February 12, 2010

Anti-racism vs. human relations

Over at Restructure!:

"Anti-racism is not human relations programming"
White people’s conflation of antiracism with human relations programming explains why liberal/left-wing white people admire white people who speak about racism against people of colour, yet disapprove of people of colour who speak about racism against people of colour. A white person who speaks out against racism is seen by whites as placating people of colour and telling people of colour what they want to hear. If the goal is to prevent the “race war” scenario, then human relations programming works towards that goal, and a white antiracist symbolizes peace. However, a person of colour who speaks out against racism is seen by whites as antithetical to the human-relations-programming interpretation of antiracism, since this person of colour may incite other people of colour to riot and ignite the “race war” itself. Hence, white people generally perceive the person of colour who brings up racism as being “racist” and as a symbol of disharmony.

At EdChange.org:

"So You Think You're an Anti-Racist?"
The Base Shift: Human relations programming --> Social justice activism

Food fairs, multicultural nights, and diversity festivals are fun events that may bring people together temporarily. But do they contribute to eliminating racism? The most anti-racist shift for white people is to understand that confronting racism is going to be uncomfortable, difficult, emotional, and painful. So why do we put so many resources into human relations programming? Who might we be trying to protect?
Stuff White People Do: dismiss those who point out racism for being "white guilt" mongers
"White guilt." Please help me with this -- what is up with that term, anyway? And why does the phrase so often come from opponents of anti-racist efforts? What feelings are they expressing when they say that? And why is it a phrase I almost never hear from people who oppose racism? If you get accused of being a white-guilt pusher, how do you respond?

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