Let’s crank this thing up a notch. Two articles that have caught my attention recently [Thankx Tsholofelo for the first one] and have a lot to say in this Race conversation that we’ve started and are engaging with each other on [although am still hoping to see more of that].

These feel like they could be part of the ‘can of worms’ and ‘Pandora’s Box’ i was promised [threatened with?] when i said that i was going to start a conversation about Race on my blog, which thus far feels like it hasn’t happened. But i have this idea that a lot of people who are a greater part of the problem, if i could even get them to read these two articles, would easily dismiss them.

The only problem is that there is so much truth in each one. And it is truth that white people [who have traditionally or historically been the dominant race group in both Americaland and South Africa] really could do well with hearing, and trying to understand.

I have only included snippets from each article in this post, so do yourselves a favour and go and read the whole article and then come back here and share your thoughts, whatever they may be.

The first is an article titled, Racism 2.0: Living in a post-racial America by Zach Freshley [the lines i have quoted are not one section but rather different thoughts i have pulled out from different places in the article]

If I had a dime for every time I’ve been called “the whitest black guy I know”, I could pay off the national debt. Ok, not really, but you get the point.

That HAS to be one of the most offensive things someone can say to a black person i imagine? Black friends help me out? And the worst is, i have this strong inherent feeling whispering to me from some distant memory that i have probably said that to someone before. Completely not meant offensively. i dunno, am i over-reacting? today it just feels really unkind…

Wrong. Racism is sneaky nowadays. It lurks in our conversations. It slips its way into the way we interact with people of different races. It embeds itself into the way we think. It’s not blatant and it’s not obvious. And most times, it’s not even intentional. But its subtlety is exactly what makes it so dangerous.

People say things like this all the time and it drives me crazy. You take one look at the amount of melanin in my skin and assume that you know everything about me. You assume you know the type of music I listen to. You assume you know how I should dress. You think you know all these things because you don’t see me as a unique human being. You see me as a category. You see me as a box to be checked on the census form.

And while I don’t apologize for anything I’ve said, I don’t want you to read this as a white person and feel like I’m attacking you. Because I’m not. I just want to let you know how we as minorities feel. I wanted to give you a small taste of what I go through on a daily basis. Not to elicit sympathy. Not to make you feel like a terrible person. I just want you to think. I want you to think about the way you treat people you don’t even know simply because they have a different shade of skin than you do. I don’t want you to treat me any differently as a person because I’m black. I don’t want you to see the color of my skin and make judgment calls on who I am because of it. I don’t want to be Black Zach. I want to be Zach who happens to be black. And if I can get you thinking about that distinction and how it applies in your life, then I’ve succeeded.

the second article is one that has been doing the round on the book of facements and it is titled 18 things white people seem to not understand [because, White Privilege by Macy Sto. Domingo and i think there was maybe one i didn’t agree with, but the rest are so true [and i only came to realise, see or believe a bunch of them since living in Philly and now Oakland where we have witnessed them first and second hand to be true]. Again, go and read the full list, but here is a taste…

2. White Privilege is being able to watch a movie, read a book and open the front page of a newspaper and see yourself and your race widely represented and spoken for.

4 White Privilege is living in a world where you are taught that people with your skin tone hold the standard for beauty.

9 White Privilege is not having your name turned into an easier-to-say Anglo-Saxon name.

10. White Privilege is being able to fight racism one day, then ignore it the next.

14. White Privilege is being pulled over or taken aside and knowing that you are not being singled out because of your race/colour.

15. White Privilege is not having to teach your children to be aware of systematic racism for their own protection.

It is quite easy and maybe tempting to dismiss some of these things, either by denying that they are true at all or by throwing out a ‘Can’t we just be done with this all and move on?’ statement which refuses to admit and own up to the reality that some people face. White privilege for the most part, with people i know at least, is not something we necessarily have chosen, but rather something we need to realise we have simply by having been born white in the country we were born in. I encourage you to read through both of these articles with fresh eyes, really seeking to hear the truths that are being shared. The come back here and let’s engage in some conversation.

How does reading that make you feel? 

mymind[To jump back to the start of this conversation on Race, click here]

Advertisements