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Member since: 2002
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White people assume niceness is the answer to racial inequality. It's not

Robin diAngelo

While most of us see ourselves as ‘not racist’, we continue to reproduce racist outcomes and live segregated lives

I am white. As an academic, consultant and writer on white racial identity and race relations, I speak daily with other white people about the meaning of race in our lives. These conversations are critical because, by virtually every measure, racial inequality persists, and institutions continue to be overwhelmingly controlled by white people. While most of us see ourselves as “not racist”, we continue to reproduce racist outcomes and live segregated lives.

In the racial equity workshops I lead for American companies, I give participants one minute, uninterrupted, to answer the question: “How has your life been shaped by your race?” This is rarely a difficult question for people of color, but most white participants are unable to answer. I watch as they flail, some giving up altogether and waiting out the time, unable to sustain 60 seconds of this kind of reflection. This inability is not benign, and it certainly is not innocent. Suggesting that whiteness has no meaning creates an alienating – even hostile – climate for people of color working and living in predominantly white environments, and it does so in several ways.

If I cannot tell you what it means to be white, I cannot understand what it means not to be white. I will be unable to bear witness to, much less affirm, an alternate racial experience. I will lack the critical thinking and skills to navigate racial tensions in constructive ways. This creates a culture in which white people assume that niceness is the answer to racial inequality and people of color are required to maintain white comfort in order to survive.

An inability to grapple with racial dynamics with any nuance or complexity is ubiquitous in younger white people who have been raised according to an ideology of colorblindness. I have been working with large tech companies whose average employees are under 30 years old. White employees are typically dumbfounded when their colleagues of color testify powerfully in these sessions to the daily slights and indignities they endure and the isolation they feel in overwhelmingly white workplaces. This pain is especially acute for African Americans, who tend to be the least represented.


Led Zeppelin - Bring it on Home Live

The Who - Won't Get Fooled Again (Live at Kilburn 1977)

Nothing on reality TV is real, is it?

"Hey, Girl..."

"I was wondering if you had an extra heart. Because mine was just stolen!"

Although I'm very heartened by the reaction on the Net to Trump's racism...

In the back of my mind, however, I know that the people who are on the net only represent a portion of the nation. It's not everybody.

There are people out there who aren't being heard at all, and a lot of them are motherfuckers who support Trump, not only in spite of what he says, but BECAUSE of what he says.

And they're going to vote for him next year. There's nothing that he can say that will stop them from casting a vote for him. We can't delude ourselves into thinking that he's turning off his voters with his own rhetoric.

I don't care how badly he's doing his job as president, my biggest fear is that he could be reelected. And polls, polls that say he's trailing behind Democratic candidates? I don't care about polls. I really don't trust them.

My worry about the fate of this country is the fact that I know that it's pretty much full of reprehensible assholes who are brainwashed to hate people of color. They fear us and they're being fed a steady diet of that fear from the most powerful office in the world. There's mini-series on SHOWTIME, "The Loudest Voice," with gives us a step-by-step demonstration of that very brainwashing. It's scary shit, because it still continues to work.

These are people who KNOW that they shouldn't express their racist biases in public, but many of them will verbally attack people for speaking in languages other than English, will call the police on black people who have the temerity of basically existing within their proximity, will cheer the caging of human beings, will disregard the deaths of children in custody, will tell people who have only known a life in a America to "go back where they came from," they'll be triggered by the slightest push back against white supremacy and will vote for Donald Trump because he's a racist.

He expresses what they're afraid to express. To these people, his expression of racism is what makes him an American. And in a way, they're not wrong. Because America was founded on white supremacy and the entire narrative of this country has always been the struggle to overcome what America was founded on.

They want to turn back the clock. "Make America Great Again" has always meant "Make America White Again."

They are willing to justify Russian interference in our elections and our political process. They'll do it because that interference helps to elect Trump. It helps to keep Republicans in power, when demographically, they're actually representing a political minority.

They will invent enemies in their own heads, because it justifies all of their biases. They will defy logic, because logic runs counter to their beliefs.

A significant portion of the government is made of of irrational people who cannot be reasoned with.

What we must do is transfer the outrage against this incompetent and corrupt, demagogic fascist running the country into the ground into activism and votes.

And it's going to be a hard fight to win, one that we cannot fail TO win.

Because GOPrs will cheat in other to remain in power, through gerrymandering and suppressing the vote. They will turn a blind eye to the Russians helping them. They will attack our diversity, which is our strength. They will mitigate the white supremacists who openly support them and they will attack any Democrat who tries to protect the sovereignty and dignity of egalitarian American existence. They will justify selectively racist the abuse of defenseless people by government agencies. They will smear people of color with racist tropes. They will deny that they are racist.

They're cult now, The Republican Party a cult of personality that's been devoid of American principles for the last forty years.

These people represent an existential threat to the nation.

So, all I'm asking is, who of you can talk me down here? Am I making too much hay out of this scenario I've painted?

Please let me know.

Yeah, you can't get any more 1980s than this:

"Is there a picture yet?"


What a vicious attack by a wild animal

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