Dorothy Porter Wesley was a librarian and the founding curator at Moorland-Spingarn Research Center at Howard University. She needs to be celebrated during Black History Month because she challenged the racial bias in the Dewey Decimal System and her work was the foundation for what became Black Studies.
The Holocaust survivor, writer, and Nobel peace laureate Elie Wiesel has died aged 87 at his home in Manhattan.
His words had power. Let’s remember some of them.
Interesting article on Quartz:
“White fragility” refers to white people’s low emotional tolerance for discussing topics of race and racism.
The term was coined by Dr. Robin DiAngelo in a 2011 article discussing her experience with white people in anti-racism trainings. She defines it as “a state when even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves.”
Abe Lateiner wrote a piece shared on Medium.com, “Grieving the White Void.”
He talks about his experience with race and privilege throughout his life, how White supremacy negatively impacts ALL people, how he came to see his personal stake in ending White supremacy as a White person (and it’s not White guilt…White guilt is a step in the process, but it’s not the end-game), and how we must learn to grieve what has happened and live with integrity. He gives examples of what we can all do to end White supremacy.
The Color of Fear is an insightful, groundbreaking film about the state of race relations in America as seen through the eyes of eight North American men of Asian, European, Latino and African descent. In a series of intelligent, emotional and dramatic confrontations the men reveal the pain and scars that racism has caused them. What emerges is a deeper sense of understanding and trust. This is the dialogue most of us fear, but hope will happen sometime in our lifetime.
These concepts are from this PDF from Mt. Holyoke College.
Psychological Costs: Loss of Authentic Sense of Self
- Socialized into limited roles and patterns of behavior
- Denial of emotions and empathy
- Distorted view of self and false sense of superiority
- Discrepancy between others’ perceptions and own, internal reality
- Fears (of doing and saying the wrong thing, of retaliation from oppressed groups, of judgment if reveal true self, of different people and experiences)
Moral/Spiritual Costs: Loss of Moral/Spiritual Integrity
- Guilt and shame
- Moral ambivalence (doing the right thing vs. social pressures to conform to dominant role)
- Spiritual emptiness and pain
Social Costs: Loss and Diminishment of Relationships
- Isolation from people who are different from oneself
- Barriers to deeper, more authentic relationships
- Ostracism from others in own group if do not conform
Intellectual Costs: Loss of Developing Full Range of Knowledge
- Ignorance of other people and cultures
- Distorted and limited view of reality
Material Costs: Loss of Safety and Resources
- Living in a world of increasing violence and unrest (restricted ability to move about freely; increased fear for self and others; limited desirable places to live, work, go to school, recreate)
- Loss of knowledge to foster societal growth and well-being
- Waste of resources (to deal with effects of inequality)
- Loss of valuable employees, clients and customers
- Diminished collective action for common concerns
Benefits of Eliminating Oppression for People from Dominant Groups
- Fuller, more authentic sense of self
- More authentic relationships and human connection
- Moral integrity and consistency
- Freedom from fears
- Improved living and working conditions
- Access to other cultures and wisdom
- More resources to address common concerns
- Greater opportunity for genuine democracy and justice
What would you add to or change on this list? Comment below!
Dr. Joy DeGruy Leary shows the difference between racism by white people and so-called racism by black people (or any other minority group). What are the ways that white racism adversely impacts the lives of black people as a group? Education, economics/employment, housing, policing, health care… Now, what are the ways that black racism adversely impacts the lives of white people as a group?
This extensive post by Jon Greenberg has many links to resources on how to be a strong white ally to people of color. “By ‘curriculum,’ I do not mean a unit of study for classroom use (to be clear: this list is separate from my work in the classroom); rather, these resources, inspired by the #Charlestonsyllabus, are for anybody who wants to learn more from perspectives often underrepresented among many White circles.”
Links to these resources will be added to the United Against Racism – NM Resources page.
There are no doubt complexities that come with White Americans working for racial justice. White privilege can lead to a chronic case of undiagnosed entitlement, creating poor listeners, impatient speakers who talk over others, and people unaccustomed to taking orders. Nevertheless, the movement for racial justice needs more White Americans to get involved. And it’s our responsibility to help each other get involved–and get involved productively. I compiled this list to help White Americans do so.