Uh oh, here comes another uncomfortable truth. This piece will discuss the very frustrating and dysfunctional ways that the average white person deals with racism which leaves non caucasians feeling extremely hurt, misunderstood and alienated.
For the many clueless who don’t know how to handle Racism, because they don’t actually know what it is – please prep yourselves and open your minds.
I think it should be obvious what the deal is by now, no? You don’t have to read if you don’t want to. But the truth needs to be stated if we are going to collectively progress in our ever more globalised world and have sincere, open, honest, healthy post racial interactions.
1. What Racism?
Instantly and vehemently deny that Racism even exists in the world. And of course, go from Mercury to Neptune and back to find some way to justify and rationalise how something that occurred was not racist, but has some extremely logical, reasonable and fair explanation.
Or, they insist that it is all in the non caucasian person’s mind – and she is just making it up or looking to start trouble. Right. Because I have nothing better to do with my life than indulge in my favourite hobby of being the victim of a racist act.
And needless to say, people like this have absolutely no inkling that their lives are soaking in white privilege.
2. I’m Not Racist!
And neither is anyone else that they know, all their cousins, aunts, uncles, and the pet Labrador too. They may even go as far as to apologize for being white. What is with that? An empty apology with no sincere understanding serves at nothing. You remain just as ignorant, and the system continues to be as twisted as it is! And what’s more, nobody is looking for a pity party, just some global consciousness and pure decency and respect.
Furthermore, if pretty much everyone you know intimately is just as white as you are, how will you, or they, ever really know if they are racist or not …without having been put to the “test.” I can’t tell you how many family members and friends I have met who were described as “open minded” and “not racist” who would have put Hitler to shame.
3. Colour Blind
This attitude is rather frustrating because it is not only a sugar coated way to avoid directly addressing everything that comes with being non caucasian in a caucasian world, but also potentially dangerous. There is not much wrong with seeing differences when the energy behind the lens is positive. It is beautiful to respect and celebrate diversity.
But to pretend that “colour lines in society” don’t exist is to be extremely dismissive of all the challenges that come with this very REAL phenomenon, and to absolve yourself of any social accountability. It is too insinuate that we were all born into equal situations – and that it just NOT true. It’s lame.
How can you help an elderly woman cross the street if you “don’t see age”? How can you truly be there for a non caucasian person who faces certain challenges or undergoes certain things that you don’t if your approach is to not even acknowledge their reality? You may claim to not see colour, but society does. And if you truly want to be supportive, you at the very least, won’t be blind to this fact.
4. Play the Token Card
“I have black friends,” “My girlfriend is Asian,” “My child is half black.” These phrases are just so pathetic.
Recognise that you may have black friends , but these same friends may not feel like they have white friends. Yes. You may feel that you all are buddy buddy but they may just be surviving – and their real friends are elsewhere, who wouldn’t say such ignorant things like “I have black friends” as a testimony to how not racist they are.
Note that slave owners had sex with, and also raped, their slaves. Some may have even “caught feeling,” but this did not make them any less racist than there were. Many black woman were made to work as sex workers by their slave owners serving their uniquely white clients. So being romantically intimate with someone of another “race” does not absolve you of racism – by a long shot. The same way that a misogynist has a mother, sisters and daughters and pedophiles have children!
Interracial adoption and raising multiracial children is something that I find to be very delicate. I have known many white people who should just not have been parenting their non caucasian child – because they were just as ignorant and racist as they had always been. The same way having a baby won’t automatically fix the “love” in your relationship or your marriage, having a non caucasian child won’t fix your entire life of societal programming either.
5. You are Racist!
Yes. Quite remarkably, many white people when called out on their racist and hurtful behaviour, choose to respond with the accusation that the non caucasian person is racist. This reaction makes me doubt human intelligence. So you step on my foot and hurt me, however intentionally or unintentionally, and I let you know what you just did and your instant reaction is to say “No! You stepped on my foot!” Really?
And while we’re at it, this reverse racism bullshit is the dumbest thing I have ever heard. Reversing racism just means racial equality. And for what it’s worth, it is extremely rare for caucasians to truly be the victims of racism simply because it they who have the global institutional power!
Yes. This happens more frequently that we realize. The offender, or witness begins to cry in “frustration” because they feel “attacked” and are so “hurt” by the entire situation. From being called out on their racism, to seeing it go down against someone else. And of course, the sympathy card in usually drawn in their favour, leaving the real victim feeling isolated, scorned, weak, severely misunderstood and hurt all over again!
7. Be Cowards
They recognise the injustice for what it is. But since they have a link to the offender, they prefer to let you stew than take on YOUR plight. What’s more, their family, or co-workers or friends may exhibit similar racist behaviour which would just be too much for them to take on. They may give you an “encouraging” pat on the back in private but publicly pretend not to see your reason and blend in with the majority. I cannot tell you how much more respect I have for a KKK member than someone like this.
On the same note, just ignoring racism by never talking about, directly addressing it or trying to make like it; hoping it goes away is ridiculous. There is a reason why the word ignore is in ignorance. And ignorance, not just hate, breeds racism, so you’re just making yourself a part of the problem.
8. Toss in the good old “Asshole”
Oh no…that had no racist undertones, it was just that one asshole. Or no, that was just one asshole in a million, but this never happens ever in the history of life! The good old asshole toss to placate the white ego and bypass confronting the real underlying problem.
9. Shoot off 1000 questions
Oh wow…you think what just happened was racist? I know this black guy that got upset over ____the other day? Why do you think he did? And what do you think about poverty in Africa? And while we’re at it, can I touch your hair? Like really? Make Google your best friend.
No…that is the society we live that you all perpetuate by dismissing acts of racism every time you happen to chance upon them; completely invalidating every experience that we without white privilege have to undergo in our everyday lives.
10. Get over Slavery!
This is my favourite! Nobody was even talking about slavery. We were talking about something racist that happened TODAY. To immediately get defensive and proclaim to the heavens that slavery happened 3000 years ago, not only shows your ignorance on the subject (hence, probably why you are a flaming racist), but completely lacks in common sense when dealing with a personal and isolated incident that involves you or someone you know.
In whatever aspect of life, when someone expresses that they feel they have been wronged, the most emotionally and socially intelligent thing to do would be to ask “why” and “how.” Not immediately get defensive, dismissive or aggressive.
That is immature. This attitude is so negative and shows a complete lack of empathy and compassion. Qualities that are supposed to be very “human.” And racism is a not a black, white issue – it is a human issue! And if you are selective about whom you empathise with, you are lacking in character and wisdom, because injustice to one person, ultimately globally affects us all.
To be able to simply care enough to listen actively and sincerely try to understand where someone else is coming, even when you seem to be at the source of their pain, speaks volume and goes very far. It is always a win-win situation when addressing an uncomfortable situation, like racism, in a positive, healthy and progressive way.
For my non-caucasians who have to face micro-aggression and racism in their lives, with perpetrators that don’t now how to deal with racism that they subject you to, here is how I suggest that we deal with their unhealthy way of dealing with racism.