Mike Wise is a white guy. Like most white guys, he is of the opinion that his opinion on everything matters all the time. Unlike most white guys, he is followed by 22,000 people on Twitter and is paid to write about sports for a living (OK, so that's not that uncommon).
Deadspin has covered Wise's steaming hot takes on the N-word before, multiple times (because if there's anything middle-aged white journalists love to get het up about, it's Black people doing things that they don't approve of). He's also known for being suspended by WaPo for a month for fake breaking news tweets, so he's got a track record of being an insufferable shit on Twitter.
Today, Mike Wise apparently had some free time on his hands and decided to make his opinion once again known about Black people's use of the N-word:
The problem with this, of course, is that a whole lot of Black people really don't give a shit about some milquetoast white guy's feelings about a word created by white people to augment their oppression and violence against Black people. Many Black people told Mike Wise this (also I yelled at him a lot), and Mike Wise decided that his best course of action was to keep repeating that he knows what's best for Black people:
Really, the whole conversation is worth a read (it's one hell of a white boy tantrum). Lots of amazing people absolutely laying it down on this smug little twerp (and also I'm there yelling). He's been on a blocking spree, which is never surprising - the kitchen of actual conversations about race is almost always too hot for white people.
Mike Wise isn't just some nobody. He's been employed by the Washington Post and ESPN. And while Mike Wise is probably no worse than most clueless white people, that's kind of the point, isn't it? Mike Wise's paternalistic tripe may be outrageous, but it's completely unextraordinary. The arrogance of any white person insisting that a Black person stop using the n-word because it makes the white person uncomfortable is astounding, but commonplace.
Mike Wises of the world: there's no defense for this kind of white savior-ism. No amount of good deeds absolves you of responsibility for your words. One of the small prices that we pay for hundreds of years of oppressing Black people, to this day and likely far beyond, is that we're not entitled to have our views considered on this shit. I know that we as white people are not used to having our valuable opinion dismissed out of hand. But maybe after nearly four hundred years of doing everything in our power to destroy everyone that doesn't look like us, it might just be our turn to listen.
Here's the thing about allyship: it's not our decision if we're allies with a marginalized group. We don't get to tell people that we are their ally. And even so, being an ally is all well and good, but it rightly doesn't guarantee us a seat at the table. There are so many ways that "our people" are still oppressing; let's work on that before we start telling Black people how to use words we created for oppression.
In the midst of Mike Wise's very much earned verbal flogging, he fired off this tweet, complaining about the way his feelings were hurt by Black people's anger (white people sure do love to classify Black people as angry). Two notes about this tweet:
1. Mike Wise is a man who endlessly claims his own anti-racist bona fides.
2. Prior to this tweet, not a single person had called Mike Wise "son".
Go fuck yourself, Mike Wise.
Tweets printed with permission of @thetrudz, @polotek, @Crommunist, @stilettowolf, @Beymonce, @Karnythia, @GangsterOfLove_ and @ank_wobl. Thank you to all of them. Joshua David can be found on Twitter at @joshuaadavidd.
Image via Washington Post.