“Get over it” is something White Americans say when black people point out a case of white racism that is hard to deny, like that picture of watermelons growing in front of the White House. The phrase means that blacks should not get too hung up on racism, that thinking about it too much will only make things worse. It also means this: shut up and stop being such a crybaby.
One commenter advised me:
Get over it abagond, stop whining about racism and move to Africa, yep, make a contribution to the motherland.
When whites complain about reverse racism or affirmative action, I do not notice anyone telling them to “Get over it”. Instead their complaints are taken seriously. You know, like they truly matter.
“Get over it” assumes that racism is pretty much over, that it is either dead and gone, ancient history, or at least no longer a big deal. “Get over it!” Blacks are either stuck in the past or making something out of nothing.
“Get over it” assumes that whites are better judges of racism against blacks than blacks themselves! Because blacks are oversensitive, because they are like children who have it too easy and complain about every little thing. And, like children, blacks do not know what is in their own best interest – but white people do, despite their terrible record on that one.
Unlike most racist arguments, this one admits that the case of racism in question is true – otherwise there would be nothing to get over.
That is why it comes up so much in arguments about the White American practice of keeping black slaves: it is one of the few cases of racism that whites cannot deny. They know it was true and know that it was terrible. But they do not see – or want to see – that a society that could allow that to be done to people because of the colour of their skin could allow other bad things to be done to them – even now.
Slave days, Jim Crow and all the rest are ancient history for whites because it does not seem to affect their present. But not for blacks – not because they are unreasonable children who do not know when to let go of the past, but because racism still affects their lives.
Racism did not die on the day they freed the slaves. Racism did not die on the day they outlawed hanging a black man from a tree. Racism did not even die on the day a black man put his hand on the Bible and became president – in fact, it seems to have only made it worse since it was against the wishes of most white voters. Racism is dying, yes, but it still very much alive.
When will blacks “get over it” and “move on”? When whites get over their racism and move on. They created it to excuse their crimes; they can also destroy it.
Thanks to commenter and fellow blogger Aiyo of BBG: Black British Girl for suggesting this post.