If a white person takes what a person of colour says seriously, it does not imply that the white person does not question the claims of the person of colour. If a white person takes what a person of colour says seriously, it means that the white person does not dismiss the claims of the person of colour. “Dismissing” includes the white person considering what a person of colour has said and then rejecting it because he has never experienced it himself and has never heard of such a thing before, and then reconsidering it later only because enough people of colour started telling him the same thing.
That you have never experienced something yourself is not a valid reason to reject another person’s experience. If you are white and a person of colour mentions something that you have never experienced before, it does not mean that the person of colour must be lying or hallucinating. It could mean that you are not omniscient, and not more knowledgeable about everything than any person of colour. Given these two possibilities—either you are (i) not omniscient and not more knowledgeable about everything than any person of colour, or (ii) the person of colour must be lying or hallucinating—there is a higher probability that you are ignorant about something, and the person of colour is telling the truth and not suffering from hallucinations.
That you have never heard of a claim before is not a valid reason to reject the claim. The truth of a claim is independent of how many times you have encountered the claim, and whether or not you have encountered it previously. If you are white and a person of colour makes a claim that you have not heard from other people of colour, it does not mean that this person of colour is wrong. It could mean that you have a tendency to think of people of colour as monolith with a shared singular racial experience instead of as individuals with diverse experiences. It could also mean that you are not omniscient, and that there exist some true claims of which you are unaware. (It could also mean that you do not have as many friends of colour as you would like to believe.)
All claims should be examined and questioned using reason, but prejudiced dismissal or incredulity is not critical thinking. The common problem with white people is not that they analyze the claims of people of colour too much, but rather not at all.
- The cost of racism by resistance at Resist racism
- question non-white knowledge and authority by RVCBard at Stuff White People Do
- Stuff White People Say: “If more POC than just you complained, I would reconsider” by Restructure! at Stuff White People Say
- Stuff White People Say: “Does ‘listening’ to people of color mean letting them vent?” by Restructure! at Stuff White People Say
- Stuff White People Say: “Then how am I supposed to generalize the racial experiences of people of color?” by Restructure! at Stuff White People Say