To White Allies Who Claim They Are Incapable Of Racism, Think Again

To White Allies Who Claim They Are Incapable Of Racism, Think Again

Recognize your racism, correct it, and move on.
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I am very white. I am very liberal. And I am also racist. I have grown up seeing the media misrepresent people of color as gross stereotypes that oppressed them. I’ve been taught by the school system that white people have contributed more to society than people of color. Even at a young age, I’ve held personal prejudices against people of color based on what I was taught by friends and family and even teachers. Am I proud of this? Absolutely not.

Before we begin, I want to clarify a few things. First, this article is not justifying racism. Racism is not acceptable period. Second, this article is not about how I’m okay with being racist. Third, this article is about people who are racist but deny that they are racist. White liberals, I’m looking at you.

As a white liberal, you might feel personally attacked, and my response to that is to just take a moment to hear me out. The most important thing to define is what exactly racism is. According to Oxford Dictionary, racism is “prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one's own race is superior.” While in theory, this definition implies that any race can be racist towards any race, we need to consider the concept of institutionalized racism.

Ever since the Age of Exploration in Europe, through the Slave Trade, and the murder of thousands of Natives in America, to the exploitation of Chinese immigrant workers and Hispanic/Latino workers, to the segregation of Black men and women in the south, to the imprisonment of Japanese Americans- I haven’t even covered a measurable percentage of the atrocities that have been committed- white people have benefitted from the oppression of people of color through centuries of holocausts and enslavement from governmental institutions in the United States.

While you are white and may want to consider yourself an ally for people of color, you must understand that even though you know racism is wrong, you are still capable of it. We were raised in a society that promotes this kind of inequality whether it be intentional or accidental. Being in denial of your racism won’t help the problem.

I will have racist thoughts from time to time. I will say something that is not at all okay. But I recognize what I said, did or thought. I evaluate why I said, did or thought that thing. Then I correct myself. If a person of color calls me out or calls something out as racist, I listen to them. They know racism more than I do and have experienced racism on levels that I will never be able to understand.

I know sometimes it can be scary to admit to being racist. You might think we live in a society that will call out and attack racists, but you have to understand that anything that you experience from admitting your racism and ignorance is nothing compared to the hundreds of years of suffering the ancestors of people of color have experienced. It won’t compare to the hardships a person of color could experience due to race. Or the fear a terrible ally can provoke. Imagine a person you trust doesn’t want to listen to you when you tell them, “Hey that thing you said about me and people who look like me is pretty awful. Don’t do it again.” and they reply, “No I couldn’t possibly do that, I’m a liberal ally. Look at what a great ally I am.” (Disclaimer, I’ve only experienced this as a white woman who has had liberal men claim “but actually, I can’t be sexist as I am liberal and an ally therefore I’m not capable.” I’m going to throw up.)

Like I said, recognize your racism, correct it and move on. And continue being a fantastic ally by sitting down and listening when a person of color says something is racist. If we’re going to get anywhere and try to dismantle the institutions that keep equality from happening, we actually need to listen to our own racism and the people who our oppressed by systems that benefit us.

Cover Image Credit: pexels

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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The Ins And Outs Of Imposter Syndrome And How It Affects Women Of Color

We're taught by older generations that we always have to work twice as hard to get half as far as white peers.

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First things first I want to tell you what Imposter Syndrome is not. I know there are plenty of articles that discuss self-confidence through body image but I can guarantee you that's not what I'm talking about here. That could be another article for another day, perhaps. It's also not just a feeling of "oh, dang, I could've done that better" or "I wish I'd done that differently." It must also be noted that this is less of an actual disorder and more of a condition if you will.

What Imposter Syndrome actually is is feeling like nothing you accomplish is actually worth anything and that everything you've achieved is because of luck, not because of the work you put into it. It's always feeling like you're going to be exposed or found out for not actually being as intelligent or successful as you seem or as you say you are.

But how does this manifest in everyday life you ask? Well, of course, I am here to provide some examples.

Whenever I have a project due in one of my journalism classes, I make sure to listen to the instructions when it's being introduced. I always go back and read over the syllabus when completing my projects. I take the tips and tricks into account. I follow all of the guidelines I was given and I always try to put my best foot forward. Yet, I still always feel like I'm doing everything incorrectly or that I'm forgetting something. I feel like no matter what my professor is going to hate it and I'm going to get a bad grade.

Or it can manifest as whenever I try to apply for a job I have a hard time describing my skills or past work experience because I feel like I haven't really done anything relevant. I also don't really feel like I have many skills if any. I always remember that someone is going to have more experience or a better portfolio or a better resume. Whenever I remember that it can leave me feeling inadequate and like I don't belong. Like everyone else is a hireable employee and like I'm a poser.

I think this has a lot to do with the fact that, as a woman, you're socialized to put other people's needs and wants before your own whether that be celebrating other people's accomplishments or helping other people bounce back from failure. But you never really gain the skills to be that same support for yourself, at least not without years of work and undoing the internalized misogyny you've faced. Also because we've been socialized this way it can leave you feeling like you don't deserve anything good because the people around you haven't gotten there's yet. And that can be extremely difficult to break through.

As for people of color, because we're taught by older generations that we always have to work twice as hard to get half as far as white peers, we're always so used to exerting so much energy. But the moment you actually get recognized for your hard work can be jarring because you might feel like you weren't working as hard you could be and don't deserve it. Or that you got lucky this time but soon everyone is gonna find out the truth and you're gonna be exposed as a fraud or an underachiever.

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