‘Disastrous Inequality’ and my personal understanding of racism (as a person with white skin)

April 18, 2007 at 5:36 am (accountability, connections, disconnecting, economy, honesty, learning to listen, media analysis, psychology, racism, relationship work, united states)

This video comes from the Applied Research Center.

In my understanding:

HISTORICAL FACT #1 : Through the hype and shadow, US media usually *avoids* any real analysis of race in its historical context (white supremacy).

FACT LITTLE KNOWN TO MOST WHITE PEOPLE #1: Talking about racism with white people is usually difficult, unnecessarily challenging, and laborious.

MYTH #1: PSYCHOLOGICAL EFFECTS OF RACISM DON’T INCLUDE WHITE PEOPLE
I would argue that the effects of racism and the process of facing racism are *some* of the largest negative psychological factors that shape the psyche and mental well-being of EVERYBODY in the US (and probably the whole world).

MISCONCEPTION #1: RACISM IS JUST BEING PREJUDICED. Just to make it clear, when I talk about *racism* I mean historical white supremacy, and NOT just personal *bigotries * and *prejudices*

MY EXPERIENCE AS A WHITE PERSON IS SHAPED BY WHAT IT MEANS AND WHAT IT HAS MEANT TO BE A WHITE PERSON #1:
Unfortunately, the dynamics to facing and talking about racism (as I know among whitefolks) remain mostly hidden, and as I know it, *most* whitefolks, when facing the personal and psychological work required to dealing with our own internalized racism, either ignore it or escape it. In the media or in more classical genial and liberal escapist roles, the discussion of racism all becomes a game of making sure that one doesn’t *appear* to be “a racist,” or that one isn’t witnessed expressing racist characteristics and behaviour around people that would be *offended* (people perceived as poc).

FACING RACISM IS PAINFUL AND REQUIRES A DEDICATION TO HEALING
The onset of white-based political correctness in language seems to have resulted in preventing (mostly white) people from having open, honest or meaningful conversations about race and racism, making it even more difficult to talk about such a historically painful subject. It is ridiculous to think that a psychological social illness/cultural standard & practice that shapes a large part the psyche of white people, is not an *sickness* that requires spiritual, personal, political, social, and collective healing. Real questions, reflection and action working againts racism-white supremacy begins as we look to what we have personally assimilated from the culture of white supremacy, and uproot it through all of our lives, because it is that old, it is that deep, it is that concealed and intertwined within this unhappy lineage that leads directly to ourselves. BUT IT WILL REQUIRE MUCH MUCH *MUCH** LISTENING. And it is mostly going to require people who don’t know about racism and who don’t know they don’t know about racism (a lot of whitefolks) listening to *experiences outside of their own* . This means listening about racism from the point of view of a poc WITHOUT DOUBTING or CRITICIZING, WITHOUT making absurd remarks or questions, WITHOUT SAYING THAT THE SAME THING HAPPENS TO YOU ALL THE TIME, YA JUST GOTTA GET OVER IT because if you’re white it didn’t happen to you like that, not once not all the time, so just callate and listen, and learn to listen that you aren\t going to be able to relate very well with everything you hear, and listening to poc talk about THEIR EXPERIENCES with RACIST-ass history and culture filled with racist-ass culeros, is probably gonna make you UNCOMFORTABLE, but GET OVER IT, its not about you. If you are white and you are doing work against your own racist assumptions and reactions, BE HONEST AND YOU’LL GET YOUR ASS CALLED OUT sometimes gentle and sometimes not ACCEPT IT GRACIOUSLY it is a precious gift.

