57 thoughts on “How does racism harm white people?

  1. Fear, ignorance and resentment are not healthy emotions to live with, but they also are hard to trace to their origins and not nearly as damaging as racism is to POC. Isolationism is also a bad thing, for families, for individuals.

    However the benefits of racism to white people trump the nebulous side effects, so we really do not have enough motivation to do enough about it. My primary motivation comes from my kids, and I am sorry to say that before they came along, I was not motivated or active enough against racism.

  2. Reasons why white people should care about racism:

    1. What goes around, comes around. We all live in the same society. I don’t understand what makes white people think that the social ills that our actions (or inactions) are actively maintaining in the ghettos aren’t going to come around and bite us in the ass one day, too. It’s easy to maintain the illusion that these are “their problems” in an all-white enclave, I suppose, but social ills like increased crime (and abusive and untrustworthy law enforcement) and the economic/social marginalization and geographic isolation of a huge chunk of our population WILL affect white people’s standard of living too. How can having such a huge number of Americans (predominantly young, black, male Americans) not have an effect on American society as a whole?

    2. On a personal level, as a white woman, racism hurts me because I can never look in the mirror and say to myself “I earned and deserve my accomplishments.” Every victory is slightly hollow for the reason that I don’t know what percentage of my accomplishments are due to my own actions, and what percentage was simply due to white privilege.

    3. On a similar note, I feel like my country doesn’t represent the values that it claims as a foundation – fairness, justice, equality of opportunity. I grew up believing in these values and internalizing them – I was ashamed to discover that the real America is so far from the ideal. I’d like to be proud of my country.

    4. In middle school, I was attacked by a girl who was frustrated with white people in general and was looking to vent that frustration. Imagine – in seventh grade – a 12 year old girl is already so fed up with the unfairness of a racist system that she would go after someone she barely knew. White people can’t be the victims of reverse racism (i.e. the girl who beat me up does not have the systematic power to deny me a job, etc.) but individual whites may still reap some of the consequences of what a racist system sows (see point #1).

    5. Systematic racism has created a climate of interracial distrust and suspicion. It’s a sad truth that I had far more friends of color as a 5th grader than I do now – and I’m hardly the exception to the rule. Many white people I know have expressed “discomfort” interacting with minorities, without realizing that it’s the racist system they (consciously or not) maintain that generates their discomfort.

    Obviously, there are more, but that’s all I’ve got for 9:13 a.m. on a Monday. Thank you for all the good work you do with this blog. America needs more voices like this.

  3. Under comment 1, I meant to say “How can having such a huge number of Americans IN PRISON not have an effect on American society as a whole?”

  4. i agree with sue on this – there’s a whole lotta ways that racism hurts white people, but none of them remotely compare to the ways that it hurts black and brown people.

  5. How does racism harm white people?

    It induces them to shut themselves off from millions and millions of people, some of whom might make them think, some of whom might make them laugh, some of whom could be best friends, lovers, teachers, business partners… Racism drastically limits the world for the people who subscribe to it.

    And I say that with not the slightest inclination to disagree that it’s nothing compared to how racism hurts people of color — because racism is primarily hurtful to the white people who make the choice to practice it.

  6. Wow, that’s a good question.

    How do you explain the feeling of knowing Iraqi families and young American soldiers are dying over in Iraq in a bloody war of aggression? I’m not over there, I’m not killing anyone, I don’t even know any soldiers or Iraqis. Yet it hurts every day, it hurts personally. I’m not hurting the way they are, the Iraqis, the wounded and twisted soldiers. But it hurts every day. How do I explain that?

    How do I explain the feeling of knowing good people are being treated badly, wondering how our society would be blessed and improved if those with real abilities and talents were given a fair chance to contribute to society, wondering if the mess we are in today would be any different, would there be more cures for diseases, better teachers, would we have a wiser culture, more art, more love and laughter? Wondering and never, ever knowing, because that chance has been robbed from us all. How do I explain that feeling?

    How can I explain the damage done from ignorance and hatred? I see it all the time, I see the damage to everone that comes from racism, xenophobia, sexism, why does it hurt me, why does it make life almost unbearable sometimes, when I am treated well enough, I am not discriminated against?

    If it is true that we are all made from the same stuff, that we are all connected, then it’s like having one’s eyes put out, one’s ears stopped, one’s heart always broken, having a chronic sickness, knowing one is always incomplete, never having any real union, that’s how it hurts.

