March 10, 2010

Anti-Racism for Progressive White People

How White Liberals Became a New Racial Minority
What I find fascinating, however, is how much the new racial conflict surprises white people. Specifically, white liberals. I remember six or seven years ago, I never used to see eye to eye with white liberals. Even though they were sympathetic, they still had an underlying faith in the American system that would drive me crazy. They wanted racial problems to be solved, but they believed that if you just patiently dealt with the structures that existed ­ circulate a petition, apply for a grant, get out and vote ­ the planets would realign and the system would change for you. I always felt, deep down inside, that those efforts were ultimately futile. When you're branded as a racial other, you know that every court is a kangaroo court, every election an exercise in fraud, every grievance process a sham performance. It used to be, before the Clinton impeachment, that white liberals would find my cynicism off-putting. They would find me cold. Ultimately they would feel that I wasn't giving them or their ideals a chance. Partly, these impasses came about because white liberals wanted to believe that white people were good at heart, and if they were presented with sound logic and a real chance, they would be tolerant.
Tiffany, Friend of People of Color: White Investments in Anti-Racism
In the struggle to keep whiteness off-center in this essay, I violate several scholarly practices. Not only have I not framed the issues in terms of a review of the literature, but I have specifically avoided offering implications for practice. I have also troubled the scholarly preference for linearity and foundationalism. Educational journals generally look for a seamless text in which each paragraph either builds on a previous paragraph or follows a predictable path (as in the APA introduction-method-results-discussion format). Because I want to underscore the whiteness of our desire for safety, blamelessness, and certainty, I have avoided laying a foundation and building on it. Instead, I have organized the paper in terms of the constellation of places to which we as white teachers and students continually retreat; in effect, I have tried to follow the white reader and myself to those places of retreat.
The White Liberal Conundrum
Anti-racism is a rewarding but grueling journey which must be consciously undertaken and intrepidly pursued (both inwardly and outwardly) if one hopes to make serious progress along its twisting passageways and steep inclines. There's no static end-condition at which an anti-racist can arrive and definitively declare, "Hallelujah! I am Not A Racist!" Rather, it's a lifelong process of historical education, vigilant self-interrogation, personal growth, and socio-political agitation. Racism fractures our world and our own intactness; anti-racism seeks to proactively treat these bleeding wounds and restore the integrity of our humanity.
Why I hate white "anti-racists"
Good heavens! Don’t those black people understand that they should be grateful that a Well Intentioned White Woman like Rankin has come to tell them what racism is all about? Because she knows it more intimately and has a deeper understanding of it as a white person whose life has been affected by racism.
Black People Love Us!

No comments:

Post a Comment