Unlike many of my attempts at puns, this time the title is plain and simple. I realized it was way past time I put my reading where my online mouth was. Protests about police brutality and racism are shaking the foundations (I hope) of this country. As a liberal progressive gay dude, I always considered myself sufficiently “woke”. I assumed that if I could not always avoid racist behavior, at least I was fully aware of it.
Spoiler alert: I wasn’t.
The first book I read on the subject was Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility. And it was certainly an eye-opener. I think that, coming from a predominantly white Eastern European country, I had an easier time with the premise. It has been literal decades since I thought of racism as “actively hating others for the color of their skin”. I know it’s far more pernicious, and that it has metastasized into society’s structures in ways that many people would struggle to recognize.
What I did not expect to learn, was that most white people refuse to recognize them. And how much the recognition feels like a powerful assault to their sense of self. I am excluding myself from this statement, but I likely shouldn’t. Even if I am partially an outsider to this culture, I am also a part of it. And I have no doubt that I share many of its failings. Suffice to say, I learned a lot.
Currently powering through Ibram X. Kendi’s How to be an Antiracist, and following that, I will get to Ijeoma Oluo’s So You Want to Talk About Race. Will report on progress next week.