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View Diary: White? Check. Privileged? Check. So (now) what? (49 comments)

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  •  One white guy to another: (18+ / 0-)

    Listen. Put your ego aside. Don't focus on "tone" or "politeness" or any personal affront when a person of color is telling you something about your privilege, our culture, or even something you did that was offensive or hurtful to them. Avoid the urge to be defensive and just HEAR what they say.

    "Much of movement conservatism is a con and the base is the marks." -- Chris Hayes

    by raptavio on Sun Aug 17, 2014 at 08:46:19 AM PDT

    •  Sound advice. Thanks. (3+ / 0-)

      To which I can only add that once you have listened...or, rather, have developed the habit of listening...then move beyond merely listening. How have you done that?

      •  A very fair counterquestion. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DocDawg, Audri, watercarrier4diogenes

        One that merits a longer answer than I can spare time for at the moment. But I can tell you that doing the above will make the next steps more clear.

        "Much of movement conservatism is a con and the base is the marks." -- Chris Hayes

        by raptavio on Mon Aug 18, 2014 at 06:00:15 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  OK. Here's a start at a longer response: (5+ / 0-)

        Politically, it's easy. Support laws that strengthen protections for minorities against having their voting rights restricted or compromised; support laws that give minorities the opportunity to seek justice when they are discriminated against; oppose laws that disproportionately impact minorities; promote laws that increase transparency and accountability for our law enforcement.

        Socially, it's harder.

        When it's just us white folk around, no minorities to listen in, that's when it happens. You know what I'm talking about. The friend who tells a racist joke; the colleague who whispers how "they" wreck "their" communities; the cousin who is tired of paying taxes for "welfare queens" to sit on the porch all day and do nothing.

        Things you know they'd never say in the presence of a minority, but when it's just us "Regular folks" around, well, that's different, right?

        Make it not different. Have the courage to say "Don't be that guy, Bob." Have the strength to say "That's really racist and untrue, Steve." Have the integrity to say, "That's not okay, Mary, and here's why."

        It's easy to make paeans to equality and justice, say, here on the GOS, or on Facebook, or wherever, in public, and feel all warm and fuzzy about it. And that does, in some small measure, help. But the real change happens if we live that change where nobody's going to give us an attaboy for doing it, and it might even ruffle feathers or cause hard feelings. Making your private conduct meet your public ideals is the best thing you can do.

        That also goes to how you treat other people, too. Coworkers, colleagues, customers, waitstaff, the man in the street. Take a moment to mentally evaluate whether your perceptions and your conduct might be influenced by the race of the person with whom you are interacting (or avoiding interacting). Do what you can to not be part of the structures that give white people unearned privilege that is denied minorities.

        I guess these are starting points.

        "Much of movement conservatism is a con and the base is the marks." -- Chris Hayes

        by raptavio on Mon Aug 18, 2014 at 02:39:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Great suggestions, thx! Here's another: (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jbsoul, kickiewickie

          I tend to like creative activities with just a hint of guerrilla to them.

          If you're a college alum, look up the racial composition of the student body at your alma mater at the U.S. Dept. of Education's excellent IPEDS resource. Here is an example page for one of my alma maters, UC Irvine. Note that blacks comprise 2% and Hispanics comprise 22% of undergrads. Now go to the U.S. Census Bureau and look up the relevant geographic area's racial composition (example here for Orange County, CA). Two percent black, 34% Hispanic. I was surprised to find that Hispanics are so under-represented at a Southern California state university. Rest assured that I will soon be contacting the Vice Chancellor for Alumni Relations to politely but firmly ask "WTF???" And I'll encourage some of my more progressive fellow alumni to do the same. I'll do this prepared for a mealy-mouthed answer such as "lack of sufficiently competitive candidates" by asking the follow-on question, "and so what is UCI doing in the community to assist in better preparing latino students for a UC education?"

          Money talks. You can use your economic power in many different ways to help address institutional inequality. How many faces of color do you see employed in the businesses you frequent? If it's way out of line with demographics, ask the manager why. And if you get shit for an answer, put your items down and walk away. Then ask some of your friends to do the same.

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