hei…e “Queen Mothers,” took me under their wings. During one of our afternoons together, they asked me, “Is it true that in the U.S. farmers will plant a seed and they do not offer any libation to the soil, do not pray, sing, or dance their thanks, and they expect the seed to grow?” Upon my confirmation of this truth, they added, “That is why you are all sick.”
If you are getting angry about other people’s pain, then your anger had better be serving those people, not yourself. So yes, get angry. But never forget whose anger it is. Never lose sight of the people actually experiencing that pain. Remember you are not one of them.
…acism over time,” DiAngelo claims, “is the idea that racism is conscious bias held by mean people.” This “good/bad binary,” positing a world of evil racists and compassionate non-racists, is itself a racist construct, eliding systemic injustice and imbuing racism with such shattering moral meaning that white people, especially progressives, cannot bear to face their collusion in it. (Pause on that, white reader. You may have subconsciously developed your strong negative feelings about racism in order to escape having to help dismantle it.) As an ethical thinker, DiAngelo belongs to the utilitarian school, which places less importance on …
But when others of us point out white dysfunction, we aren’t calling for profiling of white people. If anything, we’re hoping that a greater understanding of the heterogeneity of misconduct will lead to less profiling, less race-based mistreatment, and a clearer recognition that there are good and bad, smart and not-so-smart, hard-working and not-so-hard working in every group.
Although people of color have long had to think about whiteness and how it operates, for most of us who are white, we’ve had the luxury of being oblivious to our own identity. We’ve been able to view our murderers and terrorists and screw-ups as individuals, rather than as representatives of our group.
If one believes blacks as a group are less hard-working, less honest and less intelligent — no matter whether one ascribes these traits to genes or cultural values — it is unrealistic to believe that such a person would treat individuals from that group equitably. The odds are better that they would engage in what social scientists call “statistical discriminati…
Of course, I’m aware that this isn’t how you see yourself. You would probably say, as many of your compatriots surely do, that your politics are not motivated by racism, but rather, by race-neutral matters like reducing the size of government or excessive taxation. But while I recognize that these are common concerns of folks like yourself, it is simply not the case that one can so easily separate these kinds of issues from a larger racial and even racist politic.