good words on racism from a white person

Yes, it does happen, folks – there are quite a few white folks out there in the mainstream media who have their heads on right and can talk good on racism. Here’s a great example – Alfred Lubrano, columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer. In two recent columns, he takes on the topic of racism. In the first, he reflects on the insidious nature of racism today:

Meantime, just because you don’t say the n-word doesn’t mean you’ve fixed the problem. Bias lives in all of us. And we can’t let our good intentions deceive us into thinking we’re handling race well.

He does think that there can be “truly unprejudiced people” who get that way through a life of “positive interracial experiences.” I don’t share that belief; call me a cynic, but to paraphrase the Avenue Q song of which I have never actually heard more than the first line, everyone’s a little bit prejudiced. But still, good stuff.

He got lots of angry letters after that column, many of which demanded to know why he didn’t also call out “black racism.” In a second column entitled “Listen up, white folks: your racism cuts deeper,” he responds:

America is a white-majority country. When one group has substantially more power than all others, its biases, prejudices, and mouth filth matter more.

And if whites possess the keys to the White House, the executive suite, the law firm, the construction company – not to mention the gun lockers in the police stations – then what they think about black people has greater weight and consequence than what black people think about them…

… lots more black people than whites have endured systemic, organized violence in this country. And my ancestors walked off the boats that brought them here unchained.

Refreshing, and a good addition to my little collection of “Racism 101″ writings. Speaking of which, I’ve been planning to create a section on my site that collects such materials on racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and other such things; if anyone has good suggestions of things to include, please share!

Many thanks to kristiangrrl over on the debunkingwhite Livejournal community for the heads up to the articles.

4 Responses to “good words on racism from a white person”


  1. 1 Dylan

    This is a great post. I wish I had such perfect words over Christmas dinner when my bigot uncle and I got into a discussion about racism. After the heated and very intense debate was dropped, my grandma said “don’t get into fights”… “why would I fight, grandma?”… “With all your prejudice stuff.” As if my antiracist views were going to get me beat up more than my uncle’s white supremacist ones. ::sigh::

  2. 2 Jack

    Ah, those political family arguments over holiday dinners. Warms the heart, doesn’t it?

  3. 3 sylviasrevenge

    Thanks for posting this. I’d only found the second column, and I find myself agreeing with the second column slightly more than the first. The information about bias seems fairly accurate, but when he gets to the part that can translate to “just spend time around the good brown people!” I kinda lose him. lol

    Mind if I link to the first article with you as my source? I’ll credit.

    (I found your site from BFP’s, by the way.)

  4. 4 Jack

    I also agree more with the second column than the first, and for similar reasons. But I think both do at least a decent job of breaking things down in a simple yet incisive way. And sure, go ahead and link, credit or no credit! I myself forgot to credit where I found these, need to add that.

    Also, thanks for finding my blog, and in turn, letting me find yours. :-)

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