From one white woman another, I have no doubt that you’re a fantastic person who would never dream of owning a slave. I like to think that I am, too. Thing is, while we can all seek to be kind to each other on a personal level, Racism-at-Large is a systemic problem involving an unequal balance of power (social power, political power, power to make large-scale decisions of what is ok and not ok and to have those decisions honored and enforced).
CBM’s metaphor is an excellent one — the very structure of society is set up to look like a mountain with the White guy on top and the Person of Color on bottom. And yes, they both get to throw rocks — but one throws uphill and the other throws down.
To address the fact that there are many individuals who don’t do racism consciously or on a small personal level (like you or me), it’s possible that neither person on the mountain realizes that they’re throwing rocks at someone … they may just be chucking rocks off a cliff to pass time, or clearing out a garden bed and are just tossing rocks away, or whatever. That innocence doesn’t stop the rocks from being thrown, though, nor the damage the rocks do.
Of course, once in a while an outlier blazes a trail up the rocky path and breaks through to the summit — say, Obama or Oprah (off the top of my head, I could think of about half a dozen in this country of over 300 million people)— but at large, the mass population remains starkly stratified by race with Whiteness being the criteria for throwing rocks down the hill.