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White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism - Book Discussion Series

Author: Sally Hendrick

With protests happening this summer across the United States around racial equality issues, Shout Your Cause focused on education and discussion of tough topics, such as racial inequality. "White fragility" is a phrase that Robin DiAngelo based her famous book upon, and I wanted to explore its chapters to see what this concept was about. It helped me find a deeper meaning behind our country's racial divide.

Shout Your Cause Founder's Story

In case you don't know, I am a white woman who grew up in rural West Tennessee. White privilege is written all over my face, as we had well-to-do lives with housekeepers, cooks, and college educations. More on that will come in later posts and projects.

I always had this feeling that my life was meant for something more, something beyond the scenarios that played out with my family and peers in a small town with a strict delineation between black and white neighbors.

Shout Your Cause Facebook Group Members

From July to September 2020, we had 5 meetings to discuss the chapters of White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism by Robin DiAngelo. We, being my Facebook group members, a small, intimate group of diverse people who want to do better and understand each other in this world. I truly had an opportunity in front of me to have these hard discussions, but something ate at me throughout this book exploration:

None of my group members who identify as people of color came to these particular discussions.

In fact, I received messages from 2 of the members who felt that the world was just too heavy at the moment for them to be able to participate. So instead of having the privilege of their presence, I am humbled to give them the gift of knowing that those of us in the meetings, us white people, appreciate and love them and are on a journey to keep learning and progressing.

❤️❤️❤️ We are here for you and love you! ❤️❤️❤️

White Fragility: Chapters 1 and 2

I took copious notes as I read each chapter, so in addition to the videos of our live, raw, online meetings, I am including my notes, messy and all, below the videos.

 

White Fragility: Chapters 3 and 4


 

White Fragility: Chapters 5 and 6

White Fragility: Chapters 7, 8, 9 and 10

 

 

 

White Fragility: Chapter 11 to the end

 

Notes from Chapters 1 and 2:

