I came across this article courtesy of a “Facebook friend” who I’m pretty sure I don’t even know in real life . . . but I was so grateful for it and totally knew that I had to share it here.
And since I know that some of you won’t read the whole article, here’s a great quote:
One reason for bigotry’s maddening intractability is that a determination—however knee-jerk, superficial, or unthinkingly made—that something or someone is racist ends the discussion, as happened with my friend. The verdict is “guilty” and the only punishment is forfeiture of the right to consider yourself a decent human being. Better to be a necrophiliac than an admitted bigot. Yet if we are to evolve on the issue of race, the notion that you, or someone else, is racist ought to function as the beginning of the attainment of full humanity, not the proof that you’ve relinquished it. Realizing with each incident that I was operating from a no-longer-quite-subconscious script about race allowed me to recognize, and then confront, the hateful notions I have internalized about blacks.
(read the whole article: http://www.slate.com/id/2104994/)
The “best” thing about this, and the thing I didn’t catch until I got to the end of it? The writer of this piece is actually a black woman. Which it must be white privilege at work in my assuming otherwise, because the illustration that ran with the article was of a black woman. But (as with far too many things–I thought Scott Joplin was white until I was like thirty years old!) I automatically assumed the “default”–whiteness.
which probably tells you that I have the same problem that the author does . . . but you knew that already. (I hope!)