I think that important components of this discussion are specifics. I truly applaud these efforts at self-honesty and reflection. But real anti-racist efforts will require shifts in money and power. It is the money and power that determine dominance, so specific steps must be instituted in pragmatic fashion to have true anti-racist change.
I find that these issues are brought out overtly under zero-sum circumstances. This is not to say that zero-sum situations are attractive but to acknowledge that they are real. Resources are limited. Most of these resources have been pulled towards the white population as a whole for centuries. In order to re-balance this gross imbalance, resources themselves must be transferred.
So, I mention pragmatic ‘specifics’ as a necessary goal.
- White men dominate in executive positions at Fortune 500 companies, thus making them wealthier at rates greater than their presence in the population. This gives them power. Re-balancing this gross and fascist inequity will require that a relatively high number of white males (and many are underperforming, unless we believe that they are simply better at leadership) either lose their jobs altogether or settle for a demotion.
- White women dominate executive positions in publishing companies. Thus, they are more likely as a group to be published and, as a result, more likely to win awards. This observation is born by reality, in which a paucity of women of color are published. This favoritism is a direct result of white privilege, and centuries of it. Will these white women have the courage to give back some of these positions to others who’ve never had a chance? How about publishing more books by WOC? If this was a zero-sum situation, would that individual white liberal be able to maintain magnanimity, or would he/she/them resort to white supremacy and take advantage (as has happened for centuries);
- Reparations: it is a national embarrassment that less than 100% of white people aren’t eager to pay these, never mind that only a minority supports them. This is a fundamentally immoral stance, therefore, shared by a majority of whites.
All too often, I hear liberal whites throwing the responsibility for white supremacy in the laps of overt white supremacists, when white supremacy is covertly supported just as vigorously by white liberals. A dishonesty pervades the attitudes of many white liberals in their exoneration of themselves. I do believe a sense that they may need to take responsibility for helping to right what was — and is — an economic crime against others prevents white liberals from taking the next step.
For example, if a white liberal gets a promotion, s/he quickly reverts to assuring herself and others that, because sheis so liberal, she will be able to help minorities with her promotion. This is disingenuous, and lacks the honesty — however brutal — of an overt white supremacist. POC don’t want ‘help’ from white people because we don’t need it.
We need white people to remove the foot of racial superiority off our necks. We are fully capable of superlative performance; what we are lacking is acknowledgement of it, and the financial remuneration which should result. This will require that white people admit their collective advantage, regardless of how they feel as individuals.
True anti-racist work means acknowledging not only history but also the present, and acting effectively, even if it means that others will now get the promotion, reward, publication, etc etc which typically automatically goes to whites…