After initially bringing up the QUESTION of how race plays a role in my workplace’s hiring process and job environment in general I have gained a new understanding of what white people have in our arsenal for maintaining our privilege. Among all our tools we have ready to use during most moments, Denial seems to be the strongest or at least one that I am witnessing the most.
Denial allows us to say:
"Its not racism going on here"
"We have hired some black people"
"We are an exception to the rest of the world’s racism"
I believe Denial is a very violent internal process. We spend most of our lives internalizing the understanding of the world as the powers that be dictate it to us. I believe there is a grace period of bliss where we aren’t aware that we are being manipulated and lied to where the impact on our mental and physical is not so violent. For white people, for the most part, we don’t have to deal with the impacts of racism directly, or at least in the same way as people of color. So this grace period lasts different lengths for different people. But I believe while this grace period is occurring, there is also a process of understanding going on. Maybe the process of understanding was always happening in competition with Denial. Paraphrasing Junot Diaz, privilege is predatory and it takes more effort and strain to deny the impacts and implications of our privilege in a world of inequality than to actually deal with it.
Once we admit to ourselves first that love for the oppressor or sick desire for oppressive conditions is in all of us, we can start to address it and relieve the tension ever present inside of us. From there we can can start to transform it into genuine love for ourselves and other people we’ve been taught to hate making room action, healing, accountability, and growth.
It almost doesn’t seem logical that acknowledging that we are inherently racists will make way for new relationships, more love for ourselves(or our potential selves), others and a better world. I’m not saying I have achieved this, but I can say I have started the process and the grass IS greener on the other side.
This necessary process cannot happen when we become in love and dependent on defensive mindsets that make us say things like “I am not a racist!” “There are not racists here!” We try so hard to be “Good white people” which tells me we are more concerned with covering our asses instead of addressing what is in the way of a better “You” and world and transforming the system that has been nothing but evil into something unknowable.
So what if when someone brings up race/racism/white supremacy, the first response is trying to seek understanding about what they are perceiving and or experiencing instead of attacking them for touching on a subject that makes us uncomfortable?