Saturday, December 26, 2015

Dear White America by Professor George Yancy

Powerful reflection by Emory Professor George Yancy on internalized sexism and white privilege from The Stone, New York Times Opinionator Blog.  It's refreshing to read from a man owning up to his sexism and then drawing a direct line from this to so-called "white innocence" with respect to white racial privilege.  I like how he asks all of us to be honest and transparent with ourselves, owning up to race and gender privilege, turning the otherwise outward gaze on racial and gender privilege inwardly.  In order for any of us to have any hope of bettering ourselves in ways that makes a real difference in society, he ask us to first put ourselves under the microscope so that we might emerge as enlightened, compassionate, and yes, more loving, human beings.

It provides a good followup to my earlier post, White people react to evidence of white privilege by claiming greater personal hardships.

Credit Todd Heisler/The New York Times
In 2015, I conducted a series of 19 interviews with philosophers and public intellectuals on the issue of race. My aim was to engage, in this very public space, with the often unnamed elephant in the room.
These discussions helped me, and I hope many of our readers, to better understand how race continues to function in painful ways within our country. That was one part of a gift that I wanted to give to readers of The Stone, the larger philosophical community, and the world.
The interviewees themselves — bell hooks, Cornel West, Judith Butler, Peter Singer, David H. Kim, Molefi Kete Asante among them — came from a variety of racial backgrounds, and their concerns and positions were even more diverse. But on the whole I came to see these interviews as linked by a common thread: They were messages to white America — because they often directly expressed the experience of those who live and have lived as people of color in a white-run world, and that is something no white person could ever truly know firsthand.
That is how I want to deliver my own message now. 

Continue reading here.

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