friend who is working diligently on Facebook to talk to close Republican family members and friends about the issues and educate them. She says her family is actually coming around and that some dislike Trump now. I think because I’m a northerner with a low tolerance I don’t have that same take. While I’ve called out people for racism in front of me, I’m not on Facebook, I avoid dealing with Trumpers and have written them off for the most part. They are brainwashed, but the least we can do is tell them that it’s not acceptable to be racist. Thankfully my family is sane and I don’t have to interact with conservatives for my job. I have lost friends because I’ve gotten angry about how white-priviledgy they are, but that’s a different side to the same coin. It’s clear I should and can be doing more.

I saw a tweet last week, I wish I could find it again, that said that black people have been brutalized by police forever but now that it’s been happening to white people the world is finally paying attention. Unfortunately it’s true. Update: thanks Karen for sending me this tweet!

Here’s that interview:

Here’s the video Wanda recorded that Jimmy referenced in their interview. She told Jimmy she’d been drinking George Clooney’s tequila! She said she was tired of just getting texts from her white friends and that they needed to join the cause. She said “You’ve got to fix the problem, you’re the abuser. You can’t ask the woman ‘why can’t you stop him from beating you?‘”

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13 Responses to “Wanda Sykes: ‘We need white people to tell white people to stop being racist’”

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  1. Mac says:

    This! White people created white supremacy and it’s our job to dismantle it. If you want to learn to talk to white people about race, I recommend the book White Fragility.

  2. BrynAnn says:

    Yes, because I just can’t do it anymore! I refuse! I’m sick and tired and tired of being sick!

  3. McMom says:

    I was talking with a colleague the other day and asked what I can do to help. She said, “if you could explain white privilege to other white people, that would help. Because it’s exhausting to have to keep explaining it.”

    I cannot cancel everyone who doesn’t get it – I work in a large company and lead teams of people, some of whom get it and some who don’t. I have to use my position to help educate those who might not be as inclined to understand.

    • Steph says:

      The other day Rageagainsttheminivan (on instagram) posted this explanation of white privilege for white people who feel like the term “white privilege” somehow negates recognition of the hardships they’ve faced that I thought was pretty good: “White privilege isn’t about me individually. It’s not a personal attack. White privilege is a systemic cultural reality that I can either choose to ignore, or choose to acknowledge and attempt to change. It has nothing to do with my worth as a person or my own personal struggle. More seriously, white privilege may allow you to walk through an upscale residential neighborhood without anyone wondering what you are doing there. It may allow you to get argumentative with a cop without fear of being shot. There is nothing threatening about acknowledging privilege. Being more empathetic to the experiences of others is not a sacrifice of personal politics or lifestyle. Feelings of guilt about white privilege should occur only if, because you don’t experience racism, you decide [you] don’t have to listen or care when other people do, or because you refuse to give up privileges that you keep at the expense of others.”

  4. Oatmeal says:

    Point blank and period

    That’s it and that’s all.

  5. KellyRyan says:

    Utilizing any resource which will work. My gay son and I watched For the Bible tells me so 10 years ago. Politicians and religious leaders began to change their views once they had a gay child or other family member. I consider our family fortunate in our diversity, gay, black, bi-racial, North American Indian. Perhaps we should consider a deeper celebration of mixed marriages, all of them. Inclusivity, a word favorite.

  6. AnnaKist says:

    Last Friday, I was with my bestie. She was picking up her little grandson from kindergarten, but we had more than an hour yo kill. I suggested we go back to mine for a coffee, but she said we should go to her brother’s, which is only around the corner from the school. They had the tv on, and there was news about George Floyd. As her brother made coffee, she and i said qietly how awful it all is, and we were witing to hear the High Court’s decision on whethrt the Sydnry protest march could go ahead, in light of physical distamcing rules. He came out and, noticing we were concentrating on the news, busted out with the most despicable things about black people. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I’ll omly say that: “ …Sis, it’s a fact. The brains of black people are not as developed as ours, so they can’t think like we do.” I asked what that had to do with the way the policemen had behaved, and what his source was for these “facts” of his. My friend knows her brother well, and said she wasn’t going to argue about it again, so we’d best leave. I said, “You know, M, I really took you to be a lot more intelligent and informed, but will you text me your sources for what you said? I can access some scholarly papers from the Uni community, and ill email them to you. Ta. ‘’ No, he didn’t text me.

    My all-time favourite band put up a lovely message on their Instagram. I don’t follow them on there, but was told about it. Look for Bad Religion on Instagram.

    We all need to speak up and speak out. We need to condemn this shit and those who perpetuate it, at every opportunity, because we need to end it, once and for all.

  7. Heather H says:

    1000% agree Wanda

  8. adastraperaspera says:

    Finish the Civil War! Spot on. Gen. Sherman had the right idea. The statues need to be melted down. The legislation needs to be reformed. Voting Rights Act must be re-enacted. The Confederacy (alive and well) is so desperate they’ve allied with Putin to oppress African-Americans. They hate the Constitution. They are a clear and present danger to us all. I live in the occupied state of Tennessee, and the racist overlords here and everywhere else need to be kicked out once and for all.

  9. nicegirl says:

    I agree it’s on us (I’m white) to educate our families and friends about our privilege and the lack of (any) equity for POC.

  10. IMUCU says:

    I’ve been trying to educate my family for YEARS. Even some of their inlaws…but they are all hard core Trump and pretty darn racist. They do know if they say something racist around me, they will get called out for it, but then they like to play it off as a joke most of the time (which I tell them is not funny). I kinda got through to my grandma on Trump (which I was very surprised about), when I was away with her for a few weeks and we had some in depth conversations. But then she went back home to watch Fox News and I think all the headway I made with her has slipped away almost by now. I wish I could go out and join demonstrations right now, but I am still social distancing bc I take an immunosuppressant. The best thing I can do is donate to BLM causes from home.

    • Vernie says:

      Keep fighting the good fight. Systemic racism needs to be attacked on all fronts so never doubt your efforts even if you’re not at a public protest.