June 10, 2020

Don't let the words distract you from the work



Equating racism with hate is a red herring for white people. (Or maybe just liberal "enlightened" white people.)

Making hatred the defining characteristic of a racist person allows white people to disengage from the exploration of white privilege and implicit bias.

I’m going to go out on a limb and wager that the majority of the people I know and love don’t actually hate anyone based solely on their race, ethnicity, religion, weight, sexual orientation, physical abilities, or socioeconomic status. 

(Maybe some of you do hate people based on these attributes. Then I guess this post isn't for you. And we shouldn't be friends.)

It’s easy to think that, because you don’t “hate” anyone or you’re not “mean” to anyone, you can’t possibly be contributing to racism.

You may not hate anyone, but if you’re white, you still benefit from a system of institutionalized racism that discriminates against people of color. 

You may not hate anyone, but you are part of a society that, from textbooks to news media to movies tells – at best – an incomplete and stereotyped story of the lives and contributions of POC and – at worst – a completely false and dangerous story.

Study up on white privilege, read about implicit bias, acknowledge your defensiveness when you hear the words "hate" and "privilege," listen to the experiences of POC, and find ways to take tangible action to break down the systems and policies that put nonwhites at a lifelong disadvantage.

If you want to put the focus on love and kindness, please also remember to focus on personal responsibility for self-awareness and action.

And if you don't feel that the words "hate" or "privilege" apply to you, keep listening, reading, and studying anyway. Don't let the words distract you from the work.


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