White Resentment

This is basically a rehash of a comment on another blog some number of months ago. I’m not particularly involved in race politics, but I am aware that there is resistance on the part of the white…majority? Or is it plurality now?..toward acting to change the system. And by ‘system’, I don’t mean the laws, because at this point the most important laws are in place. We are all equal on paper. What needs to change is attitudes more than anything. That’s the hard part.

It’s pretty easy to see why white people would resist having to do anything on this front. For one, those of us alive today are not the ones who built the system (although certainly some of us are trying our damnedest to keep it in place). We seem to gain nothing by changing it, we’re not responsible for it, and yet we’re the ones called upon to dismantle it. We also get accused of being biased when we’re not trying to be*. So we’re a bit resentful.

The first time I brought up this argument I was asked if I didn’t see the resentment of people of colour. And I have to be honest–I don’t. I understand it–I’ve seen the studies, heard the stories, and I’d be resentful too. But it’s not something that enters into my life (thanks partly to a monochromatic childhood, something I have my own resentments about).

It can certainly seem unfair to be asked to makes changes on behalf of someone else. But as unfair as that is, it isn’t nearly as unfair as what other people currently have to deal with. And we’re the ones with the greatest power to change things.

 

*I know we are. We all are. It’s part of being human. It’s not right, and it’s not something we seek to instill in ourselves, but it isn’t something that can fix if we ignore it. And that’s on us, all of us, to recognize and overcome our unconscious biases.

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