RACISM AND PRIVILEGE IN IDENTITY
Saturday, August 29, 2020, 3:30 p.m. & Tuesday, September 1, 2020, 11:30 a.m. (via Zoom).
This set of ‘Reading & Discussion’ will discuss the excerpt below from a post on the blog stuff white people do, “fail to see how racism harms white people”.
“These days, fewer and fewer white people think that non-white people suffer much racism at all anymore. They often think as well that if and when racism does happen to non-white people, it’s a mere, temporary annoyance, and not the major set of hindrances it often is instead. And so, white people rarely consider the racism endured by non-white people worthy of much attention at all.
The “racism” that most white people attend to instead is that which they think they themselves suffer. They commonly call their grievances of this sort “reverse racism” — the supposed slings and arrows flung at white people by affirmative action, for instance, or by the “real racists” who insist on keeping the idea of racism alive by “crying” about it so much.
What very few white people realize, beyond the fact that racism against non-whites remains insidiously pervasive, is that white racism has costs for white people — a lot of them. But these costs of racism are not the ones that many white people think they suffer.
In his book Uprooting Racism: How White People Can Work for Racial Justice, Paul Kivel writes that while “racism does produce material benefits for white people . . . the costs of racism to white people are devastating”:
They are not the same costs as the day-to-day violence, discrimination, and harassment that people of color have to deal with. Nevertheless, they are significant costs that we have been trained to ignore, deny, or rationalize away. They are costs that other white people, particularly those with wealth, make us pay in our daily lives. It is sobering for us as white people to talk together about what it really costs to maintain such a system of division and exploitation in our society. We may even find it difficult to recognize some of the core costs of being white in our society.”
- macon, d. (2009, October 29). “fail to see how racism harms white people”, stuff white people do blog. Retrieved August 25, 2020 from: https://stuffwhitepeopledo.blogspot.com/2009/10/fail-to-see-how-racism-harms-white.html
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