    I don’t know if this answers your question. I tried to look into my own heart as to why witnessing racism gives me such feelings of pain — it was difficult to come up with words to accurately describe what I saw.

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  8. I’m deffinately not a racist in the least bit, but may I ask why the question singles out white people?

  9. It harms white people because, well, . . . . gosh it affects white people as much as the african americans. White people can be offended by the remaarks blacks makes against white and i’m not the prejudice one. I love people of all colors. i wasn’t brought up to see colors!!! dangett!

  10. Racism/white supremacy kind of looks like a mental health problem to me. So it has to be harmful to the people who have the condition.

    I’m not saying that white supremacy harms white people more than it does the victims. I’m only saying that it looks like a sign of really poor mental hygiene.

  11. Institutionalized racism (which denies power and access to resources to non-white people, while simultaneously denegrating and scapegoating them for “society’s problems”) does hurt white people and should be important to everyone. I am shocked that a room full of white people could not give one reason why.

    I am a white woman who grew up with racial and economic privilege. Waking up every day to an awareness that my privilege comes from a deeply-rooted system of social injustice is a painful thing. Feeling a huge disconnect with people in my community is a painful thing. Hearing the testimonies of friends and strangers alike who survive racism everyday is a painful thing. Seeing racism in advertising and other media that damages the self-esteem of children in this country and everywhere else is a painful thing. Feeling the resentment of strangers because of our different experiences in life, because of a system that is huge and overwhelming, makes me feel powerless, frustrated and very sad.

    My family gives me grief when I correct their racially insensitive comments or language, saying I’m too PC. I tell them that their views affect my friends and their families, and therefore it is personal to me. If it is personal to me, it might become something comprehensible to my family.

    I had a professor in college who responded to the idea that non-oppressed people cannot understand or aid the cause of oppressed peoples. He said that this idea extremely limits and underestimates the powers of human empathy. He also said that if this idea is true, the world is f***ed.

    White people must start with empathy and exposure. They must walk into situations of racial tension with humility and not defensiveness. White people cannot experience racism the way other people do, but they can feel the pain it causes others and be grieved.

  12. I just had a thought–while reading comments on this and the “what white feminism looks like” post, where a few commentors are quick to point out that this is how the RICH not the WHITE live (begging the question: how many rich brown celebrities have adopted white kids from poor but intact families and can be photographed on cell phones with white maids pushing their foundlings around?)


    If you had asked how classism harms rich people, I would have been dumbfounded. Yet I was quick to give a psychological way in which racism harms white people, because I guess I wish it did.

    But if being rich does not harm the rich, then it might be logical to conclude that having white privilege does not harm whites.

    So….that leaves with more of an “I got nothin'”

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  14. It can be alienating.

    And I say this as a mixed daughter of a white father, who to this day has difficulty relating to me through my ethnicity. He prefers to think of himself as colourblind, so things related to race that are difficult for him to hear simply get laid aside and forgotten — which means that, to a degree, a big part of who I am gets laid aside and forgotten. And that’s hard, and is among the reasons why we are no longer as close as we were when I was a child and still thought of myself primarily as white.

  15. Though it is certainly true that racism’s impact on whites is far less than that on people of color, there are several serious injuries to whites (call it “collateral damage” for lack of a better phrase) that come from white supremacy and privilege. The ones already mentioned are good ones, but here are some more:

    1. Racism and white privilege/supremacy have served to trick working class white folks (the majority) into believing their interests were racial rather than economic/social, etc. The whole history of whiteness as a concept was created to divide and conquer class-based coalitions of Europeans and Africans in the colonies of what became the U.S. Instead of providing decent jobs, land and working conditions, the elite extended skin privilege to euros, no matter how poor, so as to get them on the “white” team. After these benefits were created (the right to own a little property, to serve on slave patrols, etc), rebellions diminished greatly. The divide and conquer worked. In the civil war, this same race privilege and identification with the elite on the part of working class and piss-poor whites led them to go off and fight to maintain rich folks’ property interests in slaves. Ironic, since the slave system actually undermined the wage base of working class whites (think about it, if I have to charge you a dollar a day to work on your plantation but you can get someone who is enslaved to do it for free, guess who gets the gig?). Then in the early days of the union movement, white labor leaders elevated whiteness above class interests by barring folks of color from their unions (supposedly to maintain the “professionalism” of the working class). This meant their unions were smaller, weaker and less militant, to the detriment of working people everywhere. So, historically, white privilege and racism against people of color has created an alternative form of property for whites (whiteness) which may pay psychological dividends, to be sure, and material ones too in a relative sense, vis a vis people of color, but which comes at the direct expense of their overall well being.

