i am almost overwhelmed by the amount of posts i have been discovering or people have been linking me to when it comes to race. What has been amazing has been so many of them have been so incredibly good. i imagine there are a lot of people who see ‘Anothe ace post by Brett Fish’ and roll their eyes or reach for the unsubscribe. But i am confident that there are enough people following and contributing to this conversation that it is worth continuing it.
There is still so much i need to learn and hear. Thank you to everyone who has been sharing their unearthed gems with me.
This post is simply to highlight some of the more recent posts i have been reading from Americaland and here, where there is a surprising amount of mirroring, echo and comparison that can be made despite our countries having some significant differences in present context [one being that in Americaland white people are the majority, whereas in South Africa we were in the minority]
There is work to be done:
# Dear White Brothers and Sisters: Why #BlackLivesMatter Matters to you – This post, by Natasha Sistrunk Robinson on Amy Julia Becker’s blog i one of the best pieces i have read in terms of explaining the hashtags, the importance of #BlackLivesMatter vs #AllLivesMatter and giving some positive actions steps as to how you can be part of the solution.
The Washington Post recently published an article revealing that “for every 91 white friends a white American has, they have only one black friend.” Additionally, “the study found that 75 percent of whites have entirely white social networks without any minority presence.” The lack of intimate connection to diverse communities, and sociological research demonstrates, that white people need better cultural tools to process racial concerns.
Some people have pushed back on #BlackLivesMatter with an#AllLivesMatter. Generalizing this important statement is simply a way of silencing the wilderness experiences of black folks and those who are lamenting the senseless loss of black lives. Of course, all lives and all children matter, but all are not being killed by cops. When I say #BlackLivesMatter, I am saying that black people need the same protections as white people from the police and their communities. Now is the time to hold powerful and political structures accountable.
# Thoughts from a Recovering Racist is an article with one of the most helpful stories that drives home the message of what ‘White Privilege’ is all about – Josh Throneburg tells his story and then doesn’t go as far as saying the words, but the point of the story is ‘This would not have played out the same way if i was black.’ And i think he is right – i received the same kind of get-out-of-jail-free card encounter when we lived in Oakland where the police officers would routinely stop drivers simply because they were black and i, being someone who deserved to be punished, was tossed a lifeline.
So read his story and take some time to focus on the helpful hints he gives at the bottom of his piece:
If your whole world is pretty much white people, like what I described above, watch what you say. I shouldn’t tell a woman not to yell and scream during childbirth, and you shouldn’t tell the black community that they are overreacting, or missing the point, or biased. We have no idea how they feel or how deeply this hurts. These last two weeks have inflicted serious injury, so please keep quiet and don’t aggravate their pain.
And a bonus for my Christ-following friends:
Finally, if you are someone that reads the Bible, then you may know Paul’s verse in Romans that says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind”. This verse assumes that there are patterns of thought informed by this world, and that those are old ways of thought that must be made new.
# We aren’t playing the Race Card, we are analyzing the Racialised Deck – This is a helpful post, by Drew Hart, highlighting the need to look at the bigger picture of systemic injustice as opposed to the ease with which we can dismiss individual incidents separated from context:
Merely speaking about this incident and mentioning racism resulted in the common backlash accusation of playing this mythical item. It is used over and over again by some white people instead of engaging in dialogue through sharing and listening, the choice is made to stigmatize and scapegoat those that disagree that America is mostly a colorblind post-racial nation. There are certain scripts that the white majority learns and rehearses through subtle socialization in dominant culture. Rather than doing the hard work of careful in-depth investigation of the matter, quick cliché dismissals are used to uphold the status quo.
A different definition of racism which includes the following:
Racism is about one group having enough power to organize society by its categories (legally or by voluntary choices) in such a way that it advantages most of the dominant groups members at the expense of another group’s welfare. Backing up and looking at racial patterns (historical and sociological) a bigger entity than personal prejudice comes into view. Suddenly, through historical and sociological study, we can see that America is a highly racialized society that is dominated and controlled by the white majority.
And THIS is where it starts to get real:
These patterns also begin to reveal what it means to live on the underside of our racialized society. Though white and black youth are using drugs at comparable rate (research suggests close to equal with white youth using slightly more than black youth), black men are disproportionately arrested for nonviolent drug offenses. 1 out of 3 African Americans will go through the system because the War on Drugs has focused on urban black and brown neighborhoods rather than the vanilla suburbs.
We have to ask deeper questions. We must talk less, be slower to jump in with defence or argument and simply listen more. Try and hear. Attempt to understand. What others are thinking and feeling and meaning when they say what they say.
What articles, posts, videos have you found helpful in terms of this conversation in the last week or so? Please leave us a link in the comments. Also let us know what was the one eye-opening thing for you in any of these articles that you read?
[For more thoughts from a variety of sources on this idea of White Privilege, click here]