Ignorance is No Excuse -- This is the fourth in a series of posts this week, where I share what white activists have said publicly to other white people. The content here clearly challenges the false claim that talking about racism is more divisive than racism itself.
Vicki Humpert wrote:
“White supremacy is about narcissistic entitlement on a mass scale, and they want to carry
on unchecked. It’s all really a distortion of existence, a type of trespassing and menacing of
diverse people, by those who want to continue feeling the sick thrill of power and control.
The whitewashing of history is based on framing the superiority concept as that people of
color were conquered and to see it as a win, hip-hip hooray, instead of the brutality that it was
-- with Native genocide and enslavement of blacks -- and continues to be. Now white culture is left with "It's our way or the highway " thinking, a lack of respect or reverence for other cultures
and their ways of doing things that are much more in line with the natural way of things. The kinder
people are still putting out fires, trying to bring some good.
There can be no excuses for the brutal things, past and present -- only explanations and
learning from it. When we know better, we're supposed to do better. The thing is, we can't
change what we refuse to acknowledge. “
Al Fleetwood wrote:
"I grew up entwined in lily whiteness in Atlanta in the 60's and 70's, and since I was literally
old enough to speak, racism naturally disgusted me and confused the hell out of me, given
that it was constantly perpetuated in every moment by people who also laced almost every fucking sentence they spoke with biblical phraseologies and quotations.
Whiteness is a root cause of poisoned social fibers, and is constantly refueled by the ancient
evil from which it springs. I've spent 57 years fighting it at every turn, on every level of our society...I find it genuinely unbelievable to grasp how thoroughly the human family has been permeated by the toxin. Even people whom I thought had no real underlying hidden prejudices, later in life revealed this mental illness had always lingered somewhere within them. It's an entirely pervasive spiritual disease whose sociological remnants contain dormant spores which seem to be awakened by either chronological aging or environmental stimuli comprised of just
the right cocktail of internal and external horrors."
Val Stephens wrote:
“Semantic gymnastics -- deny, deflect and divert -- is the way most white people handle the
truth about racism. The truth is racism is a problem rooted in whiteness, started and
perpetuated by white people.”
Janet Carole wrote:
“I've always assumed that white supremacists are insecure. Many who have been frothing at
the mouth about President Obama, hate him because he's successful, a symbol of everything they will never be or have, and know they cannot compete with him.
It’s not just Trump supporters wanting a way back to a false supremacy. Many whites who call themselves "progressives" because it's fashionable, are just as racist, sexist and classist as anyone else. So, I think about what James Baldwin said: "I don't believe what you say because
I see what you do." The most challenging thing is to get them to understand the structural and systemic nature of racism in our country.
People don't want to admit they've been complicit in racism, knowingly or unknowingly. Acknowledging this challenges what whites believe about ourselves. I am grateful to all the
black people who have helped me wake up.
A very wise black woman said that if white people admit they're racist, we have to reconsider everything in our lives, to change thinking and behavior. I'm a white lesbian and I know in my heart that ending racism should be the first priority, even over classism and homophobia. The pervasiveness of racism is much more ingrained and widespread. I personally think if we focus
on dismantling racism, chances of improving everything else will quickly follow.”
Fannie LaFlore MS,LPC,SAC,EAP is the Developer and Lead Trainer of Healing From Racism Programs (HFR) which draws on her extensive Communications, Human Services, Entrepreneurship and Activism experience.