Last week I promised a Man Crush Monday you wouldn’t want to miss, so today I hope I am delivering on that promise. I give you, dear readers, George Yancy and Dear White America. It is well worth a read. I browsed the comment section and there were some good, thoughtful responses in there. Of course, there are also the usual “not all whites” and “I’m not privileged because of something my ancestors did” and “I’ve got black friends” folks that feel the need to chime in on any articles referring to race, gender, or social class. Boring and predictable.
And, unfortunately Professor Yancy reports some extremely disturbing responses via e-mail, snail mail and telephone. I sometimes think that you can gauge the veracity of a claim, in part, by the number of folks who attempt to silence the claimant. Anyway, you can read Professor Clancy’s thoughts on this experience here: The Perils of Being a Black Philosopher.
I think that racism in America is a systemic issue. If you deny its existence I don’t even know what to say to you – do you also deny climate change? Do you believe the earth is flat? Do you see Elvis at the supermarket?? And I think that wallowing in guilt lets us off the hook, in a sense, because it makes the issue all about us. This issue, I think, is about the experiences of other people who are harmed by institutional racism. I’m a pragmatist, so I feel that I need to acknowledge my privilege and then look for practical ways to help folks who don’t share that privilege. This blog is a small part of my activism. My research and political activities are also designed to foment positive changes in nursing and health care. White America, we can do better.