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Bigger and Better Business
On doin community a lil' bigger
I’ve been pretty public about my desire to erect a boundary between me and White People Business™.
I heard from a friend recently that my comments on this particular topic felt dismissive. As though there was no room for white people in the spaces I aim to cultivate, or that white people were an afterthought.
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When I say that I try not to dive into White People Business™, that is not a rejection of white people. I draw a distinction between white people and White People Business™.
When I use the term White People Business™, I am referring to the institutions, organizations, communities, situations, and paradigms created entirely by white people for white people that Black people can comfortably live without. Things like Elvis, Friends (or, as I like to call it, “Living Single for white people”), Donald Trump’s social media network, riots after hockey games, and the Southern Baptist Convention. These are all things that Black people were around to witness coming to fruition, but not consulted when it came time to draft a gameplan. Black people were not invited to the table. Whether intentional or just due to an oversight of some sort, Black people ain’t have nothin’ to do with how these things took shape—and neither did anyone else who wasn’t white. That’s White People Business™.
I reserve the right to direct my time and energies to the wide world that exists outside of White People Business™. For every Elvis, there is at least one Little Richard. For every Friends there is… well… Living Single. Often, White People Business™ just copies stuff that wasn’t White People Business™ because some white people think whitening a thing will make it more appealing to white people. White People Business™ capitalizes on the assumption that many white people are uncomfortable with things that do not center them.
Devoting my attention elsewhere is how I keep my imagination free from the shackles of a system that views whiteness as the sun around which all things worthy revolve.
But that is not a dismissal nor condemnation of white people.
It is an invitation.
Beyond the world of White People Business™ exists a multitude of beauty. This is not to say that white people cannot recognize beauty. But White People Business™ has this way of convincing everyone wound up within it that beauty is the proprietary domain of white people.
White people are capable of traveling beyond the boarders of White People Business™ to experience the wholeness of a world that an Almighty God created and called good. A world that was described as good long before the concept of “white” or “black” (or any other sort) people came into our collective imagination.
I try to stay out of White People Business™ as a way of encouraging you to meet me out here in the wonderful world that exists beyond it.
It is not an invitation into Black People Business.
People do have a right to determine what discussions stay in-house, and what is reserved for the global community.
All healthy communities have boundaries.
Me refusing to call someone else’s spouse “babe” (or get into the intricacies of their marital ups and downs) is not me being dismissive of that spouse or couple. It is honoring a boundary, stewarding my attentions and devotions properly, and keeping the door open to healthy community.
And we cannot all find honor and dignity inside the boundaries of White People Business™.
The fullness of community exists beyond the bounds of White People Business™, and Black People Business™, and everyone else’s business.
I am not dismissing anyone. I am inviting everyone.
I am inviting everyone to reimagine community beyond the boundaries of the “businesses” we’ve inherited.
I am inviting everyone to live into what it means to honor the Divine Image in each person they are blessed enough to encounter.
I am inviting everyone to admire the ways that people of other cultures and faith expressions have embodied the freedom that we were created for.
I am inviting everyone to freedom.
I am inviting everyone to bigger & better business.