Open Thread: Why Are We Here?

by Latoya Peterson

I am always amused by the comments racists leave on this site. Rarely do I receive some hate filled missive full of slurs and profanity. I can’t even think to the last time that has happened.

What I do receive are lots and lots of justification for why people really should be racist. Long posts linking supremacist sites and crime statistics that prove blacks really do commit more crimes and so whites should be afraid; men meticulously describing all the differences in the quality of vagina by race and using that to explain interracial dating; people justifying their sexual fantasies by holding up sexual stereotypes as the gospel truth; and people who I am sure mean us no malice at all, who just believe that whites, as a group, are persecuted and need protection and that it is unfair that we don’t discuss more white issues on this site.

I deleted a comment this morning, from the Diversity Inc thread, in which a racist basically showed their support for the woman’s original letter.

Which is fine with me, I just deleted the comment. If you don’t have basic reading comprehension skills and you can’t follow outgoing links, this is not the blog for you anyway.

But there was a throw away line at the end that kills me. It was something along the lines of “If you call yourselves anti-racist activists, shouldn’t you be working toward equality for all races, which means stopping unfair advantages for people of color?”

What amuses me so is how often people outside a movement will try to set a movement’s agenda. If I had a dollar for every time someone told me “what black women need to do is…” or “what feminists need to do is…” or “what blacks need to do is…” or “If you want your little blog to be taken seriously, you need to…”

I’m fine, thanks. Please move along to someone who gives a fuck about your unsolicited opinion.

But, dear readers, I do care about your opinions. And I’ve been wondering this myself lately – why do people come to Racialicious?

Is it because you identify as an anti-racist activist? Are you curious about issues of race? What are you hoping to get (or do you get) from this site?

Personally, I came to Racialicious (then Mixed Media Watch) through Addicted to Race because I was feeling really alienated in a majority white environment and needed a PoC space. I stayed because I enjoyed getting an intelligent take on pop culture. I had read The Matrix and Philosophy and had enjoyed the welding of pop culture and major ideas found in religion and science. Racialicious seemed like an extension of that idea.

I also liked that this was one of the few spaces I could share with ALL of my friends, even those who weren’t necessarily interested in social justice issues. The background of my friends is fairly diverse, and it was refreshing to find a site that focused on more than one group.

Since I’ve been on this site – and in the blogosphere, at large – I’ve learned a ton more than I could have ever imagined I could learn, became better versed in some subjects and learned more about others, and found a community and a network of whip-smart, intelligent and witty people who want to discuss these issues and so much more.

I’ve even had to challenge myself on long standing prejudices. And even though I am delivered a reason daily to hold on to that prejudice, I am also delivered three other reasons why I shouldn’t. So there’s that.

Ages and ages ago, Liam McGrath asked why are we here? And I’ve never forgotten his contribution (though I don’t see his screenname here too often anymore) because it is so important. Asking that question is a needed check.

Why are we here? What do we get here? What do we want to accomplish?

And with that, readers, I open the floor to you.