An item that ran last week in LEO Weekly, a publication that bills itself as Lousville’s “alt-weekly,” is getting some attention in the media. It is a list of ten teensy requests that Chanelle Helm, a Black Lives Matter Louisville organizer, would like to make of white people.
You can tell the piece is intended as high comedy by the inclusion at the outset of a stage direction: “in that Southern, black grandmama voice.”
Here’s request number one:
White people, if you don’t have any descendants, will your property to a black or brown family. Preferably one that lives in generational poverty.
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Hmm, seems reasonable enough. The use of the word descendants is a trifle curious in this context, but the overall recommendation is not beyond the pale. It’s also not terribly logical to suggest that a childless couple sign over the contents of their estate to a total stranger based on his skin color. A better solution might be to bequeath your worldly possessions to a worthy and reputable charity, which can make far better use of property or proceeds from its sale.
Request number 2 is along the same lines:
White people, if you’re inheriting property you intend to sell upon acceptance, give it to a black or brown family. You’re bound to make that money in some other white privileged way.
Notice, however, that this recommendation ends with a gratuitous insult arising out of the myth of white privilege. We seem to be moving in the direction of social justice here, but let’s try to remember: This is all in good fun.
The good times continue. Here’s number 6:
White people, re-budget your monthly [sic] so you can donate to black funds for land purchasing.
This one’s a little confusing. By funds, does the author mean mutual funds, a foundation, or something else? And why for land repurchase? Is she envisioning an all-black reservation — something along the lines of so-called “affinity housing”?
By number 7, the author lapses into “street dialect,” presumably to enrich the comedic experience:
White people, especially white women (because this is yaw specialty — Nosey Jenny and Meddling Kathy), get a racist fired. Yaw know what the f*ck they be saying. You are complicit when you ignore them. Get your boss fired cause they racist too.
She also resorts to profanity, but maybe that’s because the f-bomb is so popular in contemporary black culture (think hip-hop), but I digress.
The piece ends with several options for making donations to Black Lives Matter Louisville and/or, for some reason, to Chanelle Helm herself. (She didn’t mention a cover charge at the beginning.)
All in all, this is one great, highly instructive read. When you have finished reading all ten requests, you’ll probably think of a few you’d like to make yourself.