Don’t You Know White Folks Don’t Care If You Die?


In what ways are we responsible to each other, and what happens when we don’t accept that responsibility? What happens when we do not recognize each other as being worthy?

This Gawker essay may be called “The Worst of White Folks,” but those are the questions it implicitly asks.

The worst of me, I understand, has less power than the worst of white folks, but morally is really no better… There is a price to pay for ducking responsibility, for clinging to the worst of us, for harboring a warped innocence. There is an even greater price to pay for ignoring, incarcerating, demeaning, and unfairly burdening those black and brown Americans who have disproportionately borne the weight of American irresponsibility for so long.

In his essay, Kiese Laymon delves deep into stories of his past and present, reflecting on individual and systematic responsibility.

Abigail Bereola is a writer and the Books Editor for The Rumpus. On Twitter, @sherarelytweets. More from this author →