I might look suspicious– if not for white privilege.

Racism is a white problem. Preferences and prejudices are universal. An ‘-ism’ needs power and privilege to make it real.

When I say racism is a white problem, I mean white people belong to a majority group, a dominant group, we have the power to enforce our prejudices. I think most white people do this in very subtle ways and would be horrified to realize they are doing it that all.

When I say racism is a white problem, I do not intend to dismiss or minimize the impact it has on people of color. Instead, I would liken it to a disease that afflicts the privileged. Unlike a disease, it can only be changed by those who are afflicted.

In an article published in the Atlantic, Teju Cole  talks about the White Savior Industrial Complex. The theme I took away from the article was about well-intentioned white people trying to do good in short spurts. Meanwhile, the slow and steady support of oppressive regimes, inequitable trade relations, discrimination, racial profiling and everyday microaggressions continues.

This is, all at once, too large and complex a problem to even think about and also so small we can’t NOT address it. We can confront our prejudice and privilege every day, one incident at a time.

Carl Jung talked about the importance of embracing our shadow-side. It’s not easy. Who wants to think of themselves as racist? But pretending racism is a thing of the past or limited to fringe supremist groups doesn’t make it go away. Only by acknowledging white privilege and the racist climate we live in, can we begin to see what we are doing to perpetuate the problem.

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