Home » Racism » Racism: A White Male Perspective

Racism: A White Male Perspective

The author of this piece is Scott Woods (a white male), although I do not know him. I’m sharing his words here, because they’re resonating deeply with me tonight. I’d love to hear your thoughts about it.

“The problem is that white people see racism as conscious hate, when racism is bigger than that. Racism is a complex system of social and political levers and pulleys set up generations ago to continue working on the behalf of whites at other people’s expense, whether whites know/like it or not. Racism is an insidious cultural disease. It is so insidious that it doesn’t care if you are a white person who likes black people; it’s still going to find a way to infect how you deal with people who don’t look like you.

“Yes, racism looks like hate, but hate is just one manifestation. Privilege is another. Access is another. Ignorance is another. Apathy is another. And so on. So while I agree with people who say no one is born racist, it remains a powerful system that we’re immediately born into. It’s like being born into air: you take it in as soon as you breathe. It’s not a cold that you can get over. There is no anti-racist certification class. It’s a set of socioeconomic traps and cultural values that are fired up every time we interact with the world. It is a thing you have to keep scooping out of the boat of your life to keep from drowning in it. I know it’s hard work, but it’s the price you pay for owning everything.”

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14 thoughts on “Racism: A White Male Perspective

  1. He is bang on. I have a CD based on a book called Lethal Obsession about the history of Anti-Semitism and it is clear that this stupidity is thousands of years old aimed at creating a me vs the ‘other’ based on fear and stupidity. Once it is that old, hard to get rid of. Racism is not only in our systems and structures and teachings, including religious teachings, but I believe is also passed down in the DNA.

    • All of this!! Irrefutable facts. White people are privileged from birth. The longer we live in Supremacy, the more we tend to be mired in racism. Thankfully once are made aware of our overt, and latent, racist tendencies, we can begin to work to change those tendencies. There is no such thing as an adult White individual, who isn’t racist. It’s why we (myself and other White people), need to actively work to eradicate all racist thoughts, speech, and actions, from ourselves. Mistakes will be made. Feelings are going to be hurt. There is no excuse to perpetuate any form of prejudice. It is therefore, the responsibility of White people to speak out against injustice, inequality, and unfairness. It’s time to surround ourselves with likeminded indivuals, and openminded, newly woke racists. Our responsibility is to educate ourselves, and other White people about the history of America, and the rest of the West. It is our responsibility to come up with action plans that are then carried out. Speaking out is one thing, speaking up for anyone who is being discriminated against is an absolute must. We must be open to enduring reparations are made into law.Its time. The only way things change is from the bottom up. I was fortunate enough to learn, and act upon, community service, and local politics. Top down eradication doesn’t work. Protests are good for creating awareness. Physically engaging people, communities, and politics are crucial. As always, the experts are those who are discriminated against. It’s vital that Black, and Brown voices are heard. Otherwise the movement morphs into a pointless exercise of self glorification, and White Saviour syndrome. White peoples must realize that we aren’t the centre of attention here. That POC don’t trust us. That they are angry and speaking their truth – pain, fear, confusion, exhaustion, mistrust, and hate. And we need to suck it up. Sit down, shut up, listen, and learn. Accept criticism and use it to improve. That way we can fine tune our actions. That’s my take on racism and what I feel must be addressed, and worked on.

    • Saying racism is in our DNA is to not take responsibility for our behaviors. Racism is a structured response to a perceived threat – real our unreal. It is taught by those who need to feel superior (perhaps because of their own unconscious feelings of inferiority – real or unreal), and to perpetuate and exploit their projected fears. Systems and structures can be deconstructed. Teachings can be based on truths. Difficult as it may be to overcome, racism is a matter of choice.

      • Thanks Kay – the reason it is important to understand that racism can be in the DNA is not to avoid responsibility but to understand how rational arguments don’t work in the face of racists, Further, given it is deep within the primitive brain, it is really difficult to turn around. Similarly the trauma of victims is difficult to overcome. Do we give up training? What do we do? Those are the questions that I think are what these posts are about and are of high value.

  2. I agree with this analogy 100%.

    I used to think that I was not racist, based on popular definitions. I didn’t use racial slurs, for example.

    In 2006, I was working on a freelance basis in a design studio. I knew the people well enough, and got along with all of them. On one occasion, I turned to Alicia and referred to her as Kristen—the one other black woman in an office that was 100% staffed by white people. I was absolutely mortified. She told me not to worry about it, and that other people in the office had done the same thing. That made it worse, in my mind.

    It was on that day that I realized that I absolutely DO see colour. In fact, I see it very much.

  3. Racism and Class-ism is taught. Truth be told all races/classes have bias and sterotypes. Our parents may NOT say, don’t like blacks. Instead they say, “I don’t want you with them.” Your parents MAYBE thinking about your safety, but teaching you racism. We learn racism/class-ism in those slight ways everyday from our parents, family, church and community.

    The key is…LOVE different people. Not in a Jesus way…but in a REAL…make real friends with someone you have a bias against…LOVE them. Then you will be come their greatest champion!

  4. Pingback: Racism: A White Male Perspective – Transforming Change; The Beginning or The End?

  5. I agree with his words. They sure do have a lot of dismantling to do. If only more would put forth the work.

  6. There is value in including the phrase “systemic racism” in this discussion. It IS the “set of socioeconomic traps and cultural values” which Scott Wood refers to.

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