What a Black person thinks when they read this blog

Note from Penelope: This is a guest post of sorts. I asked Whitney to annotate one of my blog posts because I want to better understand the white privilege on my blog. I also thought this would be a way to share with you how much I learn from conversations I have had with Whitney leading up to this her commentary on this post

Note from Whitney: I am an Ivy-League educated, millennial, cis, straight Black woman. Also, I’m a teacher. That is the point-of-view from which I analyze and critique your writing, and someone with a more complex intersectional identity might have even more nuanced thoughts to offer. All the same, I’m happy to share my stream of consciousness as I read. So here I go!

I had this idea that coronavirus would be heaven for me because I’ve been working from home with my kids circling all day long for ten years. Must be nice. In my experience, the luxury of working from home with your kids is reserved primarily for White women. Because motherhood and child-rearing are generally disrespected in this country, and any sort of real honoring of that labor goes solely to White women. To live as you live, one would need enough generational and familial wealth to absorb the financial blows and instability that come with professional self-determination outside the corporate environment. Plus, one would need a work context where your employer values your contributions and seeks to protect you (even if it’s only in a benevolent sexism type of way (misogynoir means that no one is looking out for Black women in the work world (except other Black women)). You should know that systemic racism has made your lifestyle impossible for pretty much all Black Americans. You should know that the way you live is an unearned privilege, and many of your readers aren’t able to live this way. This should be my time to shine. I was looking forward to when schools closed down.HOW? How could you be thinking this when there are so many parents/guardians who won’t be able to stay home with their young kids and so many homes that are impossibly set up for home learning? The majority of families who send their kids to public schools NEED the instruction, food, child care, and mental health services they get from school. You are either out of touch and unaware of the level of need across the country, or you’re just selfish. Both are possible and characteristic of whiteness, but I’m assuming it’s the latter. Because I’ve been following you for more than a decade, and I believe you’re a good person who is just ignorant in the way that white supremacy requires white people to be. I wanted all the parents [You mean all the parents of a certain socio-economic status]to ask each other: How are you coping????

Finally, I will get to be the parent who is on top of things. I will be the coronavirus version of the mom who packs snacks for soccer and never forgets extra water. STOP! Acknowledge your privileged perspective! And people will say: She’s incredible!!!

But my son’s SAT got canceled for this weekend. So I thought okay, fine, my son will have to take the SAT at the same time he takes AP tests which only bad-planning families do, but fine, we can handle it. I call the College Board to reschedule before the rest of the world does. So white/individualistic. Instead of worrying about and advocating for the collective (i.e. all the kids applying to college who will be disadvantaged by this situation), you’re using your power to aggressively protect just your own kid. FYI, currently in this annotation process, I’m starting to feel like a judgmental, self-righteous bitch. But I’m going to keep going because hopefully, it will be worth it. I tell them they are delusional to be offering kids the April 3 test date. I suggest at-home tests that come with a camera to catch cheating.

The College Board person is pissed and snips at me.

Fortunately, I gave a fake name, so I still have hope of being the coronavirus mom of the year.

I was excited that I already have great tutors lined up. You’re an asshole for being excited about this because you’re basically excited that you have an unfair advantage… I can’t help but apologize – you’re an asshole for this, but I still love you.  Me thinking that you’re an asshole in the context of this one sentence doesn’t mean that I think you’re a bad person. I mean, you’re human and we’re all assholes in our own way. Don’t feel bad or offended, just do better… Isn’t it so telling how I’m so apologetic in these comments?? I was excited to casually explain to other parents that good tutors are hard to find and we found self-paced online learning to be totally inefficient. But I forgot to take into account that all our tutors work in hospitals and they are about to start working 10-million-hour shifts.

The only reason I get any work done while we homeschool is that I don’t homeschool. Right. Your version of homeschooling is paying people to do it for you. So we can’t get rid of all the tutors.  The tutor for SAT writing is a consultant who can’t travel. But I have no faith that there will be another SAT before college applications are due this fall. So we do what I have found works best: stick with a tutor you love and have your kid and the tutor find a topic they want to study together. The topic doesn’t matter nearly as much as the synergy between the two people. What a beautiful luxury. Your kids get a schooling experience that is tailored to their individual growth. They get to thrive through academic learning. School in America has nothing to do with such pursuits; instead, it’s more about acculturation to white supremacy. I’m so sad that every child doesn’t have access to the type of schooling you’ve described.

