A White Anti-Racist? What?

Being a white anti-racist is a complicated role to fill. By being white, by occupying a privileged status, I am benefiting from a system of oppression. I am consistently questioning my thoughts and reactions to everything.

Many of my white “friends” think I’m really weird. They think I’m a race traitor, although they won’t actually come out and say it. But, for me it’s more important to reject whiteness and all it stands for than to embrace it. I’m not proud to be white for many reasons:

  • it is part of a system that dominates
  • historically, whiteness has killed, raped and colonized
  • being proud of a status that dominates and oppresses whole groups of people is, in my opinion, pathological

 

Although I reject whiteness, I do not reject being white. See the difference? Whiteness is the culture of domination and subjugation. I reject that, as I reject the dominant’s society’s ideas. But, I am white. I do experience white privilege, therefore I will never know what it is like to be brown or black or red or yellow in this world. Never. You see where I’m going with this?

 

It’s hard for many of us white folks to grasp this concept. Number one, it has always been about us and so when it isn’t about us we tend to get on the defensive. Number two, white guilt plays a huge part in rejecting our white privilege. We like to think that by saying “sorry” to every person of color that somehow we are absolved of our racism. We’re not. I think the only way we can attempt to be anti-racist is by action. Not words. 

 

 

I don’t think being a white anti-racist should be something that is congratulated. It should be expected, in all seriousness. I don’t want a cookie for being a decent human being. 

 

 

Don’t get me wrong, I am far from perfect. I slip up and some racism comes out that I didn’t even know existed. But, at the end of the day we all harbor oppressive thoughts and feelings, but the question is: Are you taking accountability? Responsibility? Are you repeating the same mistakes over and over? These are questions that everyone should ask themselves in relation to all forms of oppression.

 

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “A White Anti-Racist? What?

  1. I have a major problem over analyzing a white person’s actions towards me, as if I’m looking for a reason to count their words as racism. It is expected with the way I was raised to have to face racist remarks with all white people, however, I have never learned that white people can recognize and feel just as upset as I am with the way the world works. I envy you for being able to handle going against the normal social standards, it’s not easy being one of the few who speaks out when everyone else stays silent.

    • Manny ~ I appreciate your comments and your perspective. I have a lot to learn and am trying to educate myself, because I do not think it is the job of the oppressed to educate their oppressors.Thanks for the kind words! It has taken me a few years to openly speak my mind both on a screen and in the classroom.

  2. Nicole, this piece is quite powerful. I actually think we should look into getting it published in some form. It speaks to the issue of taking action as a white person but acknowledging that by doing that action is its own reward. This piece also speaks to the difficulties that being an actively anti-racist white person holds – people ask why you care – and you answer because you care about humanity. And the amazing and brilliant part is that you actually do because it shows in your actions.

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