Denying our biases means that we won’t do anything to examine them. Saying “I’m color blind” is considered obtuse because you’re not acknowledging the experience of someone who is black or of color. Individualism says that our fate is in our own hands, that we have the ability to create whatever we want in life for ourselves. Yet without examining the same experience, same work ethic, or situations of our peers, that each of us faces, we are already exuding bias. As a white person, have you ever feared that you would soon die at the hands of a police officer? Racists are perceived as mean or immoral due to historic narratives. It’s offensive to be called racist when defined in this way. It’s racist to generalize things, right? To ignore someone’s individualism. So let’s redefine the word. Are there racial dynamics I can’t see, am I willing to look at that? There’s discomfort in not knowing. We can only grow through discomfort. What does it mean to be white? Chapter 2 Biology of race. There is no biology beyond genetics similar to eye color differences. There are only social divisions between race. That’s where the ideas were born. Jefferson looked at scientists to prove race differences. Economic interests drove race science. Hypothesis was inferiority by race. They asked why? Not if? This was used to support unequal treatment. Exploitation came first to pillage resources....then racism was born from this, saying that enslaved people were black because that’s how the chips fell when White people exploited blacks. They created what race was best suited for instead of blaming the conditions put upon them. That’s systemic racism. Race was asked to be classified in the late 1600s. Then late 1700s it was added to the census. This was then further added to carve out native Americans. To have citizenship had to be white classified. This was something held up in court. So to be white had to be proven in court, as was with the Armenians who proved they were Caucasian with scientific witness. Japanese went to court to be claimed as white, but they were struck down and classified as Mongoloid. Court rules against Asian Indians were not classified as white even tho they were scientifically classified as Caucasian. Court said people already seen as white got to decide who else was white. Those people were given citizenship. Immigrants from Europe were melted into the pot. Irish, Italian, and polish were excluded. Later they assimilated due to speaking English, looking white. They “passed” as white. We can’t deny these privileges for being born looking white. Poor and working class whites stepped up to dominate blacks to create a sense of upper classism, to not feel oppressed themselves. With this status, they ignored the richer white people by feeling more important than blacks. There’s shame in being poor, but being knowing that you’re white and poor and better than being black. We gain info in society by what we observe as a group. This births prejudice. To not be prejudiced means that you’re unaware of self. It’s not a bad thing. But ignoring it is denying it, we get defensive, and we resist new thinking. Our unease comes from absorbing erroneous info about others or categorizing people into prejudices. Structures of oppression go beyond individuals. Women as a group can’t deny men their civil rights. But men could. They controlled all the institutions. Men had to grant suffrage to women. They couldn’t get it for themselves. 1964 it was granted to Black women when all blacks were allowed to vote. Ideologies make sense of social existence. They are defended. A meritocracy. Those who don’t succeed are considered incapable, rather than understanding where they stand in societal institutions. Black people cannot discriminate societally against White people, like stopping from someone from buying a home in a neighborhood. In the US white people have the collective power over black people due to historical societal norms born out of slavery. The segregation’s are increasing, not decreasing. If you stand close to a bird cage, looking at the bird thru the wires gives you an unobstructed view. Then turn your head to look at one wire, and the other wires cannot be seen. If you always look at the bird or one wire of the cage up close, then you may wonder why the bird just keeps jumping around and not moving out further into the world. It’s not until you step back from the entire structure of the bird inside the cage that you can see how the wires come together to form a pattern that the bird cannot escape. Because these interlock, most birds can not escape. Individual understanding of one wire or two wires makes us believe the bird can escape those obstacles, but they aren’t seeing all the wires. I know why the caged bird sings. White privilege. ^^^ We face barriers as White people. We all have our own wires. But we do not have the added disadvantage of racism put upon us. White as norm. Black as deviation. White people can’t understand racist ideals because they’ve never experienced it. Explore what it means to be white. Jackie Robinson, the first black man allowed to play baseball. There is an assumption that he was so good that he broke the barrier. But he didn’t. There were plenty of others just as good. His white allies were given economic incentive to advocate for him, which was a gift he was given, not a position he was allowed to earn. White history is implied. It’s the norm. That’s why black or women’s history are recognized separately, as they were outside the norm. The black person must be given permission to have the same as white people due to historical and societal norms. Just like each state has its own rights, it’s own situations to handle, every state has a governor. But when it comes to race, black people do not have their own representation unless they assimilate and behave white. White supremacy pops up when people with those thoughts use it to oppress black people, to create power. It’s inherent in countries with history of colonialism. These groups bring discomfort to whites who are not supremicists. They are offended to be lumped in with them, and that is what stops continued discussion. White people stop the convo, refuse to get uncomfortable, and progress stops. 2016-2017 most powerful Top 10 richest Americans 100% white Congress 90% white Governors 96% white Top Military advisors 100% Us house freedom caucus 99% White House cabinet 91% TV show deciders 93% Books we read 90% News 85% Music 95% Movies 95% Teachers 82% College prof 84% Prof football owners 97% Power and control of image and interests. Media representations are how we accept the world, how we view it. Most whites do not live within view of blacks. White men control movies by 99% and are in control of how other races are seen and viewed. Biased representations. Black people have tried to assimilate to be noticed and accepted. Southern strategy: how to appeal to racism of white southern voters. 1954 b word. Pre 1968, you’d say n word. After 1968, couldn’t say that, so you say forced busing, states rights, cutting taxes, all economic. By product is black gets hurt worst. Coded language. White supremacy is what our nation was built on. Naming it makes it visible, and requires white people to create the change. Full weight of responsibility is on white people to make the change. Did your parents race didn’t matter? Did they know people and spend time with them? What images did you associate with other races neighborhoods or schools? Who went to good schools or bad ones? Why did you live in diff neighborhoods? Why? If someone was bused, who? Did you sit together in cafeteria? Why not? What about teachers? White or black? Which races were geographically closer to you? If you live segregated, how do you make sense of integrated schools? If so, you’ll segregate socially too. Race is encoded in geography.

Notes from Chapters 3 and 4:

Chapter 3
After civil rights

Color blind racism.

If we don’t notice race, we dismiss the abuse blacks have been subjected to. Slavery. Lunch counter sit ins. Police brutality. Now that discrimination is illegal, the treatment of Black people has been moved to our systems. This reduces MLK Jr’s work to expose the truth.

If you can’t see race, then how can you identify racism? If You can’t challenge racism, it will persist in those who do hate Black people. If you deny color, you deny the colored experience.

We can’t change what we refuse to see.

Racism changes over time.

All systems of oppression are adaptive.

Same sex marriage and disability allowances. Systems of oppression are deeply routed.
———
Aversive racism.

Educated people exhibit this. It’s under consciousness. Subtle and insidious. “I have friends of color and judge by character not skin color”. Rationalizing that our workplaces are white because black people don’t apply.