My younger son practices cello all day, with scattered breaks for piano, music theory and texting to other kids who play music all day. So self-isolation should be really easy for him — musicians practically choose this as a way of life.  But my son has a concussion from a car crash that happened six weeks ago which I did not write about because the lawyer said not to. Anyway, my son’s going crazy from boredom.

He tells me he’s bored like it’s my fault.

I tell him boring people are bored, which is what I used to tell my kids when they were tiny homeschoolers learning to identify their own interests. Learning to identify their own interests?? Do you know how much of a luxury this is? Do you know how many Black people die without ever coming close to being able to experience this? I’m not even talking about older Black people. Black millennials are so busy figuring out how to make money and catch up on the 400 hundred-year head-start white folks have (which, by the way, is a fool’s errand given the way our country is set up) that they don’t have the bandwidth to learn to identify their own interests. Seriously, any Black person nurturing their own interests is a revolutionary. I was going to say that the same is true for Black people your kids’ age, but I can’t afford to be that pessimistic.

He’s had enough of my homeschool pontificating. He says, “Mom, do you think it’s true that boring kids are a result of boring parents?” Ha! This is the sort of content I love to see in your blog. Your kids are very endearing. Thanks for sharing their gems with us.

We play Monopoly. I hate Monopoly because all those houses and hotels just beg the person losing to flick the board in a way that launches all those little pieces into flight. AND it’s a stupid, racist, classist game. But let me stop. I’m just being petty now. Let me chill out. I add my own rules to make the game go faster, like no pot of money in the middle. I make hazelnut high-rises worth twice as much as hotels. The kids are offended that I would use our coronavirus food supply for a game. So I drink Pinot Noir each time I pass go because the alcohol supply is my own. Love. But that’s just because in this regard, I’m as privileged as you.

Dinner is four cheeseless takeout pizzas because I can’t decide if takeout is risky and the boys can’t decide if one pizza each is enough.

One pizza each is not enough. But still, each kid gives me their best slice, which is touching. I nibble on crust wishing for teenage metabolism. Same. But we should stop feeling like this because it’s white supremacist, misogynist bullshit. Our bodies are good no matter how they look. There’s no reason for us to fear eating pizza for dinner sometimes or to envy the metabolisms and bodies of teenagers as grown-ass women. Did you know that fatphobia is just a facet of white supremacy? Look it up. Educate and free yourself, sis! The boys are quiet when they eat. And the streets of Boston are quiet now that the students have all flown home to deliver coronavirus from the petri-dish dorms to little houses full of old people all over the country. This is a moment in history where we will talk about how during their formative years, generation Z went from one crisis to the next.

The boys want to go to Barnes and Noble.

I tell them to forget it.

They growl.

“We have 400 books. Amazon has 4 million books. You don’t need to go get a virus from people waiting in line at Barnes and Noble.”

“Fine. We’re taking a walk.”

“Fine. But be careful. It’s a pandemic. Pandemic. Okay?”

“Ok boomer.”

I have come to terms with being called a boomer when I am not. But I am still getting used to searching for the generational inference the kid is making when they say ok boomer. In this case it’s because kids are downplaying coronavirus because it’s most dangerous to baby boomers. Younger kids refer to coronavirus as boomer remover and older kids call it the accelerator candidate — as in a candidate who makes things much worse much faster will finally get baby boomers out of power. Ugh from the mouths of babes! This probably makes me a bad person, but I lowkey hope the kids are right and that this virus makes way for actual equity and justice in a BlackPower-WomanPower-WorkerPower-QueerPower-AllPowerToThePeople type of way. (Before people complain, the majority of tweets on the topic of boomer remover are making fun of baby boomers being upset about being made fun of.)

