Racism–our “crazy uncle” (Sunday blogging against racism #3)

Racism for Whites has been like a crazy uncle who has been locked away for generations in the hidden attic of our collective social reality. This old relative has been part of the family for a long time. Everyone knows he’s living with us, because we bring him food and water occasionally, but nobody wants to take him out in public. He is an embarrassment and a pain to deal with, yet our little family secret is that he is rich and the rest of us are living, either consciously or unconsciously, off the wealth and power he accumulated in his heyday. Even though many of us may disapprove of the tactics he used to gain his fortune, few of us want to be written out of his will. The legacy of racism, which has been fueled and legitimized by our assumption of rightness, has haunted the house of collective White identity for centuries.”

Gary R. Howard, in We Can’t Teach What We Don’t Know: White Teachers, Multiracial Schools

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