How do you see yourself, if you are identify as white – even if you aren’t? John Biewen, raised in Minnesota – remembers seeing himself as a ‘normal’ default person in his area. A white person, like most of the people that surrounded him. Believing that the issue of race is something that belonged to someone else; to some other group of people. Being from Calgary, I have to say I did the same thing. There was a kind of cluelessness that existed in the US – and Canada – for many people.
It separates. It divides. It makes us feel safe in a world where being safe seems harder and harder to attain.
Even if racism was frowned upon in your family household, the ‘problem’ of racism seemed someplace else. For those of us who are from mixed race backgrounds, if we look white, we embrace that whiteness, helping us to blend in with the status quo. I did!
In other words, living in a way that actually perpetuates this issue of separation.
Who’s in and who’s out? How many of us hide in plain sight to make living and succeeding easier. Biewen, in his series Seeing White, looks at how someone like Thomas Jefferson supported racist policies, even though he, himself, was not racist. He summarizes this by saying of Jefferson “His argument within himself raged, but his self-interest won out”.
This subtlety of prejudice that has existed, possibly throughout human civilization, is now something that is up for us all.
I, for one, am very grateful of that.
Quote of the Week
““Just as fear of a Black man was used to justify lynching, fear of offending other white women has become the excuse for not confronting the harm white women are doing to themselves in their haste to uphold the limited protections offered by white privilege..”
– Mikki Kendall
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