White family bought home for $25,000. Said needed a gun. Had bought in black neighborhood. Not naming race as the factor was denying it. New Orleans. When confronted, Narrative changed to “don’t want you to live far away” and denied had anything to do with being black.

White people perceive danger when thinking of black people.

Whites rarely consider how sheltered their experience is. We believe we are superior. We have to deny it to fit into society.

We can’t challenge our racist filters if we deny they exist.

People say that if someone is a good person, they can’t be racist.

——
Chapter 4
How does race shape the lives of white people?

We don’t need to know our history in order to survive. Black people do. If they don’t have the learnings of their past, they have no means of survival.

Belonging. Born white gave us healthcare at white hospitals. Black people were not allowed and only had care when a white doctor stepped up to help or black midwives and herbalists took care of them.

Sally’s contribution:
Today white people are given better care, lawsuits are often waged by white people using white lawyers against hospitals and doctors for money to cover medical. Black people are less likely to win cases, as they are presumed at fault even when they are not.

White people belong racially in the US. Majority. Role models abound. Rare moments of not belonging racially are surprising. Black people are not given this opportunity. White people are warned of all black neighborhoods, situations, etc, as if to be the minority is scary. We don’t normally ever have to think about this, so it’s harder for us to understand the black experience.

George Zimmerman would not have stopped a white boy in a hoodie. He assumed Trayvon Martin was up to no good with his skittles and tea.

At work, the white person is assumed qualified. The black person is assumed it was a token hire and has to continuously prove him or herself that it was not.

Racism is not a white person’s problem, it seems. Without having any responsibility of recognizing it empathetically, then it doesn’t exist to them. This creates an inequity in policy and systems when the unaware white person is in charge of create the rules and regulations.

Sally’s note:

Think about how this pertains to women’s issues. When a man designs a tampon, he sure as heck better be consulting a woman. He cannot possibly understand beyond an image or chart how it should be designed ergonomically.

Saltly’s note:
When someone designs a computer to put the camera at the bottom of the screen instead of the top, whoever buys that computer ends up needing an extra camera, so that the person doesn’t show their open nostrils to the world. That’s a design flaw of someone who didn’t think from the perspective of the user.

If white people don’t concern themselves with the black community’s perspective, then they are inherently exuding racist tendencies. Not intentionally, but systemically.

Idaho example of aryan community when taking a black friend to a lake in the area.

When you describe someone of color, do you name their race? That’s racist.

Do you consider Toni Morrison a writer or a black writer? Do you go to her writing to get the black perspective? Do you ever refer to her a simply a writer when looking for inspiration to support a theory or idea?

What about beauty? Scientific racism influences this.

White solidarity

To protect white advantage. To not call someone out for something they do that is racist, to make an excuse for them. Requires silence.

To break solidarity is to break rank. To stand out. Dinner table cringeworthy convos where we keep silent to avoid conflict. Party racist joke example. Workplace racism. Career threat. We are censured when we stand up. Social coercion to be liked or promoted. When you keep quiet about racism, you’re considered a team player. Stand up? You’re criticized, ostracized.

Sally: reminds me of women speaking out about sexual abuse in the military. It’s complicity.

When we fail to hold each other accountable, that’s silent racism. Silence is violence.

The rape of black women for the pleasure of white men.

Indentured servitude. Chinese exclusion laws. Japanese interment. Sharecropping. Inferior schools. Biased laws. Mass incarceration. Cultural erasures. Attacks and mockeries.

White washed history excuses these things, dampens them. White history is easy to know. Black history is hard to acknowledge. But not, means we are excusing it and dampening it to make us feel better.

White elite have distributed wealth towards 8 men who have the same amount of wealth as 50% of the world’s population.

2015 Sri Lanka $82 billion
Iceland 16 billion
Luxembourg

180 countries have less wealth combined than top Us companies.

Diverting blame to immigrants and poor people from the white elite is messaging that has caused White flight, bussing, brown v board of ed. White kids were not 🚌 to black schools. Always opposite. Always inconveniencing the black population.

White positions are considered universal but they’re not.

White racial innocence.

We position ourselves as innocent, sheltered from race. Black people learn about racism via policies to keep them out of neighborhoods. Black people have to talk about race on white people’s terms. They have to take the steps, not us, thereby putting on the outside of the convo. White flight is turning our backs on black people.

Assumptions made that black people cause crime (based on fear not reality). Researching crime stats does not prove they’re any more dangerous but the perception remains.

