What is White Privalege and How Can We Balance The Scales? An Open Letter To The Tonight Show

In 20-year-old Rae’s appearance Friday on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” she performed eight popular dance trends from the social video app TikTok, many of which were originally choreographed by BIPOC. – Original Article, by Hannah Yasharoff

The problem with white privalege, is entirely wrapped around the fact that it elevates the voices of white people, while simultaniously ignoring, or outright stomping, on the voices of Black or BIPOC or marginalized voices, and yes, it absolutely needs to stop.

On the surface, the fact that a white dancer was invited onto the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon isn’t a big deal. The problem is that this white dancer in particular is doing dances she didn’t invent, and she’s not even doing them very well.

The Black dancers who created these dances are doing them expertly, and Jimmy Fallon and his entire team ignored them, simply because Addison Rae has more followers, she only has more followers, because she copied what Black people did first.

Inherently, she’s not even the problem, the problem is that she’s taking credit for something she didn’t create, and she’s not even doing a good job of translating the dances in question to the audience, but let’s not talk about that, because she’s just a Tik Tok dancer, right?

Here’s the thing. She’s been on tv with Jimmy Fallon, and that makes her famous, and because she’s now famous she’s going to have more Tik Tok followers, and those numbers are going to translate to more opportunities that the Black creators of these dances are not going to have access to, do you get it yet?

This has been a constant theme throughout history.

King Tim III (Personality Jock) This is widely considered to be the first ever “rap” song. If you’d like to know more read this article by Michael Futch

Rap and Hip Hop were created by Black artists, but some of the most famous rappers in the world are white guys. They took something created by Black artists, molded it to fit their needs, and made a ton of money while doing it, while other Black artists, were ignored by the same industry. Do you get it yet?

It’s literally like taking food from a Black person, who is starving, and giving it to a white person, who is not starving, because you want to lift up the white person, and make the Black person feel small and little.

“But who would do that? Who would take food from one person who is hungry and give it to someone who is not?”

WHITE PEOPLE.

It happens all the fucking time, and it needs to stop, ignoring the fact that it happens, doesn’t change the fact that it happens.

White privalege affects everything about the lives of people of color, and it happens so effortlessly that most people don’t think about it.

White people don’t have to worry that when they walk into a store they are going to be followed “just in case”, they decide to steal something.

When they walk into a bank, they don’t have to worry that a security guard is going to look at them three to five times more than he or she or they look at the white people in the bank.

White people don’t have to worry about being kidnapped, molested, raped, sexually abused, and tortured, literally, by other white people. That’s a thing that Black and BIPOC people understand deeply. We get to our twenties, if we’re lucky, and we look back at our lives and we begin to realize that there is nothing on this planet that won’t try to kill us.

We suffer from diseases that white people don’t have to worry about, this article discusses seven of them, that most white people don’t have to worry about.

Look, the truth of it is that people who are colored have harder, shorter lives than our white counterparts. We’re not asking for extra special treatment, we’re asking for fair treatment. We’re asking that you credit us for our work, is that so hard? If a Black girl does something, what is the harm in telling her that she did a good job, and letting her have access to the opportunities that come with success, that her white counterparts receive so effortlessly?

I’ll tell you what the harm is. When you elevate the voices of Black or BIPOC folks, you empower them, and if they feel empowered, they might change the status quo. They might believe that they deserve to be here, they might decide that they want more success, that they want more credit, they might decide to send their children to college and university. They might actually do something with their lives, and then you might lose out on the opportunities that you have access to simply because your skin is white, and then OH MY GOD WHERE WOULD BE THEN?!

You in particular, as a white person might not be going down that spiral, but there are a lot of white people who do go down that spiral every time they come across someone who is different then them.

I as a Black girl, was treated terribly by this world, and yet my “strength” is celebrated because no matter what the world threw at me, I survived, as if that’s some kind of achievement. Surviving rape isn’t something that I should have ever had to do as a child. I did it because I didn’t want to die. That’s not much of an option as far as I am concerned, and I want my daughters to grow up in a world where they don’t have to choose between surviving rape, or committing suicide.

I want my girls to grow up knowing that they can invent something, and be credited for it, without the entire world throwing a collective temper tantrum to make sure that they get the credit they deserve. But unfortunately that’s not the world that we live in.

We live in a world that elevates white voices, because it’s easier, it’s more comfortable, it’s more sustainable than elevating the voices of their BIPOC counterparts.

What Jimmy Fallon did by inviting Addison Rae was not inherently racist, HOWEVER, a choice was deliberately made, to celebrate the white person, and ignore the Black persons who invented the dances, and I will say for the rest of my entire life, that this is not okay.

When white people tell us that calling out your privalege is racist in of itself, what you’re really saying is “I don’t want to deal with this, so I am going to gaslight you into thinking you’re really a racist, so I don’t have to deal with the fact that what I did hurt people who are Black or BIPOC.” We see what you’re doing, we’re not stupid.

We are not stupid.

That bears repeating, because frankly you seem to forget that we can read, write, sing, dance, and call out your shit, often all at the same time, without breaking a sweat. We are quite talented as a people, and we’re going to continue to call out the discrepancies between us because we want the lives of our children to be better.

We want to breath, we want to dance, we want to sing, we want to do math. Did you know that Black women are the reason that NASA can send men and women into space, AND bring them home safely? I bet you didn’t know that until Hidden Figures came out, and do you know why? Because in school we don’t learn about Black NASA Scientists.

We don’t learn about the achievements of Black and BIPOC people, and that’s deliberate. The American, and even the Canadian curriculum is deliberately skewed to lift up the voices of white people, so that Black and BIPOC kids don’t know that they can be anything they want, because if they don’t know they won’t try.

Well, thanks to the internet, kids are learning at an alarming rate, that they can do anything they want. Jimmy Fallon might want to continue the age old practice of lifting up white people, while ignoring the Black inventers, but the internet remembers everything, and thanks for that because now we know who really created and designed these dances, and we can celebrate them too.

Thanks to Hanna Yasharoff we know the creators, they are:

“Stranger Things” star Noah Schnapp (“Do It Again”), @jazlynebabee (“Savage Love”), @yvnggprince (“Corvette Corvette”), @flyboyfu (“Laffy Taffy”), @keke.janjah (“Savage”), @macdadddyz (“Blinding Lights”), @theemyanicole (“Up”), and @thegilberttwins (“Fergalicious”). 

I write a lot about mental health, trauma, and sexual abuse on this blog, and no matter how hard I try, or how much I promote this blog, my white counterparts will always make more money than me, and have more opportunities than me, because they are white.

Society always defers to the white woman, the white man, before they defer to the BIPOC or Black or Mixed-Race person, and you can’t deny that. Well you could, but you’d be lying to yourself, and to us.

So get over yourself, and get comfortable with being uncomfortable, while we keep talking about it, because it’s important for you to understand that we were born to this planet specifically to make you uncomfortable. And we’re not going to stop just because you deny our right to exist.

Sending all my love to the amazing creators listed above,

Devon J Hall

Author: Devon J Hall

Devon J Hall is a thirty-eight-year-old Writer and Author from Surrey, British Columbia by way of Calgary Alberta. She lives with three cats, one mother, and is addicted to coffee, cigarettes, and weed, not necessarily in that order.

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