A reader of swpd said it's okay to post his email message about another thing that white people do, and to open his questions about it to other readers:
A friend told me about your blog, and I like it! but I thought I would write because I don't think you've pointed this out before?
I continue to notice something that white people do which annoys the hell out of me (and worse). I'm a black student (junior, male) at a medium size university, and I see something from the professors that I hoped I wasn't going to see here. When I go to visit them in their offices and even when they interact with me in class sometimes, a lot of them explain things to me like I'm a child. And from what I see, they almost never do that to white students.
Now, I'm not imagining this difference. For one thing, I once was a child, I remember how teachers explain things to children. It's condescending, and it usually includes a lot of careful explaining just to make sure that the child gets it right. Then, I went to a high school that was racially mixed. I saw the white teachers continue to do that with the black students, explaining things for longer and in more detail than they did with the white and Asian students. They talked to me and other black students more like we were still children and to the white students, more like they were adults.
So like I said, I still see that now. I just saw my English teacher today in her office, about my essay. It was a scheduled conference (I wouldn't have gone otherwise, because I'm already a good writer who doesn't need extra help). I swear, the simple things she decided to explain to me, about mistakes like typos that I was going to clean up anyway! I already know most of the other things she was telling me, but she thought she had to tell me anyway, and oh. so. carefully. too. And then some of it she would tell me again, just to make sure I got it (I did get it, thank you). I don't think she does that to white students in her office, because I see her explain things differently with individual white students and black students during class. Two other black students are in this particular class. We don't really know each other so we don't talk about this, but we probably wouldn't anyway. I think we've all seen it before, so many times from white teachers.
I've had some white teachers of course who don't do this, but a lot of them do. I'm writing to ask, why do white people do this? (And also, please don't tell me that I'm going to keep encountering this attitude when I graduate and work with white people.)
I think white people treat black students this way because they think (in a subconscious way. maybe.) that black people are stupid. And I wonder if they even know that they give us the impression that that's what they're thinking about us, or feeling. I also think you should tell your white readers about this white behavior, and ask those who do it to stop. Just because I'm black doesn't mean I'm stupid. I might be a lot smarter than you.