Don’t Say This to Black People or Other People of Color
In this episode of Everyday Conversations on Race, Selena Wilson and LeRon Barton talk with me about “backhanded compliments,” or compulsions to describe, that are actually racist.
To hear more, download this episode of Everyday Conversations on Race for Everyday People
Here are three examples.
- Describing a Black or Brown person (usually a man) as being “so articulate.”
It sounds like you’re surprised that a Black man can be intelligent and be understood.
Even if unintentional it sounds racist.
- Feeling the need to describe every Black woman as beautiful when the topic is completed unrelated.
Always mentioning how beautiful a Black woman is before you talk about her accomplishment or quote her is weird. Why is this necessary? It has no impact on her credibility and reduces yours. Even if unintentional, it sounds racist.
- Having a compulsion when talking about a Black or Brown person in the business to first mention how qualified they are or how educated they are.
Do you do this with everyone? If not, why do you feel the need? Do you need to reassure yourself? Even if unintentional, it sounds racist.
This is a very deep, personal conversation on race, racism, colorism, privilege and other isms.
We had a few issues with the recording and sound but you will want to listen to the whole episode.
LeRon L. Barton is a writer from Kansas City, MO currently living in San Francisco, Ca. A graduate of Paseo Academy of Fine Arts, LeRon is the author of two books, “Straight Dope: A 360 degree look into American Drug Culture” and “All We Really Need Is Love: Stories of Dating, Relationships, Heartbreak, and Marriage.” In addition to the books, LeRon is an essayist; whose topics cover racism, mass incarceration, politics, gender, and dating. These works have appeared in Black Enterprise, Salon, The Good Men Project, Your Tango, Media Diversity, Raconteur, Elephant Journal, East Bay Times, and MoAD.
As a young man, LeRon has had to live with a stutter. At times it was debilitating and confidence hindering, but he has learned to manage the stutter and not let it stop him taking on another passion: public speaking. LeRon has also given talks and speeches at TEDx Wilson Park about overcoming the fear of stuttering, the University of San Francisco on Black and Asian Solidarity, Glide Methodist Church on collective liberation, been a guest of Al Jazeera’s The Stream, Story Corp, Dr. Vibe’s Do You Know What Time It Is podcast, and has participated in panel discussions on race and prison recidivism. In his spare time, LeRon mentors young men in San Francisco and loves to backpack around the world.
TEDx – How I Overcame The Fear of My Stutter – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nrraoSk_j3A&t=16s