"When a government was created by misogynist, white supremacist criminals for the purpose of legitimating genocide, land-theft, rampant immorality, slavery, monetized rape and wealth building for whites-only, all in the name of 'freedom', this is the kind of warped society you get."
--Crystal M. Fleming, author of How to Be Less Stupid About Race
Twitter | 12:10 p.m. | 28 September 2018
If you are white, how do you hear this particular telling of U.S. history? What is your visceral reaction? Are you offended by it? Repulsed by it? Do you "get it" intellectually but not emotionally? Or is it a gut-punch?
Just a couple of years ago, I would have read this telling of U.S. history as understandable but also shocking. Today I read it and nod. Rather than reactive shock, there's a sharp intake of breath. I feel profoundly overwhelmed by all the work that remains before us, not to mention within us if we are white. It's a gut-punch, in other words, but of a different type. I am learning to listen differently: more openly, more deeply, less reactively.
If you struggle with listening non-reactively as a white person, you may benefit from reading the work of Robin DiAngelo, who coined the term "white fragility." She has a new book-length treatment out, but the gist can be found here: "Why It's So Hard to Talk to White People About Racism."
Then, when you are ready, check out Fleming's book too.