    2. Racism and white privilege/supremacy generates a mindset of entitlement among those in the dominant group. This entitlement mentality can prove dangerous, whenever the expectations of a member of the group are frustrated. Principally this is because such persons develop very weak coping skills as a result of never having to overcome the obstacles that oppressed folks deal with every day and MUST conquer in order to survive. SO, as a result, it is the privileged (the beneficiaries of racism, and also, it should be pointed out, the class system) who are ill-prepared for setback: the loss of a job, stocks taking a nose-dive (who were the folks jumping out the windows in the great depression–not poor folks and folks of color, but rich whites who couldn’t handle being broke!) Likewise, if you look at the various personal pathologies that tend to be disproportionate in the white community (and upper middle class for that matter) they are interesting in that they all are about control–controlling one’s anxiety, emotional pain, or controlling and dominating others–like suicide, substance abuse, eating disorders, self-injury/mutilation, serial killing and mass murder (as opposed to just regular one-on-one homicide), sexual sadism killings, etc. Now, think about it, which group would be most likely to manifest a control pathology: the group that had never been in control, or the ones who always had been, and had long felt entitled to be, but who then had their expectations frustrated and snapped. Think Columbine (and the vast majority of the mass murder school shootings, for that matter–Va Tech was an exception to the rule on these things).

    3. Not knowing how the world works is dangerous. White privilege and racism allow the dominant group to live in a bubble of unreality. Most days that’s no big deal I suppose. But every now and then reality intrudes on you and if you haven’t been expecting it, the trauma is magnified. So, when 9/11 happened, millions of whites were running around saying “why do they hate us?” because whites have never had to see our nation the way others do–we’ve been able to live in la-la land. But folks of color didn’t say this, because those without privilege HAVE to know what others think about them. Not to do so is to be in perpetual danger. So whites flipped out, and by virtue of being unprepared, pushed for a policy response (war) that folks of color were HIGHLY skeptical of from the beginning. But whites, enthralled by our sense of righteousness (itself a manifestation of privilege), pushed forward, convinced that the war in Iraq would go swimmingly. How’s that working out?

    In other words, racism and privilege generate mentalities and policies that are dysfunctional, even deadly for whites as with folks of color. Folks of color are the first victims, to be sure, and the worst. But as someone else said, what goes around…

    There is more I could say here, but these are a few of the key points I try to make when speaking about these issues, and in the re-write to my book White Like Me.

  16. “The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice.” MLK

    One day they are going to find themselves as the “other.”

  17. Yep, it’s been updated, revised, extended and vastly improved. There’s a new chapter on denial, lots of new stories in the existing chapters, (some of which replaced old ones that I didn’t think made the points quite as well), and an epilogue on Katrina and New Orleans. It should ship to stores by late November.



  18. BUT, racism doesn’t only have to do with remarks directed to black people. It envolves white people too.

  19. The question does assume that there is never any anti-white racism. A question that would better express the original intent is “How does white racism harm white people?”

    I would think that the primary way racism of any sort harms the racist is that it is bad to be a racist. It’s bad to be bad. It’s bad for you, not just because it has bad consequences but merely because it’s bad to be bad.

    But there are all sorts of bad consequences of racism on those who are exhibiting it. One is that much of what’s excellent in the culture that surrounds us, including things racists appreciate and rely on, is due to those racism harms and victimizes. So there’s a kind of inconsistency in any kind of racism that names things as bad in the person one isolates as “other” and therefore bad. It’s bad to be inconsistent, because it’s irrational.

    Also, we’re all morally and socially interconnected, and harm toward an entire community of people is thus harm toward an entire segment of humanity, and we’re all part of humanity. Thus harm toward other human beings of any sort (including racism) is thus harm to ourselves inasmuch as we are all human. Crimes against humanity are crimes against ourselves.

    It’s only after all that that I’d bring in things like how our lives will be better off externally when we interact in a moral way with those who are different.

  20. I contrast racism with meritocracy – that is, treating people on the basis of some bona fide measure of merit in lieu of race. So, when do I as a white person benefit from a lack of meritocracy, and when do I suffer from it?

