So, you want to talk about race?
If you are one of those folk who tell others not to talk about politics, or that racism no longer exists, then you probably won’t want to read this article… Despite the fact you are the very type of person who should.
In both the USA and the UK, and much of the world if we are absolutely honest, there is still an on-going issue with race. People of colour are disproportionately affected by the power imbalance created by centuries of systemic oppression. We have yet to evolve, learn, and grow, especially when many white folk bury their heads in the sand and do their best to ignore the obvious racial prejudice that permeates their own culture.
This book ‘So You Want To Talk About Race?’, is wonderful for two reasons:
- Although it is really focused on the USA, white people from all over the world can read it to try and understand the nuance of racial issues.
- Unlike comments threads on the internet, there is no arguing back. The reader is forced to listen to the voices of people of colour, and absorb and understand instead of reacting defensively and thoughtlessly.
Check out 5 fantastic, mind-opening quotes from the book that are guaranteed to make you think. According to Bustle, it is the book every white person should read.
“When somebody asks you to ‘check your privilege’ they are asking you to pause and consider how the advantages you’ve had in life are contributing to your opinions and actions, and how the lack of disadvantages in certain areas is keeping you from fully understanding the struggles others are facing and may in fact be contributing to those struggles. It is a big ask, to check your privilege. It is hard and often painful, but it’s not nearly as painful as living with the pain caused by the unexamined privilege of others. You may right now be saying ‘but it’s not my privilege that is hurting someone, it’s their lack of privilege. Don’t blame me, blame the people telling them that what they have isn’t as good as what I have.’ And in a way, that is true, but know this, a privilege has to come with somebody else’s disadvantage—otherwise, it’s not a privilege.”
“1. It is about race if a person of color thinks it is about race. 2. It is about race if it disproportionately or differently affects people of color. 3. It is about race if it fits into a broader pattern of events that disproportionately or differently affect people of color.”
“Tone policing is when someone (usually the privileged person) in a conversation or situation about oppression shifts the focus of the conversation from the oppression being discussed to the way it is being discussed. Tone policing prioritizes the comfort of the privileged person in the situation over the oppression of the disadvantaged person. This is something that can happen in a conversation, but can also apply to critiques of entire civil rights organizations and movements.”
“Bear witness. If you are a white person and you see a person of color being stopped by police, if you see a person of color being harassed in a store: bear witness and offer to help, when it is safe to do so. Sometimes just the watchful presence of another white person will make others stop and consider their actions more carefully.”
“I know that it’s hard to believe that the people you look to for safety and security are the same people who are causing us so much harm. But I’m not lying and I’m not delusional. I am scared and I am hurting and we are dying. And I really, really need you to believe me.”