Look at crimes. Same things white people are dismissed over put POC in jail. White person blames others, situations, gets leniency. Black and Latinos are not given same compassion of external situations and are assumed animalistic by nature. Blacks feel less pain is a notion. Our whiteness establishes innocence. It’s a major advantage. Must be acknowledged to render it meaningless. Otherwise we dismiss it.

Expectation that Black people have to solve it is racist in itself and makes us “innocent” inherently when we should be actively trying to change it. It requires nothing of us if we don’t participate.

If we do not try to gain trust

Segregated lives.

Most segregated moment is high noon on Sunday.

Real estate lobbyists keep black people in the ghetto.

Black people are required to go to schools that ignore black history. Textbooks.

Whites choose segregation and have economy to do so. Classification of good versus bad neighborhoods is always based on race. Same with schools. We are seldom encouraged to build cross racial relationships.

Upward mobility is a goal that gets whiter as it’s achieved.

Urban and poor grow up in rental based neighborhoods. To get out means moving to whiter spaces. Not maintaining past relationships. Not encouraged to stay connected. Improvement meant leaving POC behind.

Advantage is past down generation to generation.

2009 study, suburban parents say they choose based on test scores when reality is that it’s based on race.

POC talk about how painful it is to attend a mostly white school. The stress is considerably more.

A white person often see that life is full when they have no diversity. They have no experience or knowledge of what they’re missing. They assume they lose nothing, but this perpetuates this message of white segregation being good and diversity being bad or unnecessary.

It contributes to lack of understanding, exempt from racism, lack of interest in other perspectives, wanting immediate solutions that often take deep work and lots of time. It’s a complete denial.

We are raised to believe the absence of color is a good thing. It’s a white washing that ignores it, dismisses it, and perpetuates the problem.

We internalize this.

It’s our responsibility to understand how this shapes our perspective and responses when confronted with racial disparity issues.

Notes from Chapters 5 and 6:

Notes from Chapters 5 and 6:

He’s not a racist. He’s a nice guy.

Good bad binary.

You could not be racist and good at the same time. This is the sentiment after civil rights. 

Racists always perceived as southern.racists were mean, old uneducated whites.

Racist equals bad, prejudiced, mean

Non racist is good, educated, open-minded, northern.

Deflecting the charge over reflecting behavior.

Account for how it has manifested in our own lives.

Not limited to individual acts. That’s white defensiveness.

If we look at it as binary, and we say we are good, then we take no responsibility and will not be able to think critically about racism.

If you feel hurt by an accusation, then you are responding with white Fragility, white feelings and associating racism as bad. Thereby not allowing yourself to examine it critically and objectively.

Ape in heels response. Mayor of a VA city responded in like. Taylor was suspended. Apologized she wasn’t racist. Got her job back.

I don’t see color.
Values diversity. Knows people. Has fond regard for.
Therefore I’m free is racism.

Good bad binary.

Color celebrate

Embraces racial difference. I work in diverse environment. Have husband kids of color. We live here for the schools. I was in peace corps. Africa missionary. Diverse school and neighborhood.

I lived among the __ people.

How does this claim function In the convo?

Blind or celebrate. All exempt person from responsibility for. Take race off table and close further discussion. Protects racial status quo. No change can happen.

If because you work with a POC means you are hot racist, are you saying anyone working near someone of color isn’t racist?

It’s not possible to teach someone to treat people the same. Human beings are not objective. People have diff needs.

When you say this, it gets eye rolls for your white denial.

Compare to gender roles. You can’t deny they exist, so how can we ignore racial differences in culture.

Whether you deny it or not, you still experience White privilege.

Many black people dont share their experiences because they get shut down in convos with white friends. If the White person denies the diff experience, they’re allowing it to happen and allowing it to be ignored and continued in status quo.

How many white marchers in 60s had relationships with black people?

I was the minority at my school, so I experienced racism. Define it as a fluid dynamic based on ratios. Race prejudice is not racism. Clarify the definitions.

Race has nothing to do with it.

Binary says you’re choosing good versus bad. If speaker understands it’s how we are socialized then they know the conflict cannot be free of these ideas of racial difference.

Race is always at play even in it’s supposed absence.

Am I actively seeking to interrupt racism and how do I know?

Chapter 6

Anti blackness

White people as a group must be discussed no matter how uncomfortable. It interrupts individualism and takes individual blame from a person. But then it also groups us together and that can offend people, so that they deny racism exists.

Messages are difference per group. Native Americans, Asians, blacks, whites. Japanese V Chinese.