    As an applicant to med school, meritocracy may hurt me; I may benefit if racism gets me in the door past other more qualified applicants. As a patient, however, I want my doctor to be the most qualified person available; to the extent that racism prohibited the most qualified people from becoming doctors, I (and all other potential patients) suffer. Now, let’s count the number of white people who are med students, and the number who are patients, and decide whether on balance racism helps or hurts white people.

    As a building contractor, meritocracy may hurt me; I may benefit if racism gets me a bridge-building contract that otherwise would have gone to some other, better builder. As a member of the public, however, I want bridges to be built on time, on budget, and to stand up over time; to the extent that racism impeded the best builder from building a project, I (and everybody else wanting to use the bridge) suffer. Now, let’s count the number of white people who are in the bridge building business, and the number of white people who cross bridges, and decide whether on balance racism helps of hurts white people.

    When Jackie Robinson joined the Brooklyn Dodgers, he probably displaced some white player who otherwise would have gotten on the team. And Robinson won a lot of games. On balance, is a white Dodgers fan – even a racist one – happy or sad for this development? On the other side of the coin, is a white soldier who is stuck in Iraq – even a racist soldier – happy or sad that Donald Rumsfeld, not Colin Powell, got to manage the occupation of Iraq?

    I know this seem too obvious to say, but Gary Becker got a Nobel Prize for saying it: Everybody benefits from excellence – yes, even white people. Everybody suffers from incompetence – yes, even white people.

  21. Death, who said you owed minorities something — other than justice? What specifically do you not owe?

  22. Racism and socio-economic classism run parallel. It is sometimes hard to make a distinction between the two nevertheless they have impact on everyone. I do dream of a place and time where our differences are ignored. It’s when I wake up from dreams that I can’t believe this is my reality. I think George Carlin summed up some American sentiment quite nice for those who wish for a better America,”The problem with the American dream is you have to be asleep to believe it.”

  23. To not see the world as it is, to constantly misperceive, compromises our (whites’) integrity every day.

  24. Race as a social construct has a negative impact on both the majority and the racial minority. This negative impact can be seen in many areas, especially in our educational system. The class lecture supports this negative impact on education, for example: If a white student and a black student both get a “C” on an essay, the teacher would approach each student very differently. The teacher would tell the white student that he or she could have done better and they are disappointed. This will cause the white student to work harder, and in the end receive a better education. But in some cases there is an unfair bias with the white student and the white teacher. The teacher will not grade the white students paper are tough as she will grade the black students. This will mean the white student will not have to work as hard and therefore in the end he or she will receive a poor education. The teacher would tell the black student that the “C” that it was a great grade, and that they couldn’t believe that the black student did so well. This causes the black student to not try harder at a better grade because they feel as if they should be satisfied with that “C”. Also in most cases the teacher will assume that the black students work is not very good and will grade it a lot harder. This means that the black student will have to work twice as hard as the white student to get the same grade.

    There is not only a negative impact of our racial social construct on both the majority and the minority, but also on society as a whole. One of these negative impacts would be well qualified people not being appointed to a high position in society simply because of their race. The society would then suffer because the less qualified white man was appointed. We discussed this in our class lecture, and an example of this would be: A well qualified black man running for president of the United States and he loses the race to a less qualified white man only because he was black. Now the whole country will suffer under a president who does not have as good of leadership skills as the black man did, or maybe the black man had a universal health care plan, and now the society will still have millions uninsured.

  25. It leaves them clueless. Dying and never knowing how much more they would have enjoyed life if they could have seen past their own color. I often get asked why I married a black man. I always tell them, “I’m married to a black man?” Wow!!! I have so many more options than they do. Why do we never allow ourselves options?

    White people don’t believe it hurts them…..come on. Most of them don’t even think they are. That’s because they never really reflect on what they say or do. They have “friends” that are black…but let their children bring one home as their significant other and see their mood change.

  26. Justice,
    I agree with you wholeheartedly. White people who claim that they are “not racist” say some of the most racist things…and they don’t even realize it. It’s not blatant…like some ignorant redneck. It’s more frightening. They actually think they are not racist but their thoughts and behaviors tell a different story.

  27. Kim: your #2 hit home to me—thanks. I’m white, and any pride that I feel toward my accomplishments is always tempered with shame and guilt knowing that I achieved them through priviledge. That is not a great way to live (although I’m certain it doesn’t suck as much as being on the receiving end of racism).

