On this week’s episode of People’s Party With Talib Kweli, sports journalist Jemele Hill went deep discussing sports, black entrepreneurship, and race, but it was her frustrations with willful ignorance that caught this writer’s ear. While discussing how debates with conservatives in good faith were getting harder to come by in the age of Trump, Hill touched a bit on just how corny it is when we POC have the burden of having to explain race relations anytime white people puff out their chests and say, “debate me.”
“There is this willful attraction to ignorance, where people are proud of what they don’t know, not understanding how stupid they sound,” she said. “Unless you come to the table with a certain amount of cultural perspective, it’s hard to have tough conversations… we know more about their history than they know about ours, and because of that imbalance, I’m not here to play Teach White People About Black History. I’m done with that game.”
Word. Even as a brown boy from California, I’ve had to deal with my own fair share of what I call the “Let Me Tell You Why I Take Issue With What You Just Said” game, even with my most woke and well-intentioned of friends. I like Hill’s name for it better.
“I think it’s always been such an unfair burden put on people of color. We didn’t create systemic racism, we didn’t create institutional racism, we didn’t create this general attack on black bodies, but yet we’re always put in charge of fixing the problem and I find that to be sort of intellectually dishonest. At some point, in order for this conversation on race to actually advance, white people have to be just as invested as filling those gaps as we are.”
Check out the full Jemele Hill interview on People’s Party With Talib Kweli above, Jemele’s comments come at about the 32-minute mark.