We need you to check your racist friends and relatives instead of holding your tongue to “keep the peace” because silence in the face of racist rhetoric is passive violence. We need you to move beyond the guilt and into the discomfort of holding multiple realities. You did …
This article is so good, and I wanted to respond to this sentence from my perspective as a white woman who has repeatedly done this most of my life. It has very little impact — at least that I know of, at least that I see. It’s so disheartening how doggedly people will hold onto their views when confronted, though usually the second iteration of those views are worded to sound less bigoted. That doesn’t mean we should give up, but it’s a lot like beating your head against a door that won’t open. What has cracked those doors open, in my experience, is introducing relationships you have with POC to them (in the flesh, not just telling stories.) I’ve watched my dad, who has held racist views his whole life, soften as he’s gotten to know and love my black children. I’ve had similar experiences with friends. I can do more (we can do more) to get involved with issues of policy and justice to enact systemic change on a legislative level, but I am so convinced that the only way to actually change hearts and minds is through building solid, committed relationships with people of color.
I don’t have “white guilt” but I do have “white responsibility.” White privilege (any kind of privilege, really) can be used for self-advancement or it can be used to lift up others to level the playing field. That’s where the responsibility comes in.
Honored by the follow back, Ajah. I really look forward to learning more from you and engaging in the discussions your articles promote.