    Tim Wise: some of what you said makes sense, but your #2 seems a little off to me. You seem just to be repeating a stereotype—white people are priviledged but frail and childlike (“la-la land”?); Black people are oppressed but wise and strong in spirit. See the Eloi in H.G. Wells’s “The Time Machine”. Beware of anything that seems so simple. The idea that white people are more likely to “flip out” or suffer more from certain mental illnesses is very likely due, at least partly, to a reporting bias.
    Furthermore, wealthy people, who are disproportionally white in this country, are more likely to be diagnosed with mental illnesses for obvious reasons (money to go to doctors who diagnose such things). And furthermore, the doctors themselves can be subject to racism—for example, there is a stereotype that Black people are “tough” and therefore can’t possibly suffer from things like depression (see the article “Black girl, interrupted” in Bitch magazine #31 2006, which unfortunately isn’t online…But basically if I remember correctly she talks about how hollywood has given the impression that only glamorous young white women suffer from mental illness, and how when she went to several doctors seeking treatment for depression they doubted that a Black woman could really be depressed).

    And for your #3: I don’t like “Black people said this..”, “white people said that”.. Treating an entire group of people as through they speak with one voice and have exactly one thought is one of the hallmarks of racism. After 9/11, there were also Blacks calling for war and whites not calling for war. How do you decide which of those multitude of voices you are going to attribute to “Black people” and “white people”? You pick the ones convenient to your thesis, and neglect the rest as exceptions. Sound familiar? (It occurs to me that maybe you don’t actually believe what you wrote, but just wanted to make white people here understand what it’s like to be reduced to a stereotype. If that was the intention, great job…)

  28. lady cow, i was struck with your statement that you feel guilt about your accomplishments. i don’t know if that is really how white racism hurts white people, to me, it’s that white racism closes peoples eyes to the damage and hurt they cause, and turns white people into cruel zombies.

    i feel good about myself. i think a lot of white people spend too much time focusing on their accomplishments and struggles. to me, it’s isn’t about that, and that actually gets in the way of discovering the true nature of white racism, the structure of double standards and impact of that point of view on the lives of people who aren’t white.

    now matter how rich you are or how accomplished you are, if you are a person of color, you will be treated to a different standard with a negative impact on your life.

    we learn racism from the images and messages from birth onward, it’s a mental disease that puts white people to sleep. even if we open our eyes just a little, it will probably take a lifetime to undo the images and messages we have absorbed.

  29. Racism effects white people only if they are immigrants. What I’m trying to say is that people who come from Europe, through forced or willful immigration, do not come with racist ideologies and steretypes that white American culture holds. By being exposed through culture and main stream media, these immigrants learn what is acceptable and what is not: in America, this being that it is alright for a white person to be racist and to hold such ideologies. The negative effect of racism on white people, or immigrants from Europe whose children will be the next white American generation, is that it furthers this conditioning of a racist mentality that they had not had coming to the country to begin with. Yes, they might be less than keen to assimilate but that would only be due to not being in familiar conditions. They might hold on to their national heritage and practices but racism furthers this idea that it is okay for whites to be on top and to have a larger gap before you hit minorities and sadly even a larger one before African-Americans come into play. At least, that was my understanding from a semester of Sociology at Loyola University.

  30. White people are harmed by racism because their judgmental attitude towards others that they perceive to be different and inferior, keeps them from forming healthy relationships outside their limited socially acceptable group.
    White people are harmed by racism because they see certain people as inferior and through this develop phobias about other people outside their limited socially acceptable group. The stereotyping of non-whites by whites creates a divide or a hierarchy with whites on top but fearful of being toppled by those they suppress.
    White people are harmed by racism by their own negativity they live with and project.

    I can’t think of other examples at the moment, but this will suffice for now.

  31. hi Kathy: you say white people focus too much on their accomplishments. I don’t know if this is true or not; “white” isn’t any particular culture or ethnic group so white families don’t necessarily all have the same stories. However, one thing we have in common is that our families came here voluntarily, generally because they were poor and wanted more economic opportunities. So the first generation was achievement-driven, and they passed that onto their kids. (I’m 4th generation, so I have some memory of how this works).