Do you think of stereotypical profiles when you see a black person? Or hear a story? We absorb these throughout iit lives.

Depict black as dangerous. This was on purpose to characterize them this way. It creates an inferiority and superiority between races.

Affirmative action.

People believe that black must be hired first or specific number must be. Not true. It’s a tool to ensure applicants are given same opportunities without quotas. Just opportunity. Whites women have benefited the most from AA.

The requirement to show or justify not hiring a POC has not been enforced.

It has been obliterated, yet white people still bring it up. White leadership groups tout this angry response.

When a white neighborhood reaches 7% black, White people start moving out. Gentrification.

We see anti blackness with harsher treatment. Imagine white kid with toy gun being shot.

James K Polk traded slaves from the Oval Office.

Black man torture. Black woman rape.

My grandmothers hands.

Trauma

We dehumanize them so our mistreatment ig them is righteous.

Opiate addicts are pitied White people.

Crack addicted are criminalized black people.

White collective hates blackness because we are capable and guilty of what has happened.

Belief that blacks are inherently undeserving. Demonstrated in NFL kneeling.

Black advancement instills white rage.

Blind Side

Whites as racially benevolent. Charity case scenario. Popular with white audiences. No black characters go against stereotypes. Poor black kid. Sports hero. Drug addicted mother. Siblings with different fathers. Gang approaches him. Rescued by white woman. White suburbia saves the day. Developmentally disabled appearance but he’s passive and has low IQ for learning but top IQ for protective instinct. It’s not a measurement.

When younger kid teaches Oer, he can’t understand game and tells him to pretend to protect family member. He becomes unstoppable. White kid negotiates his contract and oer is mute.

Reinforced dominant ideologies. Whites save blacks.

These whites are noble or superior. Black neighborhoods are bad. White are good.

Whites do not go to black community with other than charity. Black doesn’t save white. God’s will. He was more profitable and value able to white people because of his sports talent.

Notes from Chapters 7, 8, 9 and 10:

Chapter 7

White Defensiveness. When it’s brought up, we get defensive rather than considering the situation. Deep cultural legacy of anti black sentiment. Few courses address White privilege. Wording is based on disadvantaged blacks rather than advantaged whites Common white response is guilt, anger regression when racism is brought up. Racial insulation. We get offended and push off the convo. Field. Location:situation where someone is. Capital: social value and perception of status Power shifts depending on where someone is. Example of office worker and janitor. Habitus is position occupied by person. When social cues are unfamiliar, we strategize to regain balance. It’s not a conscious response. It’s created by learning over time. Min amount of racial stress triggers defensive moves. Argumentation, silence or exiting. —— Teacher Story of one calling student girl. Other teacher complained you can’t say anything anymore Lacking knowledge. Didn’t ask perspective. Wasn’t concerned about feelings. Intentions versus impact. Teacher was arrogant. He used incident to increase racial divide instead of lessening it. Self image, control, white solidarity. Chapter 8 Karen is talking over Joan. Joan offended. Karen says she’s extroverted. Joan not used to being talked over by White people. Katey gets offended and exits as if she’s been treated unfairly. 55% whites say they’re discriminated against yet much smaller % has experienced it. Whites receive little advice or instruction in racial tensions and how to handle it. Unnamed and denied, it’s not a part of our learning. Completely opposite for black people. Taught to avoid situations, to protect themselves from perceptions. Helen Mirren. White innocence. Avoids challenge and exits convo. Victimized, slammed, attacked. Self defense. Companies say trauma occurs with white people having to recruit diversified workforce. It caused them to pause efforts. Whites think black people are dangerous or violent. Just talking about race makes them feel threatened. Shows their weakness. White people become incomprehensible when confronted with discussion about race. Lack of discussion perpetuates the problem. Instead of taking on the challenge, white people feel attacked or accused. Permission to escape or avoid the challenges is privilege. Bullying. White women will cry. White people make it miserable to confront them. It’s a defense mechanism to bully the challenger. It’s a form of white racial control. Challenge to white power and control. Response is to maintain the power and control. White Fragility is more than defensiveness. It’s the sociology of dominance. Not applicable to other groups. What would it be like to get feedback, consider it and work to change it? It would be revolutionary. Can’t get there with a dominant world view. Chapter 9 WF in action. No one of color hired in 17 years at school. Other teacher said you’re trying to take away our jobs. Being white, Robin can say things that would not fly in a group of diverse people. Alone, white people will be more receptive. They have to be abstract though and not point out individual examples in the room. Such as pointing out dismissive behavior. German woman. Messages in childhood of Africans. Did she watch American films? What about years in US? Growing up in Germany did not preclude her from receiving racist views. Challenged as being exempt from racism because of her citizenship. White people feel singled out, ashamed, accused, outraged. We behave with crying, leaving, withdrawing, denying, avoiding. Saying you know already exempts from further discussion. All this is what shutting down the convo does. Age as an excuse. Knowing black people. Having black friends. None are excuses to stop the convo. Replacing convo with sexism is a way to deflect. If i am a good person, i can’t be racist. How i am perceived by others matters more. Blocking ability to repair, fans divisions. That protects racism. Chapter 10 WF and rules of engagement Only terrible people can enact racism. Conceptual ideal. Makes it impossible to engage in dialogue that leads to change. Righteous indignation. 1 White people rules: 2 No feedback 3 Proper tone 4 Must be trust 5 Our relationship must be issue free 6 Feedback immediate 7 Give feedback privately 8 Indirect. Directness is insensitive 9 I must feel safe 10 Highlighting my racial privilege invalidates my experiences of other types of discrimination. 11 Allow me to explain myself until I’m right Playing the race card is another manner of deflection. Without allowing feedback, we can’t make progress. Intention Vs impact. Excuses behavior even when impact is damaging. If intent wasn’t there, that can’t be an excuse for the impact and we must take responsibility for it. To be made comfortable erases the opportunity for progress. Developed skill to be able to have these discussions. Stopping our racist patterns is more important than denying we have them.

