"[W]hen things get real — really murderous, really tragic, really violent or aggressive — my white, liberal, educated friends already know what to do. What they do is read."

"And talk about their reading. What they do is listen. And talk about how they listened. What they do is never enough. This isn’t the time to circle up with other white people and discuss black pain in the abstract; it’s the time to acknowledge and examine the pain they’ve personally caused. Black people live and die every day under the burdens of a racism more insidious than the current virus that’s also disproportionately killing us. And yet white people tend to take a slow route to meaningful activism, locked in familiar patterns, seemingly uninterested in really advancing progress. Theirs is still a world of signs and signaling, where actions like joining book clubs — often based in some 'meaningfully curated' readings that are probably easy to name: 'White Fragility,' 'How to Be an Anti-Racist,' 'Between the World and Me,' maybe even 'All About Love' — take precedence.... [In social media] people write long posts about the need to examine white privilege, to 'name white supremacy,' and to either proudly denounce family members or call them in to conversations.... ... I know what happens next. In a handful of Sundays, my social media feeds will no longer have my white allies 'This'-ing, or unpacking their whiteness or privilege, or nudging their kids to put down their tablets and march. Their book clubs will do what all book clubs do: devolve into routine reschedulings and cancellations; turn into collective apologies for not doing the reading or meta-conversations about what everyone should pretend to read next; finally become occasional opportunities to catch up over wine...."

From "When black people are in pain, white people just join book clubs/I’m caught in a time loop where my white friends and acquaintances perform the same pieties over and over again" by Tre Johnson (WaPo). If you're wondering what, in Johnson's view, is the right response, I can pick out the 2 words where he says it, and when you see them, you may think it's no wonder white people don't just snap to it and do what needs to be done: "dismantle systems."

ADDED: I read the top few highest-rated comments at the link, and they were all taking issue with Johnson's stereotyping of white people. What percentage of white people react to racial strife by cuddling up in book clubs murmuring about "White Fragility" and "Between the World and Me"?

No comments:

Post a Comment