Questioning Myself (#meandwhitesupremacy)

I mentioned in a previous post that I am working on the #meandwhitesupremacy workbook. I’m starting Day 3 today. I just wrote all the questions into my notebook and I will begin the journal entry later when I have more time. First I wanted to write this small reflection on how I’m doing so far.

I recognize that I, along with everyone else, am socialized into white supremacist thinking. I know I’m not exempt from any of the prompts that come up. However, I feel suspicious of myself when I feel like a question doesn’t apply to me. I know my experiences are unique and that this is a possibility to me, but I wonder if I am not being super honest with myself. Or, if I just the type of person who see other people as people.

About a week ago I was sharing some very old school work with my oldest daughter and I came across some class photos. I grew up in Southern California, and the schools I attended had a diverse student population. I befriended everyone, regardless of sex or race. I never thought “I’m not going to play with that person because they’re (race) (or their skin color).” That just never occurred to me. At the same time, there were people I didn’t like, but their race/culture had nothing to do with it. People are just people.

20181209_114657909807766.jpgMy third grade class.

I did have color-blind racism inside me as I grew older. I knew people of different races had their own cultural practices, but I also have had the thoughts like “I don’t see color” (which is totally ridiculous btw because it erases the experiences of minoritzed populations).

I think this workbook is more geared towards anti-racist beginners. All these topics I have read about before, by black women, whether in articles or on Twitter. I have that knowledge under me and I think it skews my perspective on how I could be answering these questions.

Day 3 is about Tone Policing. Never in my life have I ever said to anyone “I don’t like the way you’re talking about racism” (as far as tone/rhetoric goes) and walked away. Never.(*see below) Part of that reason is because as I got older (I moved from CA when I was 9), my parents moved to predominately white communities. As I got old enough to have these conversations, they didn’t happen because I didn’t have people of other races around me. And if I did, we weren’t talking about racist issues. That is part of my white privilege: I got to avoid these conversations in my young adult life.

However, I have witnessed these things online since joining Twitter and following Black people. It is crazy the way people will talk to Black people because they dare bring up race. I try to collect my people when I can, and I definitely try to engage in those people who just don’t have enough knowledge to see how they’re upholding racist values while claiming to be non-racist. It’s hard work. People hang on real tight to their white supremacist way of thinking. It’s so deeply embedded in all of us. It’s the reason ANTI-RACISM isn’t more prevalent.

At any rate, I will have things to write about for this journal entry, but I did write “never” next to a couple of questions such as “How often have you walked away from race conversations because you didn’t approve of the tone being used?” *Never. 1. I haven’t experienced it in person, and 2. I would never think to tell someone who is talking about their terrible experience that they aren’t using the right kind of ‘civil’ talking. You think people should be civil and respectable after they get shit on? That is so ridiculous. Fucking ridiculous.


*Upon further reflection, this statement is incorrect. I do remember a distinct time where I did walk away because I didn’t like the way someone was talking about it. This occurred when Donald Trump got elected and I first started following a Black woman anti-racism activist. The details of this will go into the journal entry, but I needed to clear the air that my “never” statement is wrong.

I think it’s important to not delete this entry and keep it on record that white supremacy is embedded even in the most good-intentioned people. I knew I was right to question myself, and I’m glad I did. I’m glad to have it on record that even when I think I’m not wrong, I am. White supremacy is a hell of a thing.

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