There’s a cure for that, though.
So people please stop freaking out over being called a racist, or called out on racist behaviors etc. and so forth.
Being called a racist is absolutely nothing compared to racism itself, and to live within a racist society as a Person Of Color.
If I was white and someone called me a racist, I’d stop and try to figure out why that happened. What did I say or do that prompted that response? I would self-examine. I would listen. I would start learning.
What are some simple things you can do to begin your cure? Here’s one:
Recognizing your white privilege goes a long way towards being a part of the solution, and not part of the problem. White privilege stems from the system of racism that is part and parcel of American society, and the United States of America in a historical context, and in the present day profile of our nation.
Perhaps that nice bubbly check out girl didn’t even consciously know what she was doing. What’s worse? Meting out harm, shame, embarrassment and oppression unconsciously or on purpose? Neither. Both are horrific. The focus should be on the roots of the racist behavior that makes “store policy” the automatic distrust and criminalization of one person and not the other.
I used to have a whole lot more hope that our country would come to terms with its past, reconcile and begin to fix it’s present, and be thus able to look towards a future and begin to embody the ideals of founders. Ideals based on reality, not on some mythic notion that looks good on paper. Because right now all that Shining Beacon Of America and Liberty and Justice etc. is one great big lie.
An example of why I tend not to have as much hope as I used to. There is an incredible woman named Jane Elliot. For as long as I have been alive, that is just about 45 years, this woman has been doing racism workshops, and racism experiments all over the country. In schools, colleges and universities, at places of employment, on television with Oprah, in other countries – you name it, she’s done it and been there.
FORTY-FIVE YEARS. She did her first racism experiment in 1968 in response to the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.. FORTY-FIVE YEARS this woman has been trying to get the ball rolling on white people recognizing their privilege. Trying to get white people to understand what it is like for People Of Color in this country. Pushing back against racism. Trying to get make changes happen.
And guess what?
She is STILL HAVING TO DO HER WORKSHOPS AND EXPERIMENTS to this very DAY.
Because guess what?
Racism persists. Those old racists that people say are supposed to die off and then everything will be peachy – well guess what – they died off decades ago and this ish is still happening.
Jane Elliot has sacrificed so much for you. And yes, if you didn’t know or didn’t click on those various links I put on her name, she is a nice white lady who has endured death threats, lost her family and so much more and yet she STILL CONTINUES.
When are you going to let Jane Elliot and those like her, Black, white, Of Color who are doing and have been doing THE SAME THING, over and over catch a break?
When is she and others in this fight going to be able to lay their burdens down and just rest?
Probably round about the time most white people get fed up with how things are and start with the little things like that woman in the supermarket, and then move on the bigger things, like workshops, experiments, talks and maybe start taking a page from Black civil rights activists and start marching – whatever it takes.
You need to make your people come correct. I believe that is what it will take for the scales to start being tipped in the direction of justice, equality and fairness. Sure, Black people and People Of Color are going to continue on in the good fight.
Perhaps we’ll continue to make more progress.
What if you joined the fight – not so much joining extant groups – but forming your own groups, directed at educating your own people. Imagine white people agitating other white people, getting them educated, pushing them to look at themselves, getting them to acknowledge their privilege, racism and push them to start making those changes.
How much faster would the progress go if white people started doing that?
Mirrors of Privilege: Making Whiteness Visible. (youtube link, part 1/5).
Use your platform to call people out on their racism. To alert other white people to their privilege, what it means, and what they can do with it to illicit change.
You have a platform if you are: A mom, a writer/blogger, a teacher, a student, a daughter, a dad, an artist, a — ANYTHING. If you are white, especially if are white and male: Whatever it is you do, you have a platform.
The platform isn’t your job, or your hobby or what you do on the weekends. It isn’t your webpage, blog or social media accounts. It is who and what you are. You can leverage those other things to be a part of the solution.
Right now, at this moment in time
White people are the dominant culture in America. You run everything. You have all the power. Don’t talk to me about my Black President – talk to me after the third or fourth president of color, and after we’ve had a couple two three female presidents – white people have and exercise the power in this country.
So when I say: OMG racism is bad! Check your white privilege! Stop doing that racist thing you’re doing!
It has less power and impact and honestly lets face it less people listening and even less people interested in doing anything about it.
But when a white persons says: OMG racism is bad! We all need to check our privilege! We gotta stop doing those racist things we’re doing!
More impact. More power. More listeners. More interest in doing something about it.
That is the reality of the world.
So go out there.
Do those little “grocery store” things that need to be done. Heighten your awareness. Exercise your privilege and power in the direction of change, education and equality. Get as many other white people as you can to do the same.
Cuz you know what?
We sure could use your help.