    Also, people of my generation—the children of 60’s civil-rights era white liberals—can’t really take any pride in themselves or their “culture” (we are the generation that has had diversity pride fairs and anti-racism trainings since kindergarten; whose parents chose schools specifically for their high proportion of students of color. Shame is the strongest feeling we have about ourselves and our families.). So the only way we can find to feel personal pride is through accomplishments. But then we learn that our accomplishments are not really accomplishments, but more of our own insidious racism, another example of our great shame. And again we are back to hating ourselves.

    (Hey anti-racist white people: don’t raise your kids to hate themselves! Kids who hate themselves don’t make good anti-racists. Actually they don’t make good ANYTHING. Teach them to love themselves first. Then when they have that down, you can tell them about all the horrible things their people did. Then they might be able to listen and care, and they won’t grow up to be angry and self-absorbed).

  32. i dont think that is fair because if a black person be’s racist to us, we dont cry or tell on you, but if we be racist to them, they cry and tell on us. also their government run for equal rights, but now they have more than us

  33. [Hi, my whole long post was chock full of WHIB’s, but here’s the absolute best one: “Im 100% not racist (my husbands black) and i read so much stuff like this and i can see how it would turn a color blind person into a racist one.”]

  34. American society as a whole is “racist” towards caucasian people. The ethics on race (comments, facts, support, what ever) for white people are so extremely outregous, it’s amazing to me that people do not see it from this side. As a white male, there are many things I connot say. It’s not that the things i say are untrue but that the true things i say point out the superiority of one race. When we look at facts and statistics like those of number and percentage of whites in college and in prison, compared to the number of blacks and hispanics in college and prison. Now, me just stating the facts that there are more blacks and mexicans in prison than college that makes me a racist! Even though it is the truth and all im doing is telling it with no oppinion! Blame the statistics on the “RECIST WHTE COPS” and “The racist judicial system” for being unfiar and imprisoning people of color for no reason. Could it be true that maybe more people of color comit crimes? Face the truth, everyone is given a fair and equal opportunity. Statistically White people are better. I would love to write more and hear your oppinions.

  35. Jeremy — would you care to cite some facts on societal (institutional) anti-white racism? So far you’ve supplied the “comments” part of the equation but are suspiciously lacking in support and facts. Yes, there are more blacks and Mexicans in prison than college. There are also more whites in prison than in college. That’s because there are more men of all races ages 18-75 than ages 18-22.

    Please cite a source for where you have heard a non-white person saying “resist the white cops.” And, actually, black and Hispanic people do get arrested and imprisoned disproportionately for crimes white commit disproportionately — for example, “whites comprise approximately 70 percent of all drug users” but as we ll know they aren’t the majority of those imprisoned for drug use — http://www.lipmagazine.org/~timwise/TypicalWhiteDenial.html (Tim Wise citing the Center for Disease Control) See, when you actually have facts you see that white people aren’t “statistically better” and in fact not everyone is given a fair or equal opportunity.

  36. The question has got to be a joke…?

    Racists like the individual posting this ridiculous question harm everyone, including white people. You make me sick.

  37. Why refer to the skin colour in your question? Racism is racism no matter the colour. It is all in the breeding. I even know of blacks experiencing black on black racism, although they choose to call it zenophopia. Racism is too complex to explain singularly and to ask a simple question calling for a yes or no answer is the same as asking do I believe in a god!

  38. I am pleased to see this question posted and attempted to be answered here.I asked myself that quetion recently and i was so surprised to see that this is one aspect of slavery and racism that has not been addressed.When we address the issue of racsim we only look at the angry or a mistreated black man.And then the pathetic white teeming in fear of the reative black colective.But i see a greater hurt than just the white man’s fear of retaliation.I see the dehumanizing of the whites in aworst way than was done to the blacks.I see the abject blacking of the souls of the white man to have tought his own chidlren the hate and heartlessness that was necessary to maintain slavery institution is unimaginable.They were actually turning their hearts and the hearts of their kids into dark pits.So while they scorned the black skin of the negro they too were just as black or blacker on their insides.How does one convince himself that a man that breaths,eats,sleeps,laugh,love have chilren and hurts just like u do is is not human is unconscienable…while at the same time climbing a tree risking life and limb to save a cat or a dog?That is why i do ot refer to slavery as slavery but as the COLONIAL HOLOCUAST.

  39. Have you ever wondered why America has not come out in any real convincing way and APOLOGIZED for slavery and racsim?Because White Suprimacy is the glue that held the economy and the society together.White people were united in the cause of oppressing the blacks for economic gains while at the same time creating that social fabric which was the scape-goat or the evil in the empire aganist which the people could unite and fight.Thats why racism still pursits in the strong way a does in America.It still is the subconscious ralling point for Americans at home.While we all unite to fight Al queda abroad.

