“More than simple anecdotes, these are symptoms of the insanity of white culture and our refusal to understand that racism is part of our makeup — each and every one of us, north, south, east and west — from cradle to grave.
We re-segregate our schools using every available strategy and continue to profit from long-standing systems that are biased toward the hiring, advancement and empowerment of white people, all the while decrying the racism we see in others, pointing fingers at this or that extremist. As if by saying, “That one is a racist,” we exonerate ourselves of the charge.
White liberals — and I am one — are adept at using these naming and shaming tactics to avoid looking inward. Comfortable in our beliefs, we ignore the fact that we sit inside an ideology of white superiority that gives us enormous advantages even when we mouth the right opinions, trade memes about the awful racist act that one of us committed, and pat ourselves on the back for our sensitivity.
Surrounded by a world that makes it clear that white people are only a minority part of the picture, we nevertheless go on making movies in which nearly everybody is white; we go on nominating white people to win all the best prizes — this year’s Oscar nominations offer a glaring case in point — and we continue to write textbooks and develop educational curricula that surround white heroes with halos that throw the achievements of all other people into ghostly relief.
We set aside a month — this month — to oblige ourselves to pay lip service to black history, but what that means for white people is that we take a vacation from history — black history events are for black people, aren’t they? The racists are the ones who burn crosses and lynch black people, aren’t they?”