It’s Time to Finally Look in The Mirror of White Liberalism
A response to Courtney Parker West’s post “On ‘Woke’ White People Advertising Their Shock that Racism Just Won a Presidential Election”
First of all, thank you for the wake up call on my “woke” self.
Second of all, damn your post hurt to read.
And yes, it’s because I’ve lived in a protected bubble of whiteness. But it’s also because I bought into the fairy tales of white liberalism that were taught to me by every civil rights history lesson I learned growing up as a Jewish girl in an affluent area of Baltimore.
I bought into the promise that, despite slavery, despite oppression, despite hate-fueled assassinations of individuals, despite genocides, progressive movements keep moving our culture forward.
Over the past eight years we’ve witnessed our first black president in office. We’ve seen growing support for the Black Lives Matter movement. We’ve witnessed gays openly joining the military & finally achieving marriage equality. We’ve witnessed (flawed) healthcare legislation that works to ensure everyone has access to healthcare.
This election is a huge cultural leap backward.
I and my liberal white friends had taken for granted that such a devastating tumble back down the mountain of progress simply couldn’t happen. The fact that we even had the luxury to take things for granted speaks to our privilege, but dammit, we’re trying.
Apparently it’s time to try harder.
Please don’t dismiss the shock of white liberal women as mere surprise:
I’m not surprised.
Shock is the side effect of deep trauma.
The veil of white liberalism has been ripped from my eyes, and what I once saw as a nation with one foot stuck in its racist past, but striving forward, I now see as a nation drowning in a seething miasma of racism & xenophobia disguised as “anti-establishment” rebellion.
What I naively thought was a simple matter of helping fellow white Americans to see and respect the humanity of people who represent the Other is now so much more complicated.
Because it’s not about getting white America to understand the experience of the Other.
It’s about getting white America to finally see themselves.