  40. I really think Americans are asleep.They have spent their time so busy policing the world and sending their sons to fight unjust wars overseas that they themselves canot see when their civil liberties for which so many people gave their lives are at stake.What the Government is doing is slowly bringing a police state upon the nation.When police start using such disporportionate amount of force to control cvilians u know somthing dangerous is coming.They are actually using fear for deadly retatiation to now control the minds of citezens.We do not make the link so consciously but deep in the minds of people we begin to think that the Government/police will use excessive force for possible harmless misdemenors.The question is, if a simple kid, whom anyone could see, presented no serious threat to himself or the players how long will it be before the idea of CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE be banished from our minds?How long before simple demonstrators in the streets be tasered?Wake up Americans STOP fearing Al queda and start fearing the lost of CIVIL LIBERTES at home by your very own governments and congressmen. Justice in todays world has lost its focus.In the dispensing of social justice is the minds of the public because of the poor quality of western media that has imprinted TERROR in the minds of people we feel it is ok to us any amount of force to quel any threat no matter how unjustifed.There is now no fear that the person who only APPEARS guilty may in fact be INNOCENT.

  41. Hello,

    I am a black male. I like this topic because It get the conversation going. I do have one question for white people myself. Why is it that so much attention is put on all the negatives of black Americans? We are doing pretty well now. This is not to say that there is no longer institutional racism or a higher unemployment rate in the black community, but I think if whites didn’t always point out our negatives then black people would be less standoffish. We are just normal people like you. We do have MANY cultural differences but I think what black people are more pissed off about is the covert racism that we are constantly bombarded with on a daily basis. It’s almost as if white people know nothing but trivial things about black people and when you get around us you are “scared” or just unsure of yourselves and we can sense that. It comes off as racism to us because we don’t see you treating anyone else like that. It’s like “look there is a black person let’s ask him about rap music or something” While I am on the topic of stereotypes why do you always relate “blackness” with urban culture? It is marginalizing. It’s like if you see an Asian person and start talking about Bruce Lee that would would be seen as absolutely absurd. Also I think it would be good to stop viewing black as a monolithic group of people. It’s hard to talk to white people in person about things like this because you guys often get instantly defensive. Just my two cents as an actual black person.

    Thanks for listening

  42. ok you know what i hate? is when people think that white people are the only ones who are racist and that all the black and mexicans are poor little victims! errggg ! im my community and where i live there is waaaayyyy more racism to white people than mexicans and blacks! and its usually the mexicans and blacks who are calling us “whites” “crackers”. who leave comment like “oh ur not mexican you wudnt know how” . but then they try to say they are the victims! “ima beaner!” “oh you dont agree with me your racist” “they shud stop bothering us mexicans! we r here cuz we made it here!” “oh just cuz im mexican!” “i hate america! we arent treated fairly”. plus many stories in children literature books have stories on how mexican black and chinese are being subject to hate crimes , but none about whites!

  43. Racism is one aspect of the whole of kyriarchy, which ultimately oppresses everyone. Racism is absolutely integral to the system, and is key to maintaining oppression of various groups of white people. For example, the myth of the dangerous black man is used to maintain white women’s oppression by drawing attention away from the actual perpetrators of most patriarchal violence against white women: white men. Because white men are “not dangerous” and black men are “dangerous,” white men are rarely held responsible for their violence toward white women. The myth that all gay people are white (which comes out of the racist essentialization of POC) means that the Queer community is often disjointed and unable to build strong coalitions to win civil rights for LGBTQ people, white or POC. The intersections of transphobia, racism and capitalism create a situation where women of color who are trans are much more likely to be victims of violence, and indifference to this violence based on multiple aspects of their identity, including their race, leads to public policy failures that ultimately hurt white people who are trans too.

    “White people” mostly isn’t straight, white, wealthy, cis, thin young men who live up to traditional standards of patriarchal masculinity. It’s mostly other people. Every form of oppression relies on every other form, so racism hurts white people in multiple ways.

