@veganelder, I thought I had written something once that addressed impact versus inten—and I was write. In fact, I’ve written a couple of pieces on the topic. After re-reading the piece, I wish I could repost it again in its entirety, but Medium doesn’t allow for that. But what I can do is post the first few paragraphs here along with a link to the full essay. And let’s keep the conversation going. Thanks for opportunity to resurrect an old piece. (Try to overlook any typos.) 😉
“The Whitewashing of Racism: How White Supremacy Covers Intent, Impact, and Culpability"
There’s a school of thought that purports in matters of racism, nice makes it right. Essentially, if one regards oneself as a good person the thoughts whitewash decades of abject racist acts one has committed and rewrites volitional hatred as an innocent mistake. Adherents also believe for anyone to label the actors and behaviors as “racist” is . . . well, unseemly. Believing a conviction, no matter how deeply held, does not make it so.
Case in point.
I live with spondylo-epiphyseal dysplasia (yes, it’s a mouthful), but in short, it’s a type of dwarfism. In my stocking feet, I stand forty-eight inches tall. I don’t see myself as short because the fact of the matter is that height is what’s typical for me. I’ve never existed at a comparatively taller height and then lost a few inches to become “short.” In the context of spondylo-blah-biddy-blah, a height of four feet is “normal” for me. But in the context of the rest of the population, I am indeed short. I can believe the opposite throughout the core of my being, but the reality is that I am short.
I keep saying this because it bears repeating: context is king. People don’t live in fishbowls, test tubes, or controlled environments. We live in the context of community. We interact with others and our lives are interdependent with each other, no matter how independent and free-wheeling we’d like to believe we are.
Link to the full story: https://medium.com/p/286586a7da5f (or here: https://www.ohfweekly.org/the-whitewashing-of-racism/)