Is my denial more intense than I even realize? I’ve been digging into my own racism for a few years now, and I simply can’t recall memories of overt racism when I was in high school. I am confident that my absence of memories is NOT proof of the absence of overt racism. I suspect strongly it’s just proof of my obliviousness as a typical white suburban girl.
There was lots of indirect racism — just as real, but it’s not the kind of racism I’m thinking about at the moment. Like, I’m sure that most of us white kids assumed Black people were arrested more because they committed more crimes rather than the truth that they were targeted more. Or we believed it was possible and good to be “color blind.” There was the racism involved the way we socially segregated ourselves, but “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria, and other conversations on race” helped me understand that a little better. For sure, our high school and we white students were racist (we benefit from white supremacy, so unless we were actively working against racism, we were part of the problem). But my question is about overt racism when white people were alone. In the wake of yet another ivy league-bound kid being exposed as using overtly racist language, I am asking myself again, did I witness overt racism when I was growing up?
Did kids use the N word or make overtly racist jokes when Black people weren’t around?
If I did, I definitely don’t remember it. I’d like to remember, though. I want to know the truth.
I’d love to know your memories of our high school’s racism. Commenting here is fine, or emailing me at heather at grantwinners dot net works or messaging me on any of the social media platforms where you’ve found this post also works. Thanks in advance for your help in building my memory!
Even though she was a Republican until the 90s, I like Elizabeth Warren. I like so many of her policies — I even just like that she has policy ideas — but the Native people I follow on twitter still consider her aggressively racist. I am listening to them. I’ve been trying to find more writings by Native/Indigenous people about what Elizabeth Warren should do to begin repairing the harm she has done and continues doing.
There are many articles explaining how and why Warren’s actions have been racist against indigenous people (Google it if you haven’t heard), but I haven’t (yet) found many stating what she should do to begin making real amends.
Deep, deep down, I think most of us white people are scared of the idea put forth in this tweet:
That is to say, most of us white people know on some level that we’ve got it better than Black and brown people. If you doubt it, I’ve seen the following exercise used: ask yourself, would you freely and happily be willing to be a Black person in America? If you say yes, you’d be happy to do that, I question your honesty. Most white people will recognize how difficult being Black in America. We white people must be afraid on some level that what’s not fairly earned might be taken away if we really work for justice. Continue reading →
I keep wanting to write a long post about how I treat my whiteness as an addiction. By that I mean I am impacted by something beyond my control (systemic racism) and I have lived in denial for most of my life — even as an anti-racism activist. I was sick and suffering but I didn’t realize it until I started recovering. Continue reading →
Have you seen Childish Gambino’s “This Is America?” I’m not sure of the video’s rating, but it contains both graphic violence and violent concepts. Still, I think all adults (and probably most kids, with adult supervision) might benefit from watching it.
It’s brilliant (thought I won’t try to articulate why that’s how I see it). It’s art. It also feels a lot like it’s none of my business. Continue reading →