I have talked before about occupying two worlds here Mixed Race, Tortillas, and #DecolonizeLutheranism so I don’t really feel the need to talk about it again. I will say that I am constantly trying to deal with the white privilege that I have while at the same time being Latino and not always understanding were white folk are coming from.
I’ve also attended more Anti-Racism classes than I can remember. They have taken many forms whether they be 2 hours, 6 hours, or weekend events with multiple sessions. The programs have looked different with some being more engaging than others.
Anyway, in general, my problem with anti-racism classes are not the classes themselves but that everyone attending are at different places.
For some they need to be convinced that systemic racism and white privilege are real things. They want it solely make it about the individual action and intentions that people have. And since they don’t have those they can’t be racists. One reason being shown how it works on a systems level is essential to understanding what People of Color experience on a daily basis.
Others strongly believe that racism is a problem still and understand that systemic racism is prevalent but that somehow they stand outside of that problem. As if being a white liberal exempts them from having bigotry and prejudice in their own hearts. These folks act as if racism is something that exist purely at a systemic reality and they, being enlightened, exist outside of it. White liberals are racist too.
For People of Color, they are made aware that this space isn’t really for them. At one of the most recent events I went to we are asked was that if we had ever had a Latino in our home. My brother responded, “Every damn day.” Three of us who are Latino started laughing. That wasn’t a questions that was for us. So, I question what is there for us in these events?
I find myself feeling so awkward in these spaces because I am embarrassed for people. Vulnerability could just be white fragility. Anger could just be unprocessed paralyzing white guilt.
Surely there is another way. Am I being too critical here?