I let the kids leave the apartment because I’m so excited to be alone. Are you aware that for so many Black people in urban areas, this is literally impossible? This isn’t a rhetorical question. I can’t actually tell whether you have any awareness of that fact. I think you actually never think of these things due to white supremacy… Anyway, I think you should know. And if you didn’t know, now you know. I know we are not supposed to be touching books that hundreds of other people touch. I imagine Barnes and Noble using Purell on the hardbacks to reassure us that shopping is safe.

I do not use my alone time to work. I clean up the dining room table because the research about neighborhoods with broken windows [You do know this is debunked antiquated, racist bullshit, right? Go take another look. Try searching broken+windows+racist] also applies to apartments with teenage leftovers. I read news about coronavirus. I decided to order more wine. I have underestimated how bad this is going to be.

The kids come home with The Communist Manifesto. Great. I really do hope they become communists. Have them read Cedric J. Robinson’s Black Marxism next. You should read it too. Barnes and Noble added a fancy cover to jack up the price to a point that would have made Marx cry.

My kids made a plan to listen to the audio version because the concussion means no reading. My older son falls asleep because, honestly, this book is no page-turner. My younger son says, “Mom, this book is so boring. You should drink every time they say bourgeoisie.”

I cancel the case of wine. It’s going to take everything in me to keep us sane through Pandemic 2020.

202 replies
« Older Comments
    • Tamara
      Tamara says:

      A string of entitled, resentful, envious ad hominems are a “contribution”? Get out of here with that noise.

      This is just a word salad of vacuous postmodern intersectionalist cliches. I can’t believe people are still falling for it in 2020.

      • Tamara
        Tamara says:

        Apologies, this comment was meant for the guest poster, Whitney, not the commenter, Etienne. Although there’s a lot I’d disagree on with Etienne, the words in my comment above do not fairly describe her at all. They were meant for Whitney.

  1. Karen
    Karen says:

    Etienne, who’s suggesting anyone be a “white savior”? Whitney’s narrative is that she is owed compensation by whites, right? So whites who believe that need to take the simple action of returning what’s they agree is owed. My point is, “woke” whites like Penelope, and many of the commenters here, do not mean a word of this. They’re just agreeably talking with no intention of action, in order to look like they’re not exactly as complacent as every white Trump voter. to They’ll part with their ill-gotten money and lift up black people at about the same Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi take a break from their own empty talk and desegregate their neighborhoods. It is ALL talk and nothing but talk. A fad. White people were vehement anti-racists for about 15 minutes because it was trendy with other whites and have already lost interest in Black Lives Matter.

    • Etienne
      Etienne says:

      She is not “owed” compensation by whites. She is owed compensation by the state for sanctioning, through law and public police, a historic system of racial oppression that facilitated and enabled the theft and deprivation of wealth and property. No one is launching litigation against white people from the 19th/20th century . . . What she is owed – no, what we all are owed, as citizens who subscribe to certain ideals and principals – are for those who benefit from that historic state-sanctioning of inequity to take steps to acknowledge and mitigate that privilege.

      • Karen
        Karen says:

        The state doesn’t print money; that’s collected from the taxes of private citizens. So it’s a redistribution of wealth you’re proposing. So why does Penelope need to wait until she’s compelled by the state? Wouldn’t a true ally and agent of change do it voluntarily?

        • Etienne
          Etienne says:

          This is not a monetary policy blog but, trust me, the U.S. government can manipulate the supply of money in the economy in various ways.

          The bigger problem (if you want to talk about wealth redistribution) is the sneaky way white supremacy leads many folks to believe that wealth redistribution means white people somehow losing, when in reality it’s a much smaller class of folks who hold the majority of wealth in America.

          An “aggressive“ tax of the ultra rich wouldn’t implicate anyone on this blog (most if not all of us on this blog are much closer to broke than owning a Fortune 500 company in relative terms).

          A fear of wealth redistribution (at the detriment of white and black communities) is in fact an example of the internalization of white supremacist ideology (a notion that only poor people of color need public welfare services because they don’t work hard enough). And this is why some poor white folks vote for Trump (to their detriment) and shunned Bernie Sanders (to their detriment).

