Bryan, you make valid points, very valid points. We all have prejudices, but in an effort to “level the playing field,” let’s not close our eyes to some significant “bad plays.” I’m sure you’re aware that racism is ultimately about power, and for minorities, the prejudices of the group of people with the power — white Americans — have had decidedly more impact on the lives minorities than the other way around. So as people of varying races try to engage one another in meaningful dialog, let’s not put our thumb on the scale in the name of making things palatable for those with the power because minorities are living in circumstances that are much less than equitable.
This may be about semantics, but then again aren’t a number of problems solved by the use of words? I think it comes down to admitting that a problem exists. “We” kinda puts words in the other person’s mouth and a burden of responsibility on their back, when that may not be the case at all. Getting the other person to acknowledge that a problem exists doesn’t put them on the defense and extends a non-threatening invitation from one person to another to join in attacking the problem, not the other person. Back to the snow example, using “I think there’s breakdown in communication here” versus “we have a problem here” to the person who has no frame of reference for snow. It’s not a problem for the person from the Tropical clime that they don’t know anything about it; but a breakdown in communication is something they both can agree upon and work to clarify.
Idunno … just a few random thoughts.
It seems to me that the white Americans who disengage from conversations about race do so because they, on an intuitive level, know that there’s an imbalance in power in this country and that white Americans are imbued privileges. So by even getting close to the topic, they assume the other person will presume that they are the root cause of racism. That’s a false sense of guilt. And a lot of them don’t want to go there.
Yes, racism truly is an equal opportunity offender.
But, hey … thanks for your time. Good to read your thoughts. I hope you enjoyed the piece. You can find several other related essays here. I’m currently at work on a piece that I’m sure will get a number of people talking. For all the right reasons.
Ciao for now.