Let’s talk about some words that trigger white people



“Moist” is a polarizing word out here in these streets. There are so many people I know who hate the word “moist,” and I don’t know why.

Is it because it sounds wet when people say it? Is it the weird combination of letters used to spell it? Why do people hate the word “moist” so much? 

There have been many articles written over the years that have tried to explain why people have such a bad reaction to that word.

My editor, Genetta Adams, is one of those people who doesn’t like the word moist. When I asked her why, she said, “It’s stupid for me not to like it, and I know it’s stupid, but the way you say the word ‘moist’ just sounds nasty.

“Only weird and gross things are described as moist,” she continued. “That’s basically it. It just sounds wrong. It just sounds icky.”

“Cake is the only good thing that is described as moist,” she added. “Otherwise, it just feels like you are describing something dark and dirty.”

Most people recognize that their aversion to the word “moist” is irrational, and their reactions to hearing it usually never extend beyond cringing, shaking their head or asking the person to stop saying it. 

I’m sure they recognize the word is not actively harming them, so they don’t have to treat it like a grenade. 

I wish the same could be said about (some) white people and certain words that seem to trigger (some of) them whenever they hear them or see them in print. 

The words that seem to feel like hot grits on the delicate and fragile skin of (some) white people are “white,” “race,” “racism,” and “racist.”

Let’s talk about some words that trigger white people

Y’all started it


Before I get started, let me be clear about one thing: All white people have white privilege. 

Whenever white privilege comes up as a topic, there are always white people who want to claim they don’t have it because they are poor or uneducated or whatever excuse they come up with to try and distance themselves from the very thing that gives them a leg up no matter their class or circumstance. 

White privilege is an inherent gift that all white people benefit from just by virtue of being white. You can put a poor white person in the same space as a poor Black person, and the white person is going to be viewed as somehow better no matter their station. 

White privilege is about opportunity

Being the smartest, most educated and experienced person applying doesn’t guarantee a Black person will get a job, but a mediocre white person can get a job over them because of white privilege. 

White people made everything about race

My latest for theGrio discusses the social construct of race, whiteness, white privilege and white supremacy.

White fragility *is* white violence


“I consider my writing to be a form of activism. It is my way of using my voice, my natural writing ability, and my words to speak up for myself and other Black people. 

It is a form of protest, in my opinion, and baby, protest is not supposed to make you feel comfortable. 

If you, as a white person, feel personally attacked by the things I say and write, that requires a level of self analysis that I can’t help you with. It’s not up to me to smooth it over for you and make it easier for you to digest.”

The frustrations of a Black woman who writes about race