  2. Karen
    Karen says:

    If you’re a woke white ally, like Penelope and these fake commenters claim to be, why would you fear wealth redistribution? You should embrace it and do it voluntarily, if you believe in it, as they say they do. It’s not an equitable restitution if you have to be forced to do it or if you only want other, richer people to do it, so you yourself don’t have to sacrifice anything.

    • Etienne
      Etienne says:

      You have arrived at a tangent. I’ll leave you in that corner of the playground and return to the main conversation over here.

      • Karen
        Karen says:

        If you want to retreat, be my guest, but this is hardly a tangent; it’s the crux of this argument. If you must be forced to pay the reparations you ADMIT you owe, or if you want someone else (anyone but yourself) to pay, you have no skin in the game, and you are simply speaking empty words. That’s literally what every “woke” person on this board is doing. Thanking you “for your contributions to this debate” is the equivalent of a grin, a pat on the head, and an assurance that the speaker will be maintaining the white status quo.

    • todd
      todd says:

      Karen, you are spot on. This is not a tangent. After all, why don’t a large bolus of sufficiently woke people correct the problem right now, voluntarily? As a Ph.D. Economist, I finally can talk about something I know very well-unlike Critical Race Theory which I admit I know next to nothing. The usual argument for forced taxation on public goods is one of moral hazard and transaction costs-if someone else is willing to pay then I have an incentive to defect and the person who signals that they are going to pay bears an unequal burden. Of course, as you suggest, signaling is cheap. The results of experimental economics show that agents act much differently when there is real money involved and that perhaps, there may be a lot of virtue signaling here. Note that virtue-signaling costs nothing and has real psychic benefits for its users. Transactions cost enter also as it is expensive to get proponents to organize and cooperate in a payment scheme without the force of law. As to the economics of reparations, a simple tax on the very wealthy would not make much of a dent. An extreme 100% income tax on the top 5% (who currently pay 35-40% of total Federal taxes) only gives us an amount equal to 1-1.5 years of Medicare and of course, this 5% might leave or quit work. Our current inequality of income is such that there are just not enough people to tax! Taxes on wealth could possibly close this gap, but wealth taxes have been tried (I believe only 4 countries remain) and they don’t work-France found that the wealthy with portable capital avoided the tax and the middle class paid most of the tax due to their immobile housing wealth. We would also have to change our Constitution for a wealth tax Nevertheless if sufficient force is applied, a 3% wealth tax might help pay for programs like this, and others such as universal basic income (which at $12k per year per capita is also currently unaffordable). And last, you are correct-you simply cannot print money for benefits, although current low-interest rates have convinced some fringe economists (MMT theory) that this is possible.

      • Etienne
        Etienne says:

        This is tangential because it is attempting to reduce an intimate conversation about everyday human experiences from a vulnerable blog post into an academic debate on the merits of various forms of state intervention to remedy past harms. This is not the forum for that debate. To be sure, I would not easily concede anyway that the question of wealth redistribution in modern America is antithetical to the notion of racial justice amidst a history of ongoing socioeconomic segregation, so the debate is futile. There are numerous articles/books on the wealth gap and it’s connections to a rich legacy of racial terrorism in America that we could discuss at another venue. Further, of all fields, economics is steeped in neoclassical theories that not only avoid issues of race (hence why few economists engage race in their models at all, much less learn CRT or heterodox theories, more generally) but are stubborn on embracing so-called fringe ideas like MMT while perpetuating losing battles like free market fundamentalism. That’s exactly why econ academics are having family feuds right now on the future of what economics will look like at the university.

        Look, we can debate all day about policy/economics/law (I’d push you on your framing of the utility of a wealth tax by questioning your valuation criteria, as well as the notion that it would be unconstitutional, which is odd) but I’ve grown up in a world where black voices (including my own) have been presented with “theory“ as a hurdle to climb before being “allowed“ to get to the heart of the matter. I’m not interested in showcasing intellectual prowess to convince you to be vulnerable.

        This is not about tax policy. This is about getting over your fear of sharing (to strangers on the internet) how you feel about Black and brown people in America, what you view as your role in race relations, and why? That’s a conversation everyone can benefit from and one worth having here because it’s actually much harder than rehearsing the latest policy proposal you read about on Twitter.

