I know you are thinking, “seriously? Empathy for racists? Is she really going there?” I really am.
I abhor racism. My definition of racism is that you treat someone in a substandard way simply because of their race. This could be systematic or individualized, there are many forms. As a woman I am familiar with “women’s issues” and wonder why the topic of the gender that accounts for half of the population on this earth merits a “special interest” kind of label. I’m guessing that is how it can feel to be a person of color;that is being treated like an anomaly when, depending on the location, you might be in the majority demographic. When you deal with the hard and soft realities of prejudice on a daily basis, you are living in a different frame that those not experiencing those realities. This is part of the disconnect when you hear a (usually white) person saying, “why does it always have to be about race?”. It is always about race because a person of color never experiences life in the same frame as a white person does in this country.
It’s undisputed that white people arrived in this country, conquered or killed most of its inhabitants, prospered off of the rich land, enslaved people of color, prospered off of their labor, and as a group have held more powerful positions than any other demographic in the land. That accumulation of power and position has only been shifted slightly by the election of our first black president; you certainly can’t undo hundreds of years of slavery, oppression and domination with 4 years of anything. Continue reading