What White People Should Know

18 Things White People Should Know/Do Before Discussing Racism was written by Tiffanie Drayton & Joshua McCarther in The Frisky on June 12, 2014.

It will be used to start the discussion for Continuing Conversations on Race, set for Monday, July 7, 2014 at 7 p.m. at the Princeton Public Library. Don Stryker and Howard Hudson.

The article opens with the truism that “sometimes White people lack the experience or education that can provide a rudimentary foundation from which a productive conversation can be built.”

Some of the issues are excerpted here. For the complete article, please link to the original.

1. It is uncomfortable to talk about racism. It is more uncomfortable to live it.

2. “Colorblindness” is a cop-out.

4. Reverse racism is BS, but prejudice is not. . . Prejudice is in all of us, but prejudice employed as a governing structure is something different.

9. Realize that segregation is still rampant. Step outside and take a look around your neighborhood. Lacking people of color much? That is called segregation. It is not by chance, though sometimes by choice. About your neighborhood again: Displacing people of color much? That is called gentrification.

10. Programs or initiatives that target systemic racism are not “charity.” We do not refer to the 200 years of free labor provided by enslaved Blacks as charity. . .

11. Black on Black crime . . .There are countless White people committing crimes against White people, but “White-on-White crime” is strangely absent from the rhetoric reporting …

14. Black people are angry about racism, and they have every right to be. Anger is a legitimate and justified response to years of injustice and invisibility…

15. There are poor White people, but racism and discrimination still exists. The plight of the poor White midwest always makes a convenient appearance to deflect any perceived accusation of privilege or to derail conversations of racism. Racist American policy was never about securing the success of all White people, but rather about legalizing the disenfranchisement of Blacks and other people of color.

17. White guilt is worthless, but White action isn’t. Discourse about racism is not meant to stir up feelings of guilt, it is meant to drive people to action against injustice. . .

18. Black people are not obligated to answer the “Well, what do we do about it?” question. Though many of us do and are not heard. The call for reparations in the form of “Baby Bonds” is a great idea. So is desegregating our classrooms and closing the school-to-prison pipeline. These courageous voices are speaking very loudly — it is time to start listening.

Tiffanie Drayton is a freelance writer focusing in race and gender issues and a proud New School University Alumna. Follow her on twitter @draytontiffanie.

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