        • todd mccallister
          todd mccallister says:

          I didn’t realize that you get to define the conversation. But I guess, according to CRT, I should step aside. However, it was Whitney that bought up Marxism, which we have to study to get through our Comphensives in a Ph.D. Program. From Marx’s thoughts on the runaway status of capital/income ratios to the labor theory of value, his predictions have been dead wrong. The world simply doesn’t work that way. Its intellectual content and historical significance require we study it, but it is a poor explanation of the world. It has a very poor empirical track record, Only a few ancient Soviet state planners and fringe poorly paid Anglo-Saxon academics still study it. I also believe that you suggested a high marginal tax on the rich. Why bring something up if you don’t want it discusses. Your dismissal of economics seems a little brusque. Economics is much, much more than neoclassical theory and race relations are a key current research topic in Economics. In fact, the youngest ever tenured economics professor at Harvard publishes such research (he is black), along with many others at the University of Chicago, some of whom are my friends. Much of the research involves family structure, race and wealth gaps, etc. Since we economists also have to know econometrics cold, I suspect some of the best studies in this area are in economics, not in less quantitative fields. And MMT is fringe (again you bought up this topic) even for the MOST liberal of economists (i.e. Krugman). It violates even first-year undergrad basic econ models (Keynesian, not neoclassical), a lecture I give to undergrads. And economics is a healthy profession compared to the boutique study fields that teach CRT in most Universities. A large and increasing fraction of undergrads, perhaps unaware of their “privilege” or afraid of the horrendous cost of education and its usefulness are choosing economics. The point is, it is a growing, healthy field and perhaps because of its number sense, doesn’t appeal to emotive individuals. And a wealth tax is widely thought to be unconstitutional as the Court ruled in last century that direct taxes except for income taxes are not constitutional. The case here is Pollack versus Farmer’s loan. Although you never know, 9 people could overturn Pollack. Last, isn’t wrong to assume I have fears about talking about race relations? I don’t tell you what you are feeling.

        • Ann
          Ann says:

          A bit disingenuous of you Etienne. You’ve been well away from ‘everyday human experiences’ in many parts of this conversation.

          • Etienne
            Etienne says:

            Guess I am a sucker for a good trend. But I have been trying to encourage a different kind of conversation. I am happy to share when that happens, but I guess I selfishly came here to find out what others have experienced and learn from that. Maybe its the capitalist in me.

  3. Ann
    Ann says:

    In addition to what I have said above I want to say that I understand the rage Whitney feels on behalf of all the Black people who are not, because of race, in the position to provide for their kids what Penelope can provide for hers. There cannot possibly be a big enough roar in the world to express that rage, but I hear it. Penelope’s posts about her kids don’t trigger rage in me because, as a white person, I could probably provide those things to my kids if I wanted to.

    • todd
      todd says:

      Ann, have you read PT’s most recent blog post?. She is really suffering and although she can stay home to educate her kids, it comes at a great price. She is not only struggling financially, she indicates that she is cut-off from any sense of community. Alone. I find it hard to imagine that anyone would want to be in her shoes. Although I appreciate Whitney’s rage and I imagine she too has felt alone and cut-off, I am not sure that Whitney isn’t better off with her Ivy League Degree and hopefully a better social connection. I am not a psychologist and don’t know how to help PT, but I am not so sure she has the emotional energy to beat herself up over her privilege right now. Before you can take on the world, you have to have some things in order.

  4. Karen
    Karen says:

    And who in history has clean hands, anyway? If you’re part of the Western world, you are–right now–consuming and benefiting from the mass enslavement and suffering of other people. I guarantee you while judging Penelope, Whitney is wearing an article of clothing made by a slave in an Asian sweatshop. Are we going to measure our respective sins and virtues to determine who gets what?

    I’m white, but also female and gay, meaning part of two demographics historically subjugated and denied rights by the state, not even capable of attaining the tax benefits and other legal privileges of marriage until five years ago.

    Does this mean I get exempted from the White Tax, or is my contribution to it adjusted downward for my lack of pay equality, being female, and lack of marital benefits from the age of 18 until five years ago?

