Coming to a school and job training near you: “understanding your whiteness and the ways that white supremacy benefits you is an important part of becoming self-aware.”
Thank you, Washington Post, for giving us another example of why we do not like Critical Race Theory.
I present to you…“What is White racial identity and why is it important?”
Description: “When George Floyd died, people across the United States started to look more critically at how white supremacy affects all of us. In this episode, we talk to mental health experts and scholars about why understanding your whiteness and the ways that white supremacy benefits you is an important part of becoming self aware.”
Resmaa Menakem begins the video by telling white people “why understanding your whiteness and the ways that white supremacy benefits you is an important part of becoming self-aware.”
He adds: “Racism, racialization, white body supremacism, is not episodic; it’s structural. Remember that there were thousands of George Floyds before the one that you saw. Your bodily response to this horror, right, is not the same thing as you dealing with the structural aspects of it.”
Menakem adds later in the video, “A living, embodied, anti-racist culture does not exist among white people. White people gotta start getting together around race.”
Host Nicole Ellis claims Floyd’s death opened the minds of white people to their “whiteness and the systemic ways that white supremacy affects all of us.” She insists that white people understanding their “whiteness is integral to becoming self-aware as a white person.”
Praise of White Accountability Groups
Professor and psychologist Rebecca Toporek, an old white woman, says: “White people in particular get aroused, get upset, say this is unjust, this isn’t right, this shouldn’t happen, here’s like an awakening that happens. And so part of their racial identity development is seeing that awakening. What they do with it is really the next piece of it.”
She continues: “Part of the structure of racism in the way that it’s maintained is to keep us from recognizing that racism is part of our daily lives and so it’s a longer-term process of looking at yourself in the world, both historically, but also contextually. The family you live in, the community you live in, and what role whiteness plays in that.”
Here’s a thought. How about we speak up when we see racism? How about we blame the racist instead of all white people?
Toporek praises white accountability groups (those exist?!) for providing help “in terms of having a place to process, having a group of people whose responsibility it is to call me on things or to challenge me.”
Did Toporek admit she is a racist and has racist thoughts? Did she admit she does not speak up when she witnesses racism?
Ellis seems happy Toporek admits she attends these white accountability groups, but wants to know “the pitfalls or risks” presented to people if this is the only path a white person takes.
Toporek responds: “The biggest answer is white people don’t really understand racism. Hence, so if I’m relying on other white people to teach me about racism that can only go so far. … I only best understand racism by talking to people who are directly impacted by racism from different perspectives. So in addition to having white accountability groups and white accountability buddies, it’s also really important to have sustained and meaningful relationships with people of color.”
Ellis jumps on that point by asking, “But is it fair or healthy to be seeking out relationships with people just to have a diverse network? For I feel like, for people of color, you’re kind of constantly trying to gauge whether or not it’s worth it to be vulnerable or share how someone hurt you when your white colleagues or coworkers or friends mess up.”
Toporek has an answer as always: “There’s a different cost for my friends of color to be in a relationship with me. So I think one of the things that’s really important is ongoing, being a friend on an ongoing basis for lots of different things, not just like, thinking about racism as a part of our friendship when there’s something horrible that happens. Those relationships are, number one, for me to be there for them as them for me, it’s a relationship, and so it should be reciprocal, but also so I have a broader understanding of the world.”
Small Town Oklahoma = Whiteness Comfort
Crisis interventionist Kelsey Arias brought up her upbringing in a small Oklahoma town where “whiteness was the default and whiteness was the comfort.” Therefore, her small town is the reason why she might have racist tendencies.
“The more you dive into that, the more I’m really realizing how deeply rooted racism is into, like, my everyday thought process,” stresses Arias. “No matter how much you work at that there’s still even almost work to be done.”
Arias’s testimony hits close to home since I live in Oklahoma. It is true the small towns lack diversity. However, when I student taught and observed at a small-town school, I saw teachers teaching students about slavery, racism, the Civil War, etc.
Arias complains, “I don’t have the ability, to like, inherently name things as upholding white supremacy or being racist. My whiteness is going to show up at different points in my life and at different points in my relationships.”
In other words, do not hold Arias accountable if she says something racist.
School Only Taught From a White Perspective
Ilyse Kennedy, a trauma therapist, adds some icing to the cake: “We’re unpacking wrong things that we have been taught in history class. I realized that I needed to back and unpack and reorganize everything that I had learned because it was completely through a white lens. Most of us, in doing this work, have experienced this, where there’s a period of deep shame for being white and acknowledging the harm that our ancestors have caused. And that is a very legitimate piece of this work. And — we can’t ask people of color to hold our hands through the shame piece; that needs to happen with other white people.”
Kennedy then grieves, “Everything I thought about how I existed in my white body in the world was very wrong and I needed this new lens to see the world through. So I think that been a big piece of my own work.”
Really? I learned slavery is bad, everyone is created equal, the color of your skin is not important, and that it is a damn shame it took 100 years after the Civil War for the government to treat everyone equally.
Also, how do these people manage to trace their ancestors to those who specifically have a history in colonialism, slavery, etc?
CRT in a Nutshell
This video incorporates the criticisms of CRT: teaching white people they are inherently racist because of the color of their skin. White supremacy somehow helps all white people and therefore we’re also white supremacists or something.
If people used CRT to go in-depth about the Civil War, slavery, Reconstruction, and the Civil Rights Movement then fine.
But no. The WaPo video shows us the truth about CRT. According to Ellis, they’ll have more videos addressing this issue in the future.
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