Acknowledging privilege is difficult. It implicates you in the act of oppression, and very few want to think of themselves as oppressors. But if you dislike racism, yet do little — if anything — to resist it, you’re enabling racial oppression and benefitting from it. This not only harms people of color. It also harms white people and their humanity.
You’ve heard it. You might’ve said it. “I don’t see color.” Or “We’re all just people.” This author has learned about several problems with the colorblind ideology, and here they are: 7 Reasons Why ‘Colorblindness’ Contributes to Racism Instead of Solves It
“We may be uncomfortable talking about race, but we can no longer afford to be silent. We have chosen a profession, which—like parenting—requires that our comforts come second to those of children.”
This is such a good read (and so affirming for POC who live in SF/Bay Area). #whiteliberalracism #blindspots
Please read: Color Blind or Just Plain Blind? by John F. Dovidio and Samuel L.Gaertner (ignore the alert at the top of the page about content that has been moved, and keep reading).
My favorite bit is the conclusion’s first bullet:
So what can we each do about racism when we don’t know what we don’t know yet? Here are some simple (but not easy) suggestions for action.
• When a person of color brings up race as an issue in an interpersonal or organizational setting—listen! If the person indicates he or she is offended, don’t be defensive. Instead try to understand the other person’s perspective on the issue. Remember your perceptions can be very different from the everyday experience of others. As the data indicate, whites tend to underestimate the impact of discrimination. Do not begin talking quickly, explain why they are misinterpreting the situation, or begin crying. These are some of the most infuriating responses people of color encounter when they challenge a situation that feels wrong. Take time, if you need it, to think about the situation after listening fully to the other person’s perspective. If you hear problems third-hand, don’t get angry because you were not approached directly. You probably need to talk through the situation at some point, but remember it is almost never completely safe for a person of color to challenge a dominant perception. Listen deeply.
What does it mean to be white? MTV’s ‘White People’ is a groundbreaking documentary on race that aims to answer that question from the viewpoint of young white people living in America today. The film follows Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and filmmaker, Jose Antonio Vargas, as he travels across the country to get this complicated conversation started. ‘White People’ asks what’s fair when it comes to affirmative action, if colorblindness is a good thing, what privilege really means, and what it’s like to become the “white minority” in your neighborhood. For more information on ‘White People,’ and to join the conversation, head to race.lookdifferent.org.