    • Etienne
      Etienne says:

      What is a “white” tax? Truly, we reflect on what you are saying and how it is incredibly steeped in white Supremacist thinking. What does it mean for a white person to be “taxed“ if the government addresses socioeconomic inequality stemming from slavery by using public funds, which ultimately benefits society? And why is this a white tax, but taxes used to pay for public school or military funding is not? Please explain the “white tax” to me.

      • Karen
        Karen says:

        It’s a tax specifically assessed on whites by the state for the purpose of redistributing to black people for reparations. The name is unimportant; I think I saw it upthread and it’s just a succinct way of describing the concept. I assume even in your example of just taxing billionaires, black billionaires would be excluded, and only white billionaires subject to the assessment, correct? So, yes, White Tax, since that’s the one qualification that determines who gets taxed. But you can use any term for it you like.

        • Etienne
          Etienne says:

          I’ve never heard of this proposal before – taxing white citizens to fund reparations. If you can share where you have read about it I would love to read about it in more detail. I agree, it would seem hypocritical to not tax the 5 black billionaires in the US if that’s the policy.

  5. Ibtisaam
    Ibtisaam says:

    Capitalism is waaay better than Communism. Communism obliterates human initiative and creativity. Government becomes all-powerful and everyone jostles to come closer to the trough to feed on the tidbits, which is the case in many African countries. In any event, there are not only just two economic systems.

    • Karen
      Karen says:

      Agreed. Capitalism channels human nature in the most productive way. No, it is not the fairy tale version of humanity that commies seem to think they can dream into existence, but it is the scientifically sound way to make the best life for the greatest number of people.

      • Etienne
        Etienne says:

        If by human nature you mean a competitive and individualistic spirit driven by self-interest, then you are right. Capitalism is doing a great job at giving us the “best” life.

  6. Karen
    Karen says:

    The problem with this oppression olympics thing that underpins the black reparations argument is that it is way too easy to overturn. There’s the woman argument (in that black men, for example, were granted voting rights long before white women and women are historically subjugated and owned in a way that FAR outpaced black US slavery); the gay argument (in that a white homosexual’s behavior was criminalized and punished in a manner a straight black man’s never was). The Native argument, in that Native Americans were slaughtered and chased off their ancestral land so that you could build your home there instead (which you will not be giving back to them anytime soon, I guarantee). There’s even a good white male argument, as all the wars that established this country and liberated it from foreign threat were disproportionately fought by white males, who were forcibly drafted into service and death. Who can say who’s sacrifice was most deserving of recompense?

    • Etienne
      Etienne says:

      The fact that your name is Karen makes me wonder if you are trolling . . . too much to unpack here; you have outlined an entire semester’s course. But your final question is incredibly profound because it so poignantly illuminates the way capitalism drives us to view citizenship as a competitive game where the winner takes all.

      Is recompense for democratic sacrifice in short supply?

      • Karen
        Karen says:

        If everybody is owed recompense, how is it not fundamentally unfair to single out just one group to receive it?

        • Etienne
          Etienne says:

          This is an irrational statement. When throughout American history has our government conspired to deny white people recompense when they experienced a harm? I am fairly certain that our court system, social welfare services, affirmative action, and other governmental programs designed to correct harms have not discriminated against white people. In other words, who is denying recompense to harmed white people to lead you to conclude that there is an unfairness or injustice taking place?

  7. JC
    JC says:

    I’m used to challenging posts from you Penelope but I’m surprised that you would publish such views uncritically. Whitney’s baseless accusations of racism/white supremacy, abusive language and advocacy of communism will offend/alienate many of your readers I suspect. I hope you will provide some balance in a future post. For example your readers might be interested in the views of Professor Glenn Loury, also an African American but with a very different perspective to Whitney’s. See eg https://www.city-journal.org/racism-is-an-empty-thesis.

    • Etienne
      Etienne says:

      Putting politics aside, it is important for readers to know that Glenn Loury was trained as an economist. While he is very accomplished, the field of economics has historically struggled to incorporate race as a variable in models of human economic behavior. So, notwithstanding being a black man, an idea like “racial capitalism” from political theorists literally does not compute for Loury; his field has not historically incorporated that idea into economic models. But his views are fascinating nonetheless, and his idea that structural racism is propaganda is food for thought (very humorous to me).

