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Dear White America December 28, 2015

Posted by geoff in News.
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Some professor at Emory University wrote a letter to “White America” at the NYT. His letter is a gift, he says, and his message should be received with love.

It turns out, though, that the “gift” he’s giving is:

…asking for you to tarry, to linger, with the ways in which you perpetuate a racist society, the ways in which you are racist.

I’ll bet there’ll be a big line at the Returns station of your local White Guilt store.

His pitch goes like this:

  • If you’re white, you’re racist
  • You’re not allowed to discuss the issue, you’re racist
  • No matter how integrated you are with people of color, you’re racist
  • There’s apparently no distinction between KKKers and you, “You may have never used the N-word in your life, you may hate the K.K.K., but that does not mean that you don’t harbor racism and benefit from racism.

After that inspirational set of bullet points, you might be forgiven for not leaping to accept the second part of his gift:

White America, are you prepared to be at war with yourself, your white identity, your white power, your white privilege?

Yes, no matter your personal circumstances or history, you have unjustly benefited from your whiteosity, so you’ve got to give all that up. I know you may have come from disadvantaged beginnings, you may be working two jobs, you may suffer from health issues, etc., but you are still “privileged” because nothing matters but your skin color.

So once again, if you’re white you’re given a single choice: admit your racism, which you cannot discuss, cannot perceive, and cannot repair. Then do something(?) to change society to eliminate institutional racism(?). I guess? He doesn’t really elaborate on corrective action.

I’ll just say two more things:

  1. I don’t feel comfortable hanging out with people who think that I’m an incorrigible racist no matter what I do or think. So thanks for driving another wedge between the races, Prof. Yancy.
  2. People often worry about our technological society leaving the less educated and/or intellectually-endowed behind. I get the sense that the same thing is happening to people of color. Trained by the racism cottage industry to focus solely on race and white privilege, they’re rapidly being left behind by a society that’s making spectacular advances in technology, science, and medicine. I’ve always felt the cure for racism lies in people looking outward rather than inward; striving for society’s progress rather than focusing on social injustice. But Professor Yancy’s “gift” requires us all to focus on his favorite social aches and pains. Not constructive.

 

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