“White Folk” Is Not Racist, It’s Establishing Boundaries

In response to my Instagram post a couple months back where I announced my new work standards and used the term "white folk" (and someone called me a racist):

The primary point of establishing racial boundaries is an attempt to reach mutual respect; the fact is socially, economically, politically, and historically, white people and POC are not the same. We are not equal to white folk. Even though the school system/society has told you to “not see color, then you won’t come off racist,” colorblindness is a form of (negative) white-washing. To assume and lump me (or any POC) into the same social place as a white person would be to deny the inequality that is still strongly present today.

That is not to say, as an Japanese-American, that I do not have similar privileges as white folk. Various Asian groups have Historically benefitted from being in allyship with White groups that other POC groups did not. In fact, Japanese people in specific are responsible for some of the oppression of other Asian and POC groups (I’ve only scratched the surface of this, will write a separate post in the future).

This experience and becoming aware of how it affected me throughout my life made me realize how not alone I was. I heard it from other POC, black, multi-racial, brown, Indigenous folks. We’re not alone in that these actions were mostly brought on by white folk, therefore the boundary is necessary. We’re not alone in knowing how we’ve had to survive in a White dominated world.

So white folk, please don’t try to relate to POC completely. If you do find yourself relating to POC, understand that the feeling may be similar (empathy) but the experiences will likely be very different (respect). Acknowledge that we are different from each other and that we are all individuals (in your mind). Keep in mind that if you are white, POC don’t want to be reminded by you that we are oppressed by your people. If you happen to be a white person which a POC opens up to about their oppression, it’s a very vulnerable thing to do, so listen! (And don’t give us more weight with ANY white guilt, it does no good)