I’ve been sifting through the Angry Black Woman’s archives, and I love her series on ‘Things You Need to Understand.’ It’s a collection of general principles about privilege in general and racism in particular. These general principles apply to any form of privilege.
1 - Racism
Racism = Prejudice + Power
By definition, Blacks and other minorities cannot be racist because they do not have insitutional, systemic power.
3 - Racism isn’t over - until the folks who experience it say so.
4 - White Privilege
White Privilege exists whether you know it, acknowledge it, or understand it.
Enough said, but she goes on to patiently explain and give examples. (Which is not her job as a woman of color, either).
5 - Color Blindness - when white folks say ‘I don’t see color’, people of color hear
I refuse to deal with how our culture and societry treats people of color because it makes me uncomfortable. I don’t want to understand how having a different skin color or ethnicity affects other people because that means I would have to think and consider other points of view. What I want is to not have to think. I prefer to believe I live in a fantasy land where no one ever pays attention to skin color, ethnicity, culture, or religion. I am part of the problem with race relations, not its great savior.
I hear the same thing, for what it’s worth.
8 - Anger Does not Equal Hate - Anger can indicate hate, but it can also indicate genuine frustration at oppression. As ABW puts it:
I don’t hate white people. I don’t hate men.
What I do hate? Racism. Sexism.
9 - You Don’t get a Cookie - when you address the privilege you receive, you don’t get a special thank you.
Why? Because it’s basic human decency. And people shouldn’t be over-praised for doing something they should have been doing in the first place.
I love her writing. Love it. This is just a sampling, basically a primer on racism and privilege. Check out all the ‘things you need to understand’ here, get into the more advanced topics (and read from other great writers) here.