The Loophole in the Use of Language While Discussing Racism by Kaolin
I was on social networking site for a while a few weeks ago and I noticed the tone of discussions about racism included lots of cursing. I curse but one of the tricky parts of cursing while discussing racism is not a question of anger at all or even intolerance but rage thru cursing because it turns people-off. The problem with cursing when discussing racism is that there is an inference of disrespect which simply gets confused in the process & ends up becoming more imp. than the discussion about racism itself, which is sad and distracting.
Discussions about racism cannot afford distractions.
No one needs to apologize for anything but they do need to be crystal clear when in opposition to one another. Racism was designed to fracture relationships which makes our job harder because our solidarity is rooted in our humanity, not the other way around.
White people can be real good about 'hearing' the truth, the anger of POC about racism. They [we] can be. But I have seen white's get very confused by frank input. It seems to challenge some of them to the core. But of course WOC have also been challenged to the core for centuries with all kinds of hell breaking' lose in their families, community, the country and the world.
Yet it is interesting we cannot draw a comparison between us no matter how hard we may try. It is more like we are teaching each other about the reality we live with within our bodies, black and white.
I have attended more local white meetings about racism and these past few years have been an awakening to the violence in racism many have said they were unaware of till now. Mostly due to the economy which has effected them, their families, friends and work places .I am convinced that if there had not been a recession that so deeply affected them, the insensitivity to racism may have remained as it was in the '90's.
Generationally-speaking, at least they are stepping up and out, however quietly with a great articles from books that are relevant, news clipping, and links to programs, etc. It is like they are coming alive with real authenticity that can make a difference.
One bone of contention however that is universal so far, is being yelled at or cursed out. It is not simply the expression of anger that gets white women, we are much stronger than that and do know what rage is. We do. However lots of us come from sexually and verbally abusive childhoods. We have spent our lives in recovery or assist others in that process and will continue to. So discourse about racism is especially imp. and being yelled at or cursed at about racism just doesn't work. I noticed that everywhere I go. That kind of expression of anger shuts me down and turns me off. And no I do not plan to get over it or beyond it because I also need to pick and choose what I am willing to work on.
Anger can be confusing. It represents so many challenges to white people & contradictions to many POC as well. Anger displaces us as I believe it does everyone. It is meant to confuse and hurt when directed against a peer or loved one and it does. Clarity is better. It just keeps a flow going.
We cannot intimidate each other in order to convince one another of anything. The patriarchy does that all the time to women. We can't do that to one another. Clarity and precision is better. When I start to be cursed at because of my belief or understanding or even a misunderstanding of something ... I start to lose respect or trust.
White people can and do recede into the background if they believe they are being abused. It is not simply the effect of white privilege but a survival technique that helped us when we were young or as older adults who have experienced domestic violence and/or abuse. Or, we have been saturated with an awareness of it in other parts of our lives.
Anyway, the friction is teaching me something: White is white. Allies can empathize, relate, care and be dedicated to racial equality in a myriad of ways, but we will not be able to be of color or walk in anyone else's shoes but our own. And somehow or other white people still have a great deal to figure out about themselves regarding what to say and how to say it.
We all do.
Talking About Race: A Workbook About White People Fostering Racial Equality in Their Lives.