  44. Most white people don’t know we are racist. We view racism as something they saw on TV during the civil rights era or something they saw pictures of in textbooks. We don’t recognize the own racism in ourselves until we have to confront it within us. Once we do that, we can move beyond it, but until then, it will continue to harm us because we assume that the young black men hanging out on the corner are drug dealers and vote for Barack Obama. We will continue to buy into the idea that our justice system is blind and that America is the land of opportunity, no matter what your skin color. Plus, we lose out on knowing some damn cool folks by making assumptions.

  45. I AM A WHITE PERSON AND REGULARLY HEAR WHITE MALES IN MY WORLD, use the N word and on the surface they play a game with Black people. Like they are their best friend and if I were to repeat to any one of the black people any of these racist hateful words, it would be horrific. I work in the retail world with a guy who regularly uses this language and his best customers are black. Recently, I was working with a very nice black couple who had a normal problem and called for a solution. Quote: He Said ” I don’t care if they had a fucking baby, They are Fucking n*gers anyway. Don’t bother me, I don’t have time for Fucking n*gers.” I wanted so badly to tell that couple what he said.

    I grew up in central Fl.

  46. It is important for ‘W’s” (White People) to question the harms of W. Supremacy, because how else can you reject something. One needs to ask this question so that according to Harney &Moten 13 (Stefano Harney and Fred Moten “The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning & Black Study”)

    The mission then for the denizens of the undercommons is to recognize that when you seek to make things better, you are not just doing it for the Other, you must also be doing it for yourself. While men may think they are being “sensitive” by turning to feminism, while white people may think they are being right on by opposing racism, no one will really be able to embrace the mission of tearing “this shit down” until they realize that the structures they oppose are not only bad for some of us, they are bad for all of us. Gender hierarchies are bad for men as well as women and they are really bad for the rest of us. Racial hierarchies are not rational and ordered, they are chaotic and nonsensical and must be opposed by precisely all those who benefit in any way from them. Or, as Moten puts it: “The coalition emerges out of your recognition that it’s fucked up for you, in the same way that we’ve already recognized that it’s fucked up for us. I don’t need your help. I just need you to recognize that this shit is killing you, too, however much more softly, you stupid motherfucker, you know?”

  47. I don’t believe it truly harms me. But it diminishes me, saddens me, outrages me, limits my life, my world in ways I find hard to explain. I feel it deep down, how much of life I’ve missed because of it. These are all selfish things, yet I feel them so strongly. It also shames me that the world I saw as a child has changed in so few ways. Those early memories of horror at the racism I saw around me haunt me still. The need of my peers for safe space, away from the likes of me, both understood and mourned. My drive to be involved in feminism and politics, to make a difference, thwarted at every turn. The backlash has been stupendous. Perhaps most of all, my inability to truly love my racist parents. Yes, racism kills love. At least for me.

  48. For the sake of discussion I define racism as judging people negatively based on the racial identitiy they were born with. To the best of my knowledge even DNA analysis is striggling to come up with specific characteristics which clearly identify something called race. In society generally though it is attributed to visible physical characteristics. Skin color is the most prominent.

    I will make a guess here: most people reading this are on one far side or the other in this discussion. Generally it is a variation of: My side is better than your side, your side has wronged my side, I am entitled to my anger and you will never get it. One sometimes addition is: I know my side is actually superior to your side because……whatever the latest study, ancient history or group think says.

    Here is how this is harming me: I have lived my life, in work and in the world with the understanding that we are one race, the human race. All the divisions harm people, keep hate growing and prevent good progress on the real issues facing everyone. What are some of these issues?

    Biggest one is global warming. No one is able to escape the weather and the environment. Next comes viral disease in a very connected world. Then there is the continual problem of group violence, nationstate warefare and ancient tribalistic like conflicts(including those based on race/religion and gender).

    Keeping any group, or groups, of people out of education, out of research and out of policy discussions deprives everyone of their possible analysis. when challenges and real world risks face everyone everyone does need to be involved in the solutions if they are going to have any chance of success. All the skin color based thinking and subsequent actions over the centuries and worldwide have created a system where false divisions are placing everyone at risk. Cutlures do shape thinking. Every human brain is changing throughout life so we need the best of all human brains working together to come up with solutions for all the tough problems facing us.

    Finally, overall the world is a complicated and dangerous place so I have another question for the owner of the blog, if you are still active: to you, what would racial justice look like? What does justice in general look like? What does “giving up white priviledge” look like–in a step by step fashion, not broad platitudes? Or will you simply refuse to really answer serious questions, ones i have asked of many in many settings because I am white?

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