As you might guess, I think about racism a lot. How did we get here? Why are we still here? And most importantly, how are we going to get out of this mess. But I think about it on an interpersonal level. This in no way denies the existence of systemic racism or those who work to eradicate it on that level. My area of focus is racism on a one-to-one level. Okay?
The problem isn’t that some white folks don’t understand that racism still exists or can’t grasp the concepts of white privilege and systemic racism. I say this for two reasons.
First, they may not understand those concept by those specific names. I had never heard of the term “white privilege” until a few years ago, but having lived the majority of my life in the south, I knew it when I saw it . . . even with my eyes closed. Everyone in these United States recognizes the concept of white privilege when they see it. Don’t believe me? Take a look at this one-minute video from educator Jane Elliott.
I rest my case.
Second, they may understand just enough about privilege and racism to know that they do not want to address these issues. After all, you aren’t obligated to fix what’s broken if you don’t acknowledge that it’s broken. Besides, recognizing that something is inoperable comes with potential costs . . . like self-incrimination. Who wants to admit they’re part of a problem? And guilt. Who wants to deal with a conscience that knows it’s part of the problem?