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Going through Detour-Spotting, Jona Olsson's well-crafted listing of issues to do with race in America, and why we have avoided accomplishing anything but the cursory elements related to it, many of these points could apply to any white person in the country. After all, these are just US citizens who are simply living life, but then could find themselves put in a position or face a circumstance that might test his or her humanity and choices when it comes to racism.

Today's topic isn't like that. It's actually one that specifically challenges those white people who are active anti-racists and who are trying very hard to help the process of dismantling these issues.

19) “Bending Over Blackwards” (3)

“Of course, I agree with you.” (Said to a person of color even when I disagree) or “I have to side with Jerome on this. (Even when Jerome, a man of color, represents opinions counter to mine.)

Reality Check and Consequence

Our white guilt shows up here as we defer to the person of color. The person of color is always right, or we never criticize or challenge her or him. We try not to notice that we notice they are Black or Native American or Latina or Asian or Middle Eastern. We don’t disagree, challenge or question a person of color the way we would a white person. And if we do disagree, we don’t do it with the same conviction or passion that we would display with a white person. Our racism plays out as a different standard for people of color than for white people.

If this is our pattern, we can never have a genuine relationship with a person of color. People of color know when we are doing this. Our sincerity, commitment and courage will be rightly questioned. We cannot grow to a deeper level of trust and intimacy with people of color we treat this way.

I can't help but notice that this series of nineteen thinkposts has generated a handful of comments collectively. I know that it's not because people aren't seeing these posts; I can look at my LJ stats and know that my views are very high. So, it might be something else.

If we are going to have a discussion of race in America, it can't be a monologue. People need to be able to have a real conversation. People should be asking questions and listening to answers. People must talk with one another about this topic. For far too long, Americans have simply sat on their hands and done nothing, ignored the situation as it is, or believed that they fully understood it when they did not and let Status Quo continue, unquestioned.

Placating the issue by simply agreeing with or not challenging any of the notions mentioned really doesn't accomplish anything. The idea is to actually learn about what is happening and why it is happening, not simply accept the dose of medicine that many white folks view any talk about racism to be.

It's important to learn about racism, about minority people, about humanity, about how everything is interrelated and about how our American Family, like everything on this planet, relies on everything else. It's through learning, listening, understanding that we can come to a place where people aren't taking actions out of obligation, but because they know this is the right thing to do and understand why. And it's so crucial to getting that understanding because these are lessons that need to be taught to every ensuing generation.

Not learning these lessons will create a feeling of confusion about why people simply blindly agree with a minority person, even if they don't believe in what's being said. It could even foster a feeling of resentment, making this another sure way to get to more racist thoughts and behaviors.

So, we should agree that when it comes to racism, we need to talk through the thoughts and the feelings, we need to ask about something we don't understand. We have to work together to make sure we all comprehend these issues, where they come from and how to stop them.

We need to do this for our very lives.

Previous thinkposts in this series:

1. Day One - I'm Colorblind
2. Day Two - Bootstrap Theory
3. Day Three - Reverse Racism
4. Day Four - Blame The Victim
5. Day Five - The White Knight
6. Day Six - Lighten Up
7. Day Seven - Don't Blame Me
8. Day Eight - BWAME
9. Day Nine - We Have Overcome
10. Day Ten - The End Run
11. Day Eleven - Due Process
12. Day Twelve - By Association
13. Day Thirteen - The Penitent
14. Day Fourteen - White Wash
15. Day Fifteen - Not Here

XX. Intermission

16. Day Sixteen - Former Life
17. Day 17 - Straightening Up
18. Day 18 - The Isolationist


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Aug. 12th, 2016 08:58 pm (UTC)
The one thing we can say about social media is that it helps people who think alike find each other! That is the proverbial double-edged sword.

As I noted, the only time we really start seriously discussing race in America is when some event occurs: a white police officer kills an unarmed black citizen as a random scenario off the top of my head. That's immediately a problem for the discussion because of the emotional qualities and the heightened sense of injustice about how a case like that typically progresses.

If we intend to have that level-headed, clear-eyed view of race in America, it would need to happen when we aren't dealing with the next "shocking" case. Unfortunately, it seems like there's always another one, or we're remembering the anniversary of one, so that's just another speed bump in the road.

You raise an important point re: the white working class and their view of things. Certainly, they aren't doing well as far as being able to put away money for savings or retirement, and may well be living hand to mouth, a dangerous situation as they continue to age. That's not a "privileged" place to be.

The elements of racism definitely make it easy to find a scapegoat for that particular group's angst and misery. And through that, they can be controlled, manipulated, coerced into supporting a lot of these thoughts when, if logic were allowed to enter, it would be clear who is really pulling these strings.

Racism is totally top-down. The One Percenters want middle and lower class whites to blame all the minorities for their woes, while they squirrel their millions away in tax shelter locations, further hobbling our government and putting more pressure on those very groups.

It's through this emotional connection: thinking that minority citizens are responsible for these circumstances, we get a concept like "White Genocide" or other, similar, non-existent problems. But as long as there is an agenda pushing out these messages and a group of people seeking answers and willing to believe, it's going to be a tough climb out of this chasm.

Thanks again for reading along, for your responses and for being so supportive, Brooke!
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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