Thursday, February 19, 2009

Unlearning racism

The reading from this week really got me re-thinking about race and my experiences with race and racism. All the experiences I have had remind me constantly that we all have to unlearn our privileges, escpecially in regards to race and people different to ourselves.
There were about 3 points that really got me thinking.
1. We all suffer from the effects of white supremacy. I'd never thought about this before. We all do it. We all like to put others in their place if it makes us feel better. I've done it too many times. As I mentioned in a previous post, My best friend growing up was a black boy named Dane'. I Always thought i was better than other white people who were so racist to him. Harsh lesson one. I had a black friend who I admired and wished i was just like him, skin colour and all, but i sometimes told and laughed at Ethiopian Jokes. (Yes they exist). What did they ever do to me?
The fact is, "many folks benefit greatly from dominating others and are not suffering a wound similar to the condition of the exploited and oppressed." I may not have benefitted from dominating others, but by perpetuating race jokes, I was adding to exploitation.

2. Everyone's racist aren't they. I rememeber my mum being so upset and afraid to go to work as there was a local black man who she used to serve at the post office she worked at, as he would shout at her and tell her that she was racist and never wanted to serve him. He told her that if she wasn't careful, he would beat her, and would come back to the post office and set her on fire.My Mum is the least racist person i know. Sh literally doesn't have it in her. Even that generational thing some people have against blacks. She doesn't have it. This man was using race against her and was in himself being racist to her. He got a lot of complaints but my mum was his target.
I always believed that everyone, of all races, could be racist. Of course as i read this chapter, Hooks turned that belief around for me.I have never even thought about the difference between Prejudicial feelings and Institutionalised White supremacist domination.It was interesting to learn what hooks believes about the difference being that Black-folks feelings about white people "are in no way linked to a system of domination that affords them any power to coercively control the lives and well-being of white folks." I think I understand this now.

3.The point about it being 'cool' for white people to hang out with black people. I learned quite a while ago (with some pretty major experiences that maybe i might have enough courage to write about at a later time)that Unlearning racism is Sooo important. I feel so strongly about this because i have made some mistakes in my own life, taking it for granted having friends of other colours and even dating people of other colours. Hooks says that most white people don't feel that this "pleasure should be linked to unlearning racism." I never really thought about that either, but I do know that i have since, embraced blackness as having been an important part of my life.

1 comment:

Chris said...

I think it's cool how you have incorporated aspects of black into your life. It's also great that you can recgonise that we are all a bit racist. I agree that its an honour to know people that are black. But not matter what colour you are I think we all embrace our friend's culture.