Race Relations

White Fragility Is Racial Violence

Photo Source: WHITE FRAGILITY New Lessons In Public School
White Fragility Is Racial Violence

I think it's weird that I'm writing this post.

Everything I'm going to say has already been said, better and with frequency by people of color. But it seems like when it comes to racism (just like men re: feminism) white people need to hear it from other white people.

So let me state this plainly. White people, we are massively failing with our white fragility. When we are asked to do the very least in empathetic listening, we center entire conversations around our own feelings.

We argue with people of color about their lived experiences of racism. We say "not all white people!" and "all lives matter" and totally miss the point. We ask people of color to educate us, and to be "nice" about it. We talk about our good intentions. We bring up the times we were also treated badly.

Why? Because we can. As white people living in white supremacy we have the power to take that focus because society values our words more than those of people of color. It's hard to even recognize we're doing it. But it has to change. We have to be able to comprehend a point about racism without demanding that a person patiently hold our hand and explain it to us very delicately as to avoid hurting our feelings.

Let's just get this out of the way: The fact is, if you're white in America, you've likely said, thought, or done something racist. It's just a fact. We were all brought up in a white supremacist culture. Not only do we passively participate in institutionalized racism as white people, we benefit from it! To shy away from that is to put oneself (yet again) above people of color.

We have to unlearn a lifetime of subtle and not so subtle social cues and behaviors. We have to become aware of how we think about people. We have to cringingly remember times we said racist things to other white people, or worse, in front of a person of color. Whatever it is, we have to face that shit. And it's hard. And it should be hard. We've had everything handed to us; we can't demand racial enlightenment on a silver platter too. We have to do the work.

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