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There is a class of white people who have always been vocal that they believe America belongs to them and they don't want the rest of us here. The question is why the supposedly "good white people" don't actually wanna talk about that.
The refrain we hear from the "good white people" all the time is "there are more of us than there are of them". Okay. So where y'all at? Where are the conversations? Where are the talk shows and the podcasts? Where is the actual resistance against white supremacy?
I wanna be clear what I'm talking about right now. Lots of white people want to talk to *me* about racism and white supremacy. Mostly because they want me to explain to them how to think about it and give them the answers on how to engage with it.
But if we look around, white people have never felt obligated to invite us to a conversation they wanted to have. They talk to each other without us constantly. But in the case of white supremacy, we don't see that. It's worth asking why that is.
The term I learned recently that has been burning a hole in my brain is "racial illiteracy". White people know they are not equipped to talk about race. They talk about people of color in the wrong way constantly. They don't talk about Whiteness at all.
This thread is mostly rhetorical. We already know the answer. White people don't want to talk about race because they're afraid of what will happen to them if we face it. The vast unknown of not being treated as "the default" is a terrifying prospect.
White people don't even know how to live in a world where they can't ignore racial and ethnic identity. They don't wanna learn either. Even for "good white people", not talking about race is a silent agreement in mass denial.
I know this argument is a common one. But lets really examine it. The reality is that white people make themselves responsible for stopping other people *all the time*.
Think about how comfortable white people have always been talking about things like "black on black crime", "the scourge of homosexuality", "the evils of Islam". The idea that they don't try to stop people they decide are "bad actors" is demonstrably false.
It's only when it's time to talk about Whiteness that white people decide there's nothing to be done and they're only responsible for themselves.
Y'all know I have been involved in the discourse around diversity in tech for many years. White people have gotten very comfortable talking about women in tech. "We shouldn't have so many men!" I have never gotten anybody to say "We shouldn't have so many white people".
You are correct. But why is that? HR departments are involved in "diversity efforts" right? Why does it only get tense when it's time to talk about Whiteness?
How do white people actually manage to compartmentalize talking about "diversity" without talking about Whiteness? That one is not a rhetorical question. I'd like to hear some thoughts if y'all have them.
Who's fault do white people think it is?
This is a good example of what I mean. This is a great topic. You can't stop white people from creating podcasts these days. Why aren't there any about this? I suspect part of it is that you don't get social status from talking about Whiteness.
Again, I'm not trying to give anybody a hard time. But I have to ask. Why can you only speak on your own experience? Dudes are so good at talking about things they don't know about that there's a name for it. Only with Whiteness can we get people to pause.
Another common answer I've gotten today is "white people don't think about it. They live in it like fish in water and it doesn't register."

For the record, I don't buy this either. Whiteness has been consistent in voting in it's own interest for centuries.
If white people didn't understand how to keep whiteness front and center, a lot of things would be different. This isn't an uncomplicated ignorance. I referred to it as a deep denial, and I meant that.
The question I'm asking is much, much simpler though. And people keep missing it. There are many white people who say they wanna do better at this. Why are they not finding a way to talk about it? Like they talk about every other thing.
This is a good example of a common misconception that persists in a world of racial illiteracy. People of color are forced to vote against their own interests constantly.
Folks like Matt will probably want to split hairs about the "lesser of evils" or whatever. But that's not voting in your own interest. And we could get at the nuance and why it's different if people actually wanted to talk about it.
Ask LGBT people if ousting Trump, with Pence being next in line, really feels like "acting in their best interest". It doesn't. Only people with privilege get to assume that everybody else's actions are as self centered as theirs are.
I agree with Karla. There is little social capital to be gained for white people who talk honestly about Whiteness. But doesn't that contradict the idea that there are supposedly so many "good white people" who want to change things?
I mean if there are so many good white people, shouldn't they all be ready to show up and reward having candid conversations about Whiteness? Make it popular and even lucrative? It is a thing y'all could do if there are enough of you.
We're back in the realm of rhetorical questions btw. I don't think that's how this works at all. Talking about Whiteness will never be something white people clamor for. It feels terrible. As it should.
It's worth pointing to some previous thoughts I was working through on what to do about Whiteness.
I wanna try again to convey something important. White people do not need permission from PoC to talk about Whiteness. I understand why it feels that way. And I believe I can sympathize with why it feels so fraught to do so. But it's not us that's keeping you from doing it.
Many white people get tripped up because it's easy to conflate talking about "diversity" with talking about Whiteness. You DO need us to lead conversations about increasing diversity. But that's not the same thing as talking about Whiteness.
When I say talk about Whiteness, I mean talking about your identity and what it means to you. I mean talking about the history of that identity and how it relates to the reality you find yourself in today. It means talking your relationship to other people with that identity.
You don't need permission to talk about your identity. Even if non-white people give you a hard time about it, that doesn't mean you can't talk about it. It just means your identity carries a lot of baggage and that will be part of the sacrifice.
It is extremely difficult to navigate talking about Whiteness. You can't talk about racial identity without putting it in context with other races. And talking about white people's relationship to non-white people is a fucking minefield. I get it.
But I'm pretty sure that is the work that needs to be done. The minefield analogy is a good one. If you find yourself in a minefield, standing still is a good way to stay alive. But you can never get out of it. Your progress is effectively halted.
This has been a long thread, and a long journey. But I see a lot of white people coming along in some important ways by allowing themselves to examine these questions. I want to try to wrap up by putting things back in context.
Whiteness is an identity. It is not a default. It is not the absence of race. All of the complexities that come with racial identity also come with Whiteness. If white people aren't finding ways to talk about that identity, it is akin to denying a part of yourself.
The reason that it's important to keep pushing at this core idea is that there are some white people who do not shy away from talking about Whiteness. And right now they control the whole conversation about Whiteness.
White supremacy is a system. But it also has agents who work to preserve it. White supremacy *cannot* be dismantled without active opposition. As long as "good white people" have no relationship to Whiteness, they cannot work to oppose those who *do* seek to define it.
The agents of white supremacy have taken control of our very nation. They are continuing to define what Whiteness means for future generations. "Good white people" cannot stand against this if they don't find their place in what's happening right now.
Obama couldn't save you. AOC can't save you. Harris can't save you. If you let people of color sacrifice themselves without you learning anything about yourself and your relationship to your history, you'll still be stuck in that minefield.
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