ACTUALLY TALKING ABOUT RACISM IS DIFFICULT, AND THEN DOING SOMETHING ABOUT IT CAN BE A LOT MORE CHALLENGING
As I know it being from the US, I believe opening up meaningful dialogues about race and racism are necessary steps to further EVERYONES personal healing. First you can’t get caught up on the guilt. DON’T BE SO SELF ABSORBED if you feel guilty, pick yourself and move on, STAYING with that guilty feeling is just more of not doing anything but focusing on yourself.  But HEY it just isnt about you. And then BEYOND JUST TALKING about it DO SOMETHING! IT IS GOING TO REQUIRE LISTENING and it will require standing up and speaking up AND SAYING THINGS OUTLOUD IN SOCIAL SETTINGS that will surely make you unpopular among other whitefolks that you know and are quite possibly people you know quite well, family and friends. BUT JUST because I am with white people does not give consent for another white person to say the same old or newly phrased tired and stupid-ass racist bullshit around me and I let them folks know that DAMN! DONT SAY THAT SHIT around me, not like a request or a notification of my preferences, but A DRAMATIC declaration DEMANDING they take a look at how what they are saying is FUCKED UP and perpetuates a climate of hostility, ignorance and violence, not just cuz its *racist*. And this is just THE EASIEST EXAMPLE, I’m sure we can brainstorm many many more examples that are full of thicker subtleties and are much more complex.

FACT #2 ABOUT BEING WHITE: If you’re white.. (and I guess here I’m talking about the trail of your lineage, NOT JUST the shade of your skin), so IF YOU’RE WHITE, YOU’RE RACIST. That’s just how it is if you’re white from a lineage born generations through the context of a white-supremacist country with a long ugly white-supremacist history. Sorry if ya didn’t know. I know this is a hard one to accept (especially for feel-gooding white liberal folks) but REMEMBER TO LISTEN ! ! Don’t get too caught up on yourself, racism has been around a lot longer, is a lot larger, and weighs a lot more than you! So get over yourself, too.

CRUCIAL ADVICE FOR WHITEFOLKS WILLING TO DO THE WORK: A.) Give up being the boss, give up thinking you know too much, give up thinking you have to be calm or have everything under control. B.) Be humble while continuing the life-long process to untangle our personal, familial and cultural lullabies.  C.)  Listen!  Listening is a process of learning to listen to experiences outside of your own.  Not everything is about race, and not everything needs any kind of answer or response. Not everyone will trust you enough to tell you how they feel, get over it. TRUST comes from working together over time NOT from ANYTHING that is said  D.)  Make and follow through to keeping accountability to the people you work with.  Escaping-running away-puffing up-making threats of violence- and all other general forms of breaking accountability has been whitefolks’s historical first trap.  DON’T GET CAUGHT UP IN RUNNING AWAY WHEN YOU FEEL SCARED we are going to make a lot more mistakes (like everyone) if we wish to get anywhere, just own up and be accountable for what you said or what you did, and move on. THIS is behavior I think generally builds trust if repeated over time.

LOOKING AT RACISM IS A RESPONSIBILITY FOR WHITE PEOPLE
The bottom line: white supremacy is violence and IS a long historical lineage of violence, and EVERYONE in the US has their work to facing their own internalized white supremacy in the context of ending this violence, WHILE ALSO working and reaching for their own psychological healing, this is being said really **-especially-only** for whitefolks.

PLACES TO LOOK FOR FURTHER READING
There are many active organizations, collectives and writers in the US working a little below the radar, the majority that I have read that are the sharpest most brilliant most analyticaly and insanely genius are woc blog writers, whom maybe in many aspects see the most and they know it and say it like it is. See WOC blog, and The Anti-Essentialist Conundrum, just two blogs-bloggers among a churning river of blog writing, you will never be able to read through it all, what you can find durates long in your heart, often beautiful, even more often heart-breaking and stunning.

HIDDEN SECRET ABOUT VIOLENCE AND INTERSECTING OPPRESSION? Everything said here about racism and poc and whitefolks can be related very similarly to sexism (and other oppressions, too?). I dunno, in terms of relating similarities between oppressions IS WHAT I JUST TYPED ABOVE about intersecting oppression TRUE? ..REALLY I would like to know,

PLEASE READ MY FRIENDS READ ON !

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: