This is a blog post I have wanted to write for a long time but simply did not know what words to ascribe to my thoughts. I have so often mulled over and felt grief about the racially motivated tragedies that have been highlighted in the news over the past year and a half. Notice I said highlighted because this has been happening in our country for years. Racism has not gone away, but as a white woman I do not always notice it. But I am looking at it now. The pain it causes me to think about the dehumanization of blacks and minorities is nothing compared to what is experienced daily by so many. This needs to stop. Silence is tacit compliance. I cannot be silent about this any longer. An excerpt from a post I recently read helped me understand how racism is too often viewed by white people. It read:
White people do not think in terms of we. White people have the privilege to interact with the social and political structures of our society as individuals. You are “you,” I am “one of them.” Whites are often not directly affected by racial oppression even in their own community, so what does not affect them locally has little chance of affecting them regionally or nationally. They have no need, nor often any real desire, to think in terms of a group. They are supported by the system, and so are mostly unaffected by it.
What they are affected by are attacks on their own character. To my aunt, the suggestion that “people in The North are racist” is an attack on her as a racist. She is unable to differentiate her participation within a racist system (upwardly mobile, not racially profiled, able to move to White suburbs, etc.) from an accusation that she, individually, is a racist. Without being able to make that differentiation, White people in general decide to vigorously defend their own personal non-racism, or point out that it doesn’t exist because they don’t see it.
You can read the rest of John Metta’s post here.
Because this unjust system benefits us, we should not rest on our laurels or (worse yet) try to “explain” that racism doesn’t exist or attempt to rationalize racial inequalities. There is not equality (a level playing field, if you will) so you can’t try to say that the “road goes both ways” and “it had nothing to do with race, stop making it about that.” These acts inherently are about race. The system itself is racist. And, while we are at it, black people cannot be “racist.” Racism (and all -isms including sexism, ageism, etc.) is comprised of prejudice and power. So, a black person could have racial bias or prejudice toward someone but it is not the same thing as racism. It gets under my skin (I can’t imagine how much it upsets people of color) when someone tries to flip a script that was written by white men and try to pass it off as evidence that things are equal.
What we need to do is listen and stop trying to make excuses. Listen, BELIEVE others experiences as part of a system that is rigged against them and ACT. WE NEED TO DO BETTER. WE NEED TO SPEAK OUT.