“ 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. …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.”
It makes me sad because so many of us are looking for an identity, and so often what we find when we look into our own backgrounds is violence and racism. We often don’t want to be a ‘we’. When I was in Tanzania in the Peace Corps, I was part of a ‘we’ more than I ever have been in my life or will probably ever be again. I have no illusions that this was for any other reason than that the villagers there were amazing, giving, loving people; I didn’t earn it. How could I? Even there, I was kept safe by the power structure that keeps me separate from you.
The same power structure that declares me white, and separates me from my First Nations ancestors, and my black and Hispanic friends. It makes me tired, too, trying to figure out when I can say something that matters and when I’m just being a crazy woman/liberal, etc. Sometimes I don’t even want to go home for the Holidays; the racial tensions in my all-white home are very strong just for political reasons. I don’t want to know what my dad thinks about Muslims and Syrians right now; it’s not a fight I can win.
I understand that I and my family benefit from the society that killed the natives and enslaved the Africans, and whose roots are still buried in that past. Can you understand what it’s like to never be able to feel clean because of what your ancestors did?