I’m Okay, You’re Okay — A Practical Guide to Non-Racism for Dummies
The “North County” in which I reside is so resolutely “woke” that an aerial snapshot would likely define the area’s borders by a sort of pointillistic tinting — by dots of canary color, created by an exceptionally dense collection of yellow-and-black yard signs advertising that BLACK LIVES MATTER, as seen from above.
The town offers the requisite marches, speeches, and demonstrations for racial equity, climate justice, grievances against the names of sports mascots, and so on. We established a town committee on racial equity, justice, and inclusion. A popular and competent Town Manager has recently resigned, under pressure and in the midst of generalized accusations of racism.
In response to the forced resignation of this individual, one member of the town’s select board wrote, in part: “I benefit from my whiteness — and I am, by virtue of that whiteness, racist — in ways I will never overcome, no matter how hard I try. And I do try.”
Huh? This select board member is, by all accounts, quite a decent, intelligent, and hardworking person. Nevertheless, that claim is vacuous and sophomoric. In the claim, I hear the influence of Robin DiAngelo (author of “White Fragility”). She’s currently the subject of much swooning on a Facebook page dedicated to town issues, as is Robin’s ideological brother, Ibram X. Kendi. These two brilliant minds assure us that all white people are racist (DiAngelo) and that “no one can claim to ‘not be racist'” (Kendi).
This fashionable poppycock is coming soon to a “diversity, equity, and inclusion” training (indoctrination) session near you – possibly in your public school system… and likely at a nice financial profit for some “diversity trainer.”
The public self-flagellation of our select person is disturbing. Not least, because I am also white, and I am offended by the implicit accusation that, “by virtue of that whiteness,” I (too) am “racist.” As are my (white) children and my (white) nine-month-old grandchildren. By the way, if you are white, you’re a racist, also.
Surely, we as a nation understand that it is a false premise, as well as terribly, terribly corrosive to social unity, to attribute ugly traits to an entire group of humans (any humans), based simply on some immutable characteristic, such as skin color.
To be fair, I wonder if our select board member has thought through the claim. I may be wrong, but I suspect that she does not truly believe, in the secret depths of her heart, that she is racist. Yet, paradoxically, she may strive genuinely and earnestly to believe that she is guilty of that sin, in order to be able to prove by her belief, and by her sincere and faithful attempts to overcome her sin, that she is not racist. Convoluted reasoning, but how else to explain all these good people running around complimenting the Emperor’s beautiful new duds?
Here. Here and now, I will write what is true. Mine is not a fashionable opinion. Nor is my opinion destined to increase my popularity in North County or in today’s American Woke-O-Sphere. So be it. But here it is:
I am white, and I am NOT racist.
I do not close my eyes to the genuine and pernicious existence of racism.
I do fervently support serious efforts to uphold the American promise of equality.
Yet, multiple things can be true at the same time, and I refuse to rend my garments and pretend that my own skin color is an indelible mark of original sin, or to bow my head in shame and pretend that I am somehow “less than” due to my race. I reject the notion that I should be condemned for the rest of my days to (pointless, futile) attempts to (as the quote above notes) “overcome” my bone-deep racism, only to see those well-meaning but pitiful attempts doomed to failure, “no matter how hard I try.”
There. I said it. White, and not doomed to be a racist. “I am white and I’m okay.”
Let me predict with certainty: my words will NOT make it into print on any prominent yard signs in my town.