      As an aside, I find it fascinating that so many responses to this blog post have searched for academic explanations for their doubts/fears/insecurities/frustrations instead of simply sharing their thoughts from their own heart. To me, it is a deceptive way to avoid the uncomfortable truth of the matter. Put another way, instead of engaging in honest conversation about how personal life choices reflect some of the topics presented by the post, we hide behind abstract academic theories that give us a sense of security b/c it means we don’t have to be vulnerable and expose our feelings.

      I have always found this fascinating about conversations about race. But it also saddens me. I really want to know how people feel, not debate what some economist thinks.

      • JC
        JC says:

        Never let the facts get in the way of a good story as they say. Penelope and others can make up their own minds about whether they prefer the evidence based views of a distinguished Professor to Whitney’s self-described stream of consciousness.

        Kamala Harris will be, I hope, the next Vice President of the United States. But if these toxic identity-based attacks on “white” Americans and their so-called “privilege” continue then I fear we will end up with another four years of Trump.

  8. Terry
    Terry says:

    I’m confused. I thought this was supposed to be a black person’s perspective. It is a poor person’s perspective.

  9. Tamara
    Tamara says:

    Wow, this woman seems like a horrible person. Bitter, entitled, resentful, envious, annoying. She’s just clearly not a very good person at all.

    Sorry honey, your race doesn’t get you special rights to be a totally entitled, demeaning, condescending jerk.

    You just broke the white guilt button off of a whole bunch of people with this nonsense.

    • Etienne
      Etienne says:

      The “white guilt button” broke off? I don’t even know how to interpret this statement, but wow.

  10. Christopher Chantrill
    Christopher Chantrill says:

    A while back I realized that if you are a small minority in a larger culture you have to develop a Culture of Innocence. It is part of the cultural weaponry you need to stay alive in a cruel world. You have to know you are innocent in order to steel yourself for the rough, tough things you have to do to maintain your identity.

    Both Blacks and jews do this.

    Thus, it seems to me, Penelope and Whitney deserve each other.

  11. Janis Hudson
    Janis Hudson says:

    Wow. So glad I tuned in to learn from you that:

    1. Counting calories is a white supremacist thing
    2. Fitness is racist
    3. Getting home school tutors for your children during Covid is racist
    4. People who want their children to succeed are individualistic and racist
    5. Packing snacks for your kids’ soccer game requires acknowledgement of white privilege
    6. The board game Monopoly is racist
    7. Generally trying to be successful in life is racist, and you shouldn’t do it.

    Penelope, you’ve really raised the bar on content. In fact, you probably shouldn’t work as a career coach anymore, now than you’ve helped us all see that working hard to get ahead in life, wanting better for our kids, and chasing our dreams are all fundamentally racist things. In which, goodbye Ms. Career Coach. You’ve just cancelled yourself.

    And remember — next time you eat pizza– eat more than 1 slice. Because watching your waistline is racist.

  12. Stephanie
    Stephanie says:

    — But we should stop feeling like this because it’s white supremacist, misogynist bullshit. Our bodies are good no matter how they look. There’s no reason for us to fear eating pizza for dinner sometimes or to envy the metabolisms and bodies of teenagers as grown-ass women. Did you know that fatphobia is just a facet of white supremacy? — quoted

    Yes. Seriously. Misogyny and occupation of space. Suppressing voice. Quelling mental energy.

  13. Zellie
    Zellie says:

    Are you wanting Penelope not to hire a tutor for her son, not to be excited about it, not to share it with us, or is it all of these?

    I hear you are saying that brown-skinned Americans cannot take steps to do what might benefit their children- not because of lack of money but because they have a group consciousness rather than individual consciousness and cannot act for the benefit of their own families if it does not benefit the group.

    Some of us do not have a history of family wealth. Sometimes we have a family unit that has enough money to pay bills, eat and home school. And white families are not the only color who homeschool.

    It also seems you are expressing that you are unable to have feelings of joy or pleasure in circumstances of your own life because of your awareness of the suffering of others. That is a mindset not specific to race.

