“One would think everyone would enjoy the same rights by 2015, sadly we seem further away than before.” ~ Joan Raymond
“It seems to me, not only a race issue but "respect for life" in general.” ~ Shari Clutter-Wick
“Where exactly to start, well, could be anywhere, but I would choose workers’ rights to fair wages, meaning actual living wages.” ~ Gil Gia
My heart bursting with gratitude, I read the blog comments, emails, and Facebook posts as people began responding to the conversation about race. This was exactly what I wanted -- folks sharing their experiences, their questions, their takes on race and social issues. This is how we’re going to grow and begin to know how to even talk about race. So, this post will be a “Talk Back” to share and respond to some of the ideas brought forth.
White privilege is the phenomenon that because a person was born white, he or she is afforded a certain status and receives benefits by virtue of being a part of that group. These advantages are withheld from other groups, usually people of color, just because they are not white. A good explanation of White Privilege is presented by Gina Crosley-Corcoran.
My friend Rose posted on Facebook: “unfortunately, white privilege has some people very blinded to some facts that i have read. facts around how young black boys are viewed as older and more threatening, to them getting into trouble for things that their white friends would not.”
Blog comment from friend Joan Kerr: At a multicultural institute, “. . . I was told that I was racist simply by virtue of being part of the privileged class . . I guess hearing that helped in terms of being more aware of what it means to NOT have to think about race. . . . Are ALL white people part of the problem just because they were born white? (To read Joan’s full text, see the Comments section.)
That doesn’t make a White person a racist in my book. What does make a White person racist is if they hate based on skin color or ethnicity, if they use their privilege to keep other groups down, if they perpetuate inequities. Gary Howard says Whites don’t have to continue the pattern, that there are different ways of being White. There is “. . . a choice as White people to become champions of justice and social healing.”
NAVIGATING BLACK CULTURE
Skin too light. Skin too dark. Hair too “good.” Trying to “act white.” Talking too “proper.” These are some of the words, insults, thrown at many young Blacks attempting to grow up and find/make their places in the world. Those who dare to step out of the perceived norm are often seen as disrespecting their group, being an “Uncle Tom.”
My friend Sylvia said, “I was consistently asked by my peers why I talked and acted "so White". I grew up being ostracized more by my own race than anything...at least openly and as far as I knew.” (see Sylvia’s full text in the Comments section.)
Our experiences mirror each others’. Sylvia wrote a book about it. I wrote a poem.
What kinda talk is that
My mother's moon-wide hazel eyes shone
harsh light on my non-standard grammar
We don't say ain't in this house
It's That's not right
And I don't have any
I yearned to please
Learned the code
Knew when not to say Ain't got no
And when to talk proper
Learned double negatives negate
Tacked on the i-n-g's
Precise, equalizing speech
a life-long saleable commodity
She talk white
Like a col-lidge gurrl
She think she bettah den us
Join the conversation. If you send an email, please let me know if it’s okay to quote you in a future blog post.
Thanks. Peace. Love.
~ xoA ~