Saturday, June 19, 2010

A great (if not new) resource about Liberals and white privilege

I know this isn't new. But, I think this blog post from Alter Net (see link below) could be a good resource for those of us who are trying to figure out how to talk to our progressive/liberal white friends/colleagues about race. The 10 misunderstandings described here are all too frequent, and the more we can get our minds (and speech) wrapped around why they are problematic the better.

White Liberals Have White Privilege Too! Ten misunderstandings white liberals have about race

Good luck as we keep trying to have these courageous conversations!

For the sake of transparency...A main prompt for this post arose from a really close friend of mine who is engaged in important work around prison justice. There are many, many good-hearted white people involved in these efforts and their dedication is both profound and appreciated. AND, it seems that there are many people of color who really need those of us (white people) engaged in this work to see the ways we bring our racial selves to the table...and this often means we have to learn that we do indeed have a racial self and that it often comes with socially learned habits of mind and action that (although subtle to us white folks) are really damaging to the people of color we are trying to work with.

Hopefully resources like this can help us prompt each other (and our friends/colleagues) to look more deeply at ourselves without defensiveness, so that we might learn how to better do our work with one another.

Best wishes as you continue on...

9 comments:

  1. Dear Shelly,
    Hello, there, Shelly! Thank-you so, so much for providing the link to this right on target article by Alex Jung! He is quite right about very many things in this great, truthful, and accurate article. I like how he said it is important that white people ask themselves, "Am I antiracist?," versus, "Am I racist?," for this is a very important distinction and proves to be a delicate and tricky balance in words that can have a very subtle and different meanings. Also, I like how Jung says the personal is even more important than the political. Jung's succinct and cogent article brought to my mind my a lot younger self, when I was working through the hurt and anger I felt from racism and discrimination which I experienced when I was a lot younger, and how I used to (I don't feel this way anymore or say this anymore) say and would be so frustrated at how I thought white liberal persons I knew back then just didn't get it and were still racist. Jung hit on so many great points that are very accurate. I must say, though, that I have processed and continue to process what hurt and racism and discrimination which I have faced when I was a lot younger, and even in my current life. I have healed and recovered, and I continue to grow, and my former anger and hurt has softened, and my heart has softened and healed over all of these years. I am much more patient and understanding toward white folks, and I have such love in my heart for them, and where I am at now in my life, I have made an active choice and commitment to be sure to not give up on white people, even when they make honest mistakes, or even worse mistakes. I am actively and strongly choosing to work with white people as the black/African-American woman who I am, and to see the good in them, and the great potential for good, and how they are hurting people who can indeed recover and heal from their racism and overcome their white privilege, but that this is a lifetime recovery and process, and that I truly believe it is normal to make mistakes along the way in this lifetime journey. I will for always have faith in white folks, and for their great need and potential to be whole and to be antiracist, and I will for always be patient with them, and not give up on them, no matter what, such as I dearly and deeply love my white women sisterfriends who are in my life, and who are like family to me, we are very, very close! I have such hope in and for white people! I no longer say and feel the frustration I formerly had when I would talk about "white liberals" back then, and I am now seeing the very humanity of white people, like in a spiritual kind of way.

    Shelly, I as always as usual for always am so encouraged and heartened by your witnessing whiteness in your Radical White Community among other white folks, and your advocacy and being the true sister who you are as an ally to all people of color! I thank you so kindly and so dearly for all you do, Shelly! I just know somehow how hard you work on a day to day basis, and you do such productive work! I am so inspired by you, true sister Shelly, and all of our other super white antiracists! You, Shelly, and the others for always give my such more of an increased faith, hope, and optimism! Thank-you, thank-you, Shelly, so, so much! Blessings so, so much to you for always, Shelly!

    Sincerely always,

    Sherry Gordon

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  4. Please feel free to use portions of this post, link, cite, however you feel you can support others.

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