Thank you, Jan Wilberg, for thinking great thoughts and putting them into words. Read more at redswrap.wordpress.com.
It was one of the first things I learned as a grown-up person in a multi-cultural world. The term “you people” was bad as in “You people always think everything bad that happens is because of racism.”
After the initial looks of intense scorn from black colleagues, I wondered to myself: what’s so wrong about saying “you people?” I had to piece it together over the next several years. Yes, that’s how long it took.
“You people” is, by its tone, accusatory. “You people” generalizes, assumes that everyone in the “people” group thinks and acts alike. “You people” is derogatory and marginalizing. “You people” is a separating device. There is “us” and then there is “you people.”
I don’t ever say “you people” anymore. And though it took a very long time, longer than I’d like to admit, I don’t even think “you people” anymore.
So it stings…
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