The Norm

DiAngeloFrom Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People To Talk About Racism (2018):

Racism is the norm rather than an aberration. Feedback is key to our ability to recognize and repair our inevitable and often unaware collusion. In recognition of this, I try to follow these guidelines:

1.   How, where, and when you give me feedback is irrelevant—it is the feedback I want and need. Understanding that it is hard to give, I will take it any way I can get it. From my position of social, cultural, and institutional white power and privilege, I am perfectly safe and I can handle it. If I cannot handle it, it’s on me to build my racial stamina.

2. Thank you.

The above guidelines rest on the understanding that there is no face to save and the game is up; I know that I have blind spots and unconscious investments in racism. My investments are reinforced every day in mainstream society. I did not set this system up, but it does unfairly benefit me. I do use it to my advantage, and I am responsible for interrupting it. I need to work hard to change my role in this system, but I can’t do it alone. This understanding leads me to gratitude when others help me.

2 thoughts on “The Norm

  1. Conversations with people of color are almost always interesting. However, I have been told that I should not try to find out from them if I do or say something racist, but work it out myself. HOW? I tend to be very blunt and if I want to know how someone feels, likes or dislikes something/someone, I ask. Of course, I try to use basic “politeness” as in not asking in my first sentence “Why did she go to jail”, or something similar. Added to the difficulty for me is the fact that I find it hard and often useless to hide my reactions when I see or hear something that hurts others particularly if it is racist. So, I don’t filter much AND I would worry about the accuracy of what another white person thinks is racist. So, I much prefer a real conversation with a real person of color. Any ideas or comments ?

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