i guess i am a racist
December 8, 2009 § 11 Comments
i would like to record the day that anti racism died. i would like to stop for a moment and give a quick soliloquy to the anti racism movement.
i guess im racist.
The video features various people saying “I guess I’m a racist” and puts up a statistic from the Rassumen reports, stating that 12% of voters believe that opponents of Barack Obama’s health care plan are racist.
this is the inevitable end of the whiteness studies/anti racism movement.
let me backtrack a bit.
i was an anti racism trainer for a bit of my life. so i engaged with a lot of progressive anti racist white folk. im married to one. my best friends are these kind of white folk. the kind of white folk who will say as a matter of fact ‘i am racist. i benefit from racism. white privilege has shaped my entire life.’ these are anti racist white folk who are friends, family, community.
but a couple of years ago, i started to become disturbed by how facile the ‘i am a racist’ became in white folks mouths. it started to sound like: i am a racist. i was born into a racist society. i cant help being racist. oh well. as long as i say: i am a racist and acknowledge my white privilege, i can go about doing what i like.
what i mean is: for white anti racist folk, the progressive folk, the allies saying ‘i am a racist’ functions as a get out of jail free card.
see this video is most likely produced by people who would call themselves anti-racist. or non-racist. or color blind. all the labels have come to mean the same thing: good white folk. (and if by chance this video was made by a person of color, my first response is to hang my head in shame. i realize that is not a mature response. but it is honest. the actors of color are enough. i hope they got paid. did you see that last black dude? frankly, man, boyfriend looked sad. so sad.) and i have sat in enough anti racism training workshops as white folk confess their racism sins or whatever and heard white folk (and for some reason the image that comes to mind is a paunchy greying white guy with facial hair) saying: yeah, i guess i’m a racist. shrug. flick a fly off the plastic chair.
there used to be a bite to calling someone a racist. it used to take emotional courage and honesty to say: i am a racist. or at least i thought that there were elements of courage and honesty in the admission. like an addict seeing hir addiction.
now, its more like an addict saying: im an addict. acknowledging it. and then keeps on engaging in the addiction. as if simply saying: i am an addict. absolves hir of any other responsibility for hir actions or the effect those actions have on others.
i’m not an addict
i feel alive
if you dont have it
youre on the other side
and so if saying one is white is equivalent to saying one is racist. means that white people who admit that they are racist are ‘good white people’. then one can admit one is racist. do all the racist crap that you want. because its obviously not *really* racist, because you have already admitted that you are racist, and *really* racist people dont know that they are racist. and so on..and so on…and it all leads to a bunch of predominantly white kids throwing a ‘jamaica’ party, where they all dress up like ‘jamaicans’. and only the uptight and oversensitive people could possibly think there was anything racist about it. because these good white folks, are not *those* kind of racists.
so really this is the end. the death of anti racism.
a moment of silence.