Dear Whitefolk,

#STOKEDTOBETHESTOWIES-20
Dear Whitefolk,
I am doing a series addressing those of you that identify as white, or Caucasian. Anyone can read these posts, but I hope to create some clarity for us Whitefolk to best love our neighbors of color.
To start, I am going to provide some definitions that will be the basis of topics coming up. This will help us be on the same page as we go forward. There are a lot of terms being thrown around and people use them differently, so for my posts here are some definitions I would like to use:

Equity

Equity doesn’t mean equality. It’s better than equality. Imagine 3 people all want to go to a baseball game. Tickets for standing room are $5 a piece. All three people pay $5 to enter the stadium. That is EQUAL.
When each person gets to the standing room, they see a safety fence between the lawn and the baseball diamond. As they approach it, person 1 can see over it. Person 2 can see over it when they jump up. Person 3 cannot see over the fence at all.  They all paid $5 to get into the game, but they can’t all watch. This isn’t equitable.
How could this be equitable? The shortest person could have a large step to bring him up. The middle person could have a small step to bring him up. The tallest person doesn’t need anything to be able to see.
Now, every person pays $5 to see the game, and each one of them can fully enjoy and watch the game. That is equity. We want to be creating equitable situations.

Race Prejudice

It’s normal to feel more comfortable around people of your color, culture, background. We are creatures of habit that like to be comfortable and like the control of our situation if we know exactly what to expect. Is that a good thing? Probably not, cause we miss out on some fantastic people and cultures, but it’s the truth.

Sometimes we use that desire for comfort to push people that are different than us away.

Prejudice is an unjustified or incorrect attitude (usually negative) towards an individual based solely on the individual’s membership of a social group. For example, a person may hold prejudiced views towards a certain race or gender etc.
ANYONE can be prejudice. We all have times of being prejudice, no matter how we identify.

Racism

Okay, follow me through this one…
Racism is race prejudice + misuse of power.

So we just clarified that almost everyone has some race prejudice. We prefer to be in familiar situations with people that have the same background. It makes things easy, and our culture likes ease.

BUT racism is adding a misuse of power to that prejudice.

For example, slavery. White people had a racial prejudice against black people AND used power (physically and lawfully) against them to keep them oppressed.

 

Are you following? Racism is always attached to power.

Let’s bring it a little closer to home.

  • There is a white president(power) that uses his position to talk negatively about people that are not white. This is racism because he is coupling his race prejudice with a position of power.

 

What isn’t racism?

  • A person yelling racial slurs at another.
    • Although this is rude and not solving any issue. This isn’t racism. This is race prejudice, and again, rude and unnecessary. This can add to racism, but on its own we are going to call this race prejudice. Still unacceptable, but for definition’s sake.

 

In Conclusion

To be racist, you have to have power. So jumping back to my first example of slavery. Slaves had NO power. They could have a racial prejudice (preferring other people of color over their white slave owners), but they could not be racist. The president has lots of power. His racial prejudice plus his actions cause him to be racist.

Today, there are people that CANNOT be racist no matter what they say or do(people without power). They can have racial prejudice, but because they have no power to hold over anyone they cannot be racist.

I’m sorry for breaking it to you, but if you are white…you do not fall into that category.  You have inherited power that others do not, simply because of your skin color. If you want to learn what to do with that power; keep reading the series. If you want to know why you have power; keep reading the series. If you want to make a change; keep reading the series. If you want to hear about the hope we have for racial reconciliation; keep reading the series.

Sincerely,
Whitefolk wanting change yesterday

 

P.S I used slavery as an example because I think all Whitefolk can agree that slavery was a terrible thing. Examples will be getting closer to home as the series continues. Hopefully, this is a series that makes you uncomfortable! We are way.too.comforable. at others expense.

 

 

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