Typically, I write about the interpersonal relationships between people of different ethnicities, how love–practiced according to Christ’s definition–can solve the world’s problems, and sometimes I write about my observations about current event. But this post is different; it is an open letter to a respondent to my “SCOTUS Gone Amok” article.

I sat down with my thoughts after I read the reply and jotted down my thoughts. When I finished, I realized my response was much too long to post in three, four, or five comment boxes.

But I suspect the respondent's points might be widely held and thus warrant addressing publicly. Some of you may be put-off by the title. I’m fine with that. You are more than welcome to sit this one out.

For those willing to read on, simply eat the fish and spit out the bones. But don’t come at me with, “ . . . not all white people.” If you do, I will find you and douce you with a venti Mocha Frappuccino.

Of course, you know I’m kidding. I’d never waste a Mocha Frappuccino. A pie pan full of whipped cream? Yes. A perfectly good Mocha Frappuccino? Never.


Dear [Name Redacted],

I don’t think you’re even partially aware of how you sound at this moment. Truly, I don’t. There’s no way on Earth you could.

Please, don’t refer to us “blacks.” Doing so objectifies people of the African diaspora, and makes you look uninformed. And while I’m sure that was not your intent, the negative impact remains. Personally, I prefer to use “Black” as an adjective or descriptor in conjunction with nouns like “people,” “folks,” “community,” “peeps,”—anything affirming that recognizes the inherent humanity of a group of people. Never as a noun.

We, Black people (remember, not “blacks” and definitely not “the blacks”), as a whole, do not throw up our hands and accept defeat. We do not accept defeat regardless of the placement of our hands. We never have. And we never will. Exhibit A: Black folks are still and will always be a vital, vibrant, and impactful presence in this land that does not love us as much as we love it.

If you’re going to quote me, please, quote me in context. My original sentences follow. Note I’ve also added bracketed text for the contextual parts that are for the most part common knowledge, which unfortunately you seemed to have missed:

“What it [Affirmative Action] did was lessen the impact of prejudice and implicit bias [specifically, the rejection of Black, Indigenous, and applicants of Color due to overt and subconscious implicit bias held/practiced by institutions and individual decision-makers involved] in the college admission process that Black, Indigenous, and People of Color [uniquely] experience by making room for qualified applicants [the same aforementioned Black, Indigenous, and Applicants of Color] who otherwise would be turned away because of the color of their skin.

The bracketed text should be evident to just about anyone who isn’t a cross-burning racist, and a few who do burn crosses. I hope it helps provide context for the excerpt you cited.

Now if I might return the favor and quote you. You wrote, “Using the back door despite not using the front door can still yield equality, just in a less obvious way.”

I invite you to sit with that sentence for a moment and ponder just how truly racist that is.

So let me get this straight. You are implying that you find it acceptable for society to relegate Black folks to use the back door to enter a place of business or a doctor to have one waiting room for white patients and a separate one for Black patients because . . . eventually, it’s all going to lead to equality anyway.


By that logic, the same applies to college admissions, right? Because the mention of the back door was an analogy—except that for many years, Black people could only use servants’ entrances, back doors, and the like. Remember? Of course, you do. You grew up in the South. It didn’t dawn on me the real reason my pediatrician had two waiting rooms until a few years ago.

With your preceding quote, you have demonstrated—quite remarkably—that you have no clue what “equality” means. But that’s okay because I’m going to help you out here and do this little bit of homework for you because I like you, and because I don’t think you’ll look it up on your own:

e • qual • i • ty — noun; the state of being equal, especially in status, rights, and opportunities.

And here’s another freebie:

e • qual – or the same measure, quantity, amount, or number as another.

In essence, the need for a back door or any device, accommodation, or legislation to bring about rights and access that are readily available for white folks creates a situation of inequality.

in • e • qual • i • ty — noun; a state or condition in which different things do not occur in equal amounts.

(As I type this, I am actually shaking my head in embarrassment for you.)

Then you followed all of that up with, and I quote, “Clay, you gotta play with the hand dealt you.”

Question: Who’s the dealer? Who is the dealer in this scenario, [name redacted]?

Answer: White America. White America has dealt winning hands to its own almost exclusively (see Fieldnotes on Allyship: Achieving Equality Together, Chapter 2, “Systemic Racism” by Lecia Michelle) and the less than fortuitous cards to Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.

That’s what the first enslaved Africans were told when brought here in 1619. “ . . . Yeah, you people are inherently inferior, so we had to bring you here in hackles. No freedom for you. You gotta play with the hand (we) dealt you.”

In 1719, Africans were captured and brought to Louisiana because of their expertise in growing rice. “ . . . show how to do that thing you do with rice so we can make unspeakable amounts of money. Pay? Freedom? Sorry, pal . . . you gotta play with the hand [we] dealt you.”

In 1819, the University of Virginia is established, but no Black people were allowed to attend. “Sorry, darkies. No education for you. You didn’t think we were going to allow you to learn? Fat chance. Read through this abbreviated Slave Bible, lots of consolation in them pages . . . you gotta play with the hand [we] dealt you.”

In 1920, in Ocoee, Florida, white folks razed the homes, businesses, and farmlands of Black residents because they dared try to exercise the right to vote. “We don’t care ’bout your vote, lives, or livelihood. Y’all, get on way from here. Guess you gotta play with hand [we] dealt you.”

And now, you, a man raised originally in the South, would dare write those words to me? The type of thinking you’re exhibiting is exactly why we needed Affirmative Action in the first place. And still do.

My friend, your racism is on full display and it’s not becoming in the least.

You say that Black people saying “No,” to the back door is to cut off our noses to spite our faces. [withering side-eye] Saying “No,” does not mean that we will be ignore that option; it will serve our purpose as long as we deem necessary. But understand that back door compromises are never the solution. And especially not in cases involving racial inequity.

Let me be clear here. When Black folks say “No” to back door substitutes, double-dealings, and anything less than parity, we are saying squarely in the face of white supremacy that, “This ‘remedy,’ this ‘stop-gap measure,’ is not equality; it is unacceptable, and nothing less will do.”

You write that ” . . . white people need to redouble their efforts.” Mm, not quite. America has mastered oppressing Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. It has been successful at it for all of this country’s history and has been a model for regimes the world over. White folks, in general, need a new strategy, a new system, one that upholds racial equity and inclusion at its core, not white supremacy.

Black people have been telling you guys the truth about what has been happening on these shores for over 400 years. And still, a large portion of you simply do not want to acknowledge how lives have been and continue to be ruined due to a dysfunctional self-love and a rapacious appetite of Biblical proportions for more.

Some of you need to have an honest talk amongst yourselves. Those who know need to teach, and those who are unaware need to listen. I only hope this eventual catalyst will not be presented with a “Here’s how it benefits you, too” sales pitch. White folks are at the top of America’s food chain and social caste. Isn’t it enough to possess and exercise every imaginable inalienable right because of the color of your skin? We just want to stop imagining about a life with those rights and live freely with them for ourselves.

Circling back to your previous analogy of Black folks playing the hand we’re dealt. We have fought to get a seat at the table. Now that we’re here, the folks in power need to stop dealing from the bottom of the deck and play fair.

Love one another.

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