Just what is going on with white people? Police shootings of unarmed African Americans. Acts of domestic terrorism by white supremacists. The renewed embrace of raw, undisguised white-identity politics. Unending racial inequity in schools, housing, criminal justice, and hiring. Some of this feels new, but in truth it’s an old story.
Why? Where did the notion of “whiteness” come from? What does it mean? What is whiteness for?
Scene on Radio host and producer John Biewen took a deep dive into these questions, along with an array of leading scholars and regular guest Dr. Chenjerai Kumanyika, in this fourteen-part documentary series, released between February and August 2017. The series editor is Loretta Williams.
Source: Seeing White
“This is a list of characteristics of white supremacy culture which show up in our organizations. Culture is powerful precisely because it is so present and at the same time so very difficult to name or identify. The characteristics listed below are damaging because they are used as norms and standards without being pro-actively named or chosen by the group. They are damaging because they promote white supremacy thinking. They are damaging to both people of color and to white people. Organizations that are people of color led or a majority people of color can also demonstrate many damaging characteristics of white supremacy culture.”
Read on here.
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.
If you don’t believe whitesplaining is wrong, then you’re missing how the motivation behind whitesplaining is influenced by white supremacy. So let’s unpack the most common reasons why whitesplaining happens, to examine why it’s so misguided.