    As I read each of these stops in the text, to my ears it says to Penelope, “Stop thinking these things, or if you do think them, don’t say them on your blog.” Penelope’s blog is all about saying what she is thinking and feeling. I don’t know how she can stop being Herself.

  14. D
    D says:

    This article is beyond racist. You’re a fool Penelope. And a supreme conformist. The racist who commented endlessly with racist and jealous comments and by the way rich black people can afford to do what Penelope does. I’m sure some do. I should say affluent. Penelope pretends to be poor yet claims to have earned six figures over and over. That’s affluent. No one poor can afford many tutors no matter how thrifty. It’s not like you live at home with parents and don’t have all the essential bills. You aren’t privileged from being white. It’s from being affluent and poorly educated and having rotten morals and an even more corroded attitude. Subjecting yourself to someone else’s racism and jealousy (everyone thinks you’re out of touch Penelope. You’re masochistic or status seeking or both having this girl tell you you’re out of touch for not understanding how racist you are) btw I think you have many racist thoughts Penelope against white people too but we all have some racist thoughts. Have seen no evidence that you’re a racist in the way that used to matter. Now we’re all defined by a single moment. Anyway I’m done with you because you are boring me to tears. Ever since you became woke about your son about the protests 90% of your writing does zilch for me. You are humorless (your jokes are not funny) preachy and just dull. With very limited exception. I wish you well.

  15. Brillante
    Brillante says:

    Love love love. Thanks for posting this. I could never be this eloquent but you should let me know if you need a Latina to pick apart a post for you too.

  16. YMKAS
    YMKAS says:

    This was great!! I was laughing with (not at Penelope) you in your responses!

    I only wish you’d stop apologizing!! More writing from you please!

    Love your perspective and honesty.

    Thank you Penelope for being so open.

    Would appreciated any suggestions for books or articles on the Black Panthers movement of the 1960’s and the parallels of today’s BLM movement… I always appreciate learning and hearing from others more than reading from my personal research.

  17. Ausser
    Ausser says:

    Penelope, please don’t spend too much time buying into this person’s commentary.

    (1) She’s massively privileged, too. (2) She’s advocating for a collectivist project based on racialized grievance about privilege and power. Demographically, the white people with privilege and power can also be broken down by ethnicity. Point: this is thinly-veiled anti-semitism back again from the 20th century. Do not feel guilty about being who you are. If you want to advocate for others, fine, but that’s not the spirit in which these comments were delivered. (3) You brought your children into the world, it’s your moral responsibility to advocate for them and give them the best life possible. Never feel guilty for that. (4) The commenter is openly advocating for communism. I know communism is now fashionable, but it does not lead to good outcomes. And by that, I mean that both you and this commenter would likely be executed early on in any communist revolution process. (5) I’ve been reading your blog for many years and find you to be thoughtful. I never thought I’d see you hold up this kind of lazy grievance thinking as interesting. It’s not.

    From second-generation person of color that grew up (barely) in lower-middle class circumstances and grew up knowing, hearing, and being angry about the evils of communism and what it did to my family on account of their “privilege” on another continent… Privilege that came down to being educated and hard-working and generally able to eat, not to vast fortunes and glitter and jet-setting.

  18. Hawwa Williams
    Hawwa Williams says:

    I do not see the white privilege in this post. I’m an African American woman raised in a middle class family from NYC. Yes, I believe there is a such thing as white privilege, but the content in this post is not it. I can relate to almost everything in this post from Penelope. I made a way for myself in this world. I didn’t allow “white privilege” stop me. In fact, that wasn’t even a thought. I’m not out of a touch, I just learned to utilize my strengths not my weaknesses. I know you asked her to critique it, but don’t let this stop you from being who you are and writing about your life the way you want just because it offends others (I’m sure you won’t) This is your story, and those that can relate, will. If any thing people should aspire to your life and make it happen. Stop making excuses. White privilege is an excuse.

    • Hawwa
      Hawwa says:

      To be clear: things may not come as easy which is where white privilege may come in. But it doesn’t mean you cannot achieve those things.

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