how to react appropriately when accused of racism- A guide for white people - II

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how to react appropriately when accused of racism- A guide for white people - II



A continuation of this

[url=]Link to the Original thread .. [/url]


Ding ding ding....

ElizaQ ElizaQ's picture

I moved this post from the "How do we teach them" thread. I didn't realize this thread had been continued. Sorry for the bit of crossing posting on quotes.


Originally posted by:
[b]I know that for many babblers on these threads that it can be hard to understand why some of us of colour strike out the way we do but I am hoping that you understand that this anger that we carry is sometimes so deep and so heavy that we strike out at those who we hope to teach, those that are trying to understand and those that support us. Please, have patience with us, we are learning too, that not all people are against us, but it is hard for us to see that at times as we are so used to fighting the indifference, the judgement, the racism.[/b]

I was going to respond on the other thread to you're post about sometimes just getting so angry that you cry out, "I hate..." as well as in reference to the actual post and the advice given, but I was having trouble finding the right words and then it got all conflicty again and then closed.
I'm still having problems putting my thoughts in order because a lot of the comments evoked a lot of emotional memories for me.
I'm going to give it shot though so please excuse some of the randomness if they all don't seem to fit together.
As bit of backgrounder for a time, months to be exact I was in situation where issues of race, racism and the relationships between different people, conflict,hate, anger,pain, frustration and the threat of violence due to these conflicts were pretty much a daily occurance. Talks about it were a daily occurance.

For me at first it was very difficult to get my head around...still is though it's better. I wasn't just reading about it, or hearing stories about it, or reading posts about it, but I was witnessing it it happen. To stand in a crowd of people facing another crowd of people who look like me and were hurling some of the most vile things I've ever heard...was, well I can only describe it as humbling and incredibly disorienting. It pretty much threw everything that I 'thought' I knew about racism, my personal attempts to deal with it, as well as how I thought I understood 'systemic' racism today in the crapper.
Before the experiences that I had there I may well have been the person described in that post that responded defensively. I didn't get it. I had to figure out from the bottom up.

When I read the blog AH's post it brought back the dozens upon dozens of conversations I had with people about racism being thrown against them , what was happening and where we all fit into the mess that was happening. I was lucky that that enough trust existed about 'intentions' that we stumbled through it without 'offense' being taken.

The understanding that I drew from these conversations pretty much mirrored the advice that was given in that post. In my experience it was even taken a little farther...and between a few trusted people we came to an agreement that if they caught me saying something that reflected some sort of racist thinking that they would in fun point it out. Some pretty funny exchanges happened around this. [img]smile.gif" border="0[/img] Things like.."Well there yah go talking like the white man again.." The whole discourse became safe and I in turn felt freeer to ask really frank questions.

You're words 12345 also brought me to the times when anger was involved and I heard those exact words as well as even more harsher spoken. At times I was the only 'white' person in the room and invariably someone would realize it and apologize...'sorry...don't mean you.' I knew this of course and it didn't bother me, not because I felt myself somehow in some special position but because I realized that what was happening was not just about me as a individual, but the whole -- if that makes sense. Going back to that post I think that's also what it was trying to say...though in not so many words...that individual interactions in some of these cases reflect more then just the individual...but the whole kit and kaboodle...but as individuals we have an opportunity to not only see some of the systematic stuff that in a lot of cases are largely unsconcious and not necessarily intended but respond on an individual level to problems within the whole system. I hope this makes sense. Not sure if I got it out right.

Anger and conflict about race can also lead to the most amazing things if people approach it in a state that this post implied of not getting defensive and taking things personal. One of the most profound conversations I ever had started when somebody approached me out of the blue and stated, "I just wanted you to know that when I first saw you and talked to you I hated you because you are white and all white people are %$&** racist &*((^ and hate us." My response after blinking a couple of times, "Was okay I think I get you want to talk?"
I won't get into the details of what turned into a very personal conversation for both of us that was several hours long...but suffice it to say that we left it with better understanding of each other and have been friends ever since.
I don't think such a conversation could have happened without defenses being let go which I think is largely the point of that post.

Makwa Makwa's picture

EQ, let me please put forward my own wee 'meegwetch', cause that was a brave and thoughtful recogning. If everyone thought as you the world would be the finest place.


EQ you deserve a hug *hug*. Thankkyou for sharing.