I think this is a great article: very honest and pragmatic.

I would add that we do need individual white action. I think you are right: these are collective issues, and white 'shame' likely won't lead to the highest amount of mobilization.

But 'mobilization' CAN involve individual action. I believe it must include individual admission of privilege. When we ask how the building blocks of social dominance happen, we see that these are manifest in red-lining (housing), increased rates of incarceration for Black males, and a much longer list of items. Also, we see that leadership is grossly distorted in favor of white pp--the places where decisions are made and voices are heard are still grossly over-dominated by white 'leadership.'

Many of these pp think that they ARE anti-racist. But they continue to give the benefits to other white pp., thus automatically excluding POCs. This happened for my entire 30 year career and is still very active, in publishing houses, C suites, Board of Directors appointments, government, etc. Why are they still giving higher level rewards to white pp while claiming anti-racism? This is overt hypocrisy.

Individual white pp can make an individual contribution by admitting that they, as an individual, have racial advantage that AUTOMATICALLY damages others when it rewards them, especially in arena where that reward seems especially appealing. At that point, I see individual white pp pointing 'over there' to other white pp who are the 'prejudiced ones.' In highly competitive, zero-sum arena, privilege seems to take over and white pp dominate. That is one reason the 'zero-sum' conversation--one people don't like bc it 'isn't nice,' must be had. It is in zero-sum settings that the most attractive items are negotiated, almost always in favor of white pp.

I suggest, as a pragmatic approach of individual white pp, to default to 'privilege,' not 'merit,' AND THEN ACT ON THAT. Most pp default to their own 'merit,' bc we all want to feel good about earning on our own. But the reality is that white privilege not only erodes but sometimes fully eliminates need for that merit due to white privilege.

Let me give you an example: we have a white friend who is very liberal, by her own account, and holds mostly liberal views. She thinks she's anti-racist. She acknowledges that white pp are offered more opportunity in terms of promotions, awards, etc. YET, she can't admit it about herself. HER PROMOTION came on the basis of 'merit.' No matter how many times we tried to explain to her that ALL white pp carry that privilege, she refused to see it. She continued to INSIST that 'other white pp are taking promotions that should be going to POCs, BUT NOT ME. I EARNED mine."

If we examine this, we see that this INDIVIDUAL white person who has defaulted to acknowledging white privilege exists as institutional will not acknowledge how that privilege lifted her up, very likely at a POCs expense.

This is where white pp as individuals can do anti-racist work. If each white INDIVIDUAL tosses that responsibility to somebody else, then no white individual is doing the right thing. This is the work that INDIVIDUAL white pp can do: if white privilege exists, and you are white, then you are benefiting from it, and often at a POC's expense. She obligates other white pp to do it--but somehow excuses herself.

We call this 'white psychosis' and it is BOTH collective and individual. White pp can do things themselves as individuals, but those things won't feel good. Because most pp want to believe they earned what they have, white pp will smack into a conflict when they realize that, in some or even high likelihood, their privilege (ie, free ride ie NOT MERIT) took it from somebody else.

White pp do need to consider this individual contribution. There won't be changes if each white person thinks white privilege is separate from them and 'over there' with 'other white pp'. It IS demoralizing to realize that what you have may not have been earned and ALSO came to you at another person''s expense.

But it is much more demoralizing to be that POC who didn't get what he/she/they actually earned, and ultimately, the most demoralizing behavior in any society is to have a group of pp who believes in 'merit' that doesn't exist, and continues to allow that lie to enrich them at the expense of others.

Individual white pp, when they receive a reward regardless of the context, should default FIRST to privilege, then consider 'merit.' I would refer you to Brian Lowery's work at Stanford for more detail...

Although collective and institutional realities are important, the building blocks of them--the individual responses--must also buttress these beliefs.

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She/Her: Distort lies until they amplify truth. CryBaby: As loud as necessary.

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