As a white male, I have to first and foremost acknowledge that racism does indeed exist. It did not end when Obama was elected, and we are seeing more and more instances of it rearing its ugly head thanks to the “always on” social media. The ugliness can’t be easily swept under a rug.
Additionally, I have to acknowledge that white privilege is indeed a thing. I don’t have to fear for being pulled over simply becausde the color of my skin. I am aware that I am more apt to be picked for a job over a black man or woman whose skills may even surpass mine, simply because I am white. I don’t have to worry about playing with a toy gun in a store and not worry that I will be gunned down, nor do cops even glance at me when I am walking down the street.
I have said “Nigger” many times out of anger or frustration, but never to the face of a black person, because I am a coward and like to pretend I am not the least bit racist. I, like most white people, say it either from behind a keyboard or the wheel of our car, or in the privacy of our homes.
I also, knowing what you know about my callous use of a racial slur, do not consider myself a racist because “I have black friends”, “I watch Tyler Perry movies”, and I count “Friday” as one of my favorite movies of all time.
But, deep down, that doesn’t negate the fact that I am racially insensitive (a racist) even if not on the same level as a member of the Aryan Nation, or other people I know whose attitudes toward people of color sickens me.
Are there degrees of racism or is it all one ideal, one unified force working against the betterment of society? I think that is where the breakdown occurs, within the fringes where people don’t see themselves as racist and when they are called out, they become defensive. It’s the old “First step to curing a problem…” adage. No one wants to admit they are racist. Not even a little bit.
I do find a particular paragraph of this article interesting. it is where the author mentions that black people can’t be racist. Based on the textbook definition, “Racist” is defined as one believing one race is superior to another. As an oppressed people, I can see how the word “racist” does not apply to black people. But, if white people are to engage in meaningful dialogue, we have to address that there are black people out there who hate white people as well. I know this is not indicative of all black people, and in my experience, it is the exception rather than the norm, so do we discount those individuals from the discussion?
Sorry for the rambling reply, your article was very thought provoking and I think one of the finest examples of a step in the right direction in how we need to address race in this country. I am not sure that there are enough level-headed individuals though to make the discussions worthwhile…because eventually, you will have to address those who write you off as the angry black person, etc.
Where do we start then?