Notes from Chapter 11 to the end:

Chap 11 White women’s tears Terrorism in history of black men tortured because of white women’s tears When a white woman cries, a black man gets hurt. Emmett Till story Unaware white racism All attention goes to white woman when she is confronted with a racist situation. The black people are ignored. White men show up with dominance, speaking first, last, most often. Arrogance. Playing devil’s advocate. Full of answers. Outraged with reverse racism. Race card accusation. Correcting others. Explaining it away. All to reassert their dominance. Racially inequitable systems are comfortable for White people. Tears from white guilt are self indulgent. Black people only allowed to have feelings for sake of entertainment. Abused daily. You are sad but we are beaten. Hard to take a white woman’s tears over her feelings. Blacks supposed to be stoic and strong. The men who love us. Not all women deemed worthy of recognition. White women have been primary beneficiaries of affirmative action. White men save wh women. As if they are targets of harm. People of color are abandoned. We must ask how our racism manifests, not if. Chap 12 Black woman was offended by dismissal of her survey. Didn’t want to discuss woman’s hair. Asked to be model for feedback in public. If we get feedback from black people, that means there’s a level of trust there. White comfort maintains the racial status quo. Discomfort is required. It is not unsafe however. Thinking it’s unsafe is something only white people attach to it. Racism hurts and kills black people every day. We should be willing to interrupt it. More important than our feelings, ego, or self image. We should be willing to: Minimize defensiveness Demonstrate vulnerability Demonstrate curiosity and humility Allow for growth Stretch our world view Ensure action Practice what we preach Build authentic relationships and trust Interrupt privilege protecting comfort Interrupt internalized superiority What has enabled you to be an educated adult and not know what to do about racism? POC have been telling us for years. Not educated. Get educated. Don’t know anyone of color? Get to know. No one around you? Find someone. Our institutions would change if we were actively pursuing. Taking initiative. Break with our conditioning. Figure out what we can do. Seek out answers. Demo you care. Imagine go to dr and get diagnosis. Dr gets interrupted. You go home without info. You would research like crazy to have as much knowledge as possible. You’d care enough to get informed. Why not with racism? Do your homework. The Repair Steps to address our own racism: Process reaction with another white person for reassurance. Process with someone who will not let you slide. Vent feelings to safe person. Return to POC. Ask to meet. Ask permission. Do not focus on intentions but in effect of behavior. This generates a genuine apology. Don’t accuse other of being sensitive. Acknowledge the effect. Ask questions. Accept feedback. Apologize. Move forward. Not looking for perfection but ability to discuss and repair. White people don’t often do this. Makes the relationships not as close. Books, films, docus. Our own lack of interest or motivation is the issue. Live integrated life and pay attention. Feedback is tough in the beginning. But with practice, or gets easier. Getting feedback from POC is a step in right direction.

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