Thursday, September 19, 2019

Whites remain fragile with race

I must admit that I have fallen into many white-guy traps when talking about race. I have tried to prove to minorities that "I'm one of the good ones" and "I'm on your side."

I also have shied away from race conversations because I was thinking "no good would come from this talk."

I have lived a life of white privilege and only within this past decade have come to understand what that entails and how I went a lot of my life without hardly considering race.

The truth is that many white people get emotional, angry, defensive and more with race talk, and Robin DiAngelo dissects what is happening there with her important 2018 book White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism.

A while back, I did a blog on how ignorance is a choice. I believe that is true because even the simplest of minds should be able to see the systemic difficult roads for African-Americans. How did slavery make a lasting impact on our life in 2019? What do you define as your culture, and what are other cultures you know? What do you know about driving while black?

Heck, I could come up with a zillion teacher-like questions that could lead an elementary student to some sort of understanding on race. Yet that hardly happens, and a big reason why is white fragility.
It is peculiar that white people often have a hard time discussing race. They can get defensive, angry, agitated and combative. Why?

One theory is that colorblindness was en vogue for a quite a stretch, and maybe whites think, "Oh, Lord, aren't we past this race stuff?"

Well, we are not. Institutional racism and individual prejudice continue to march on, and this whole tactic to "pretend race doesn't even exist" did not help matters. I, too, understand that I need to listen more, not spout my limited ideas and open up to fuller views on race and perspectives that aren't mine.

Strangely, I find that many white liberals are horrific with race conversations. They act like they know-it-all or that they're a good white while the Southern whites are the bad ones. It's way off, poppycock.

I'm not trying to pit liberals against conversations. The president can go ahead and do that. Rather. I'm here to try to help others move forward, or unlock themselves, when it comes to race. Robin DiAngelo did that with me and White Fragility, and I thank her for it.

1 comment:

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