The Panda in the Room By Fallen Matthews

I think that people are so desperate for heroes that they make the actual good guys villains. I also think that people are so eager for representation and validation, they don’t realize some of that may involve assimilation. Just as capital or privilege aren’t prizes for your efforts, consciousness isn’t a penalty or a fault. The contrast between my skepticism of white supremacy and eurocentric status quos encounters both internalized white supremacy in kinfolk and anticipates conflict.

This is a true story about someone I actually know. Let’s just call her Mia. For context, Mia is a queer woman.

When I met Mia, I was fascinated by her lack of awareness perceived as impartiality or optimism. We met through mutual classes and eventually became Facebook friends. She was seemingly reflective and found my posts that critically considered eurocentrism, antiblackness, etc. interesting. The thing that struck me about her feedback was that she found my posts inexplicably resonant. Given the subject matter and her mystification, I wondered why there was any question as to why she could relate to them given her very own Blackness. These weren’t academic or particularly profound articles as much as just politicized posts and musings upon miscellaneous mayo mediocrities, yet they inclined her to identify with them somehow some way. The more we spoke, the more she speculated into these newly discovered feelings and disclosed how they paralleled her misgivings about her white partner’s imperceptible, indulgent attitudes. She confided that this partner was either infuriatingly oblivious or divorced from the reality of racialization, ranting about how affirmative action prevented her ilk from employment and parlaying about how ‘privilege’ would only divide the species.

And, she claimed to be aware of how wrong that was.

I couldn’t offer any advice. Or rather, I couldn’t offer any advice she’d want to hear. I’m not too keen on relationships; but when it comes to feedback, unsolicited or by request, I’ve gathered people aren’t exactly amenable to reason from what I’ve seen. I can understand that because, hey—nobody likes rain on their parade, even if they’re packing an umbrella.

In that sense, it’s an odd spectacle to bear witness to white supremacy as well as appeasement; especially, coming from someone Black that is professedly intelligent and aware of their positionality as well as the bane of whiteness. Mia likened her partner not only romantically, but associated her with validation and affection. Their relationship allowed her to claim her identity interpersonally instead of as an afterthought occupying the margins.

To even engage in discussions about the politics put forth in my posts, Mia needs to imagine herself as white; partly because she’s biracial, and partly because it authenticates her affections and affinity for the utter whiteness manifest in her partner that she obliges. Her carefree quips about my supposedly distrusting or mocking “half” of her make my skin crawl. It insults my perception as a Black woman whose own multiracial identity has never drawn me to dissociate from Blackness. All whilst identifying with my posts, Mia reproaches Afrocentrism, unapologetic Blackness, and duly dragged beckies and chads as “anti-white,” making me all the more aware of how much antiblackness people like her and her partner provoke.

As Mia’s feelings of uncertainty surrounding her and her partner’s present, separate forays into grad school evolve, she never grasps the gravity of how far she is from this white woman. Her partner is paltry, privileged, and prejudiced: void of any discernable capacity to understand umbrage or the concept of hierarchy. Like Mia’s many other white friends, her partner culturally appropriates and tokenizes peoples and Mia alike, imaging she is an individualist when she is truly an idealist who is more craven than colorblind. Mia admits she’s at a loss with her when it comes to talks of the future. Her dissent is met with disengagement, with her partner accusing her of talking down to her even under the gentlest conditions. Her partner’s absence of critical thinking and deductive skills reflect the absence of reasoning and ignorance afforded to whites in this society.

Mia abiding her Mistress doesn’t shock me as much as her sense of entitlement. Aside from grilling others for guidance she will neither process or heed, she prods me about politics. She dehumanizes me as well as her own kinfolk, devaluing our labour and insight only to parrot political platitudes out of context. Her understanding of a relationship with her partner is skewered at best, and docile at worst. Not even the numerous racist outbursts she’s been subjected to by her partner’s family and friends has given her pause to ponder her part in this, or her own Blackness.

I could honestly say I’d likely be somewhat sympathetic if Mia was instinctual as well as unaware; but her reverence for whiteness isn’t reactionary, only uncritical and relatively unapologetic. She admonishes her partner’s racism and rancor, whilst admiring her courage to ‘take risks.’ And, Mia doesn’t understand that that is the literal embodiment of whiteness: impulsivity and indulgence that know no fear or moral spectrum. Her partner doesn’t think twice to speak or explore, which is why her ridiculous rationale of reverse racism is likely to embarrass Mia.

And, I’m honestly here for that. I’m sure I’d glean immense satisfaction seeing this white woman’s edges snatched in the wake of her absurd audacity. Given how Mia flushes with foresight at the prospect of her beloved becky accompanying her to conferences and the like, it’s likely a reality that will soon come to pass.

And, Mia will hold her hand regardless.

Because, I can guess how Mia feels. The resonance she expresses reflect that unlike her partner, she is unable to live according to a temporary state of mind or whim. She consciously attempts to extricate her Blackness because she has subconsciously internalized the existence of eurocentrism. Her lack of knowledge and loathsome laughter concerning her Blackness and the structures that encroach upon it present her as a deeply deluded albeit devoted panda.

Fallen Kittie is a freelance writer and sociologist currently studying existentialism and supernatural folklore. She explores intersectional feminism, masculinity, male masochism, religiosity, and reality versus rationality. When she isn’t writing or ravingMore


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