If you are white and grew up in this country, it is overwhelmingly likely you would ‘test positive’ for racism. I am no exception.
In White Fragility, Robin DiAngelo makes a disturbing and sadly credible claim:
“white progressives cause the most daily damage to people of color. I define a white progressive as any white person who thinks he or she is not racist, or is less racist, or in the ‘choir,’ or already ‘gets it.’”
A friend and colleague shared with me a list of 18 ‘detours’ we well-intentioned white folks take, that lead us away from the steep craggy path that we must climb. These are things that white people do or say or think that make us white progressives feel better but actually give us an excuse not to dig deeper into our own racist programming. At one time or another, some more recently than I would care to admit, I checked nearly every box.
Here’s the thing about being serious about stepping up:
There’s no destination.
There’s no certificate of completion.
You’re never done.
If you’re looking for claps on the back from your black friends and colleagues you’re doing it wrong.
If you’re scared of being accused of ‘performative allyship’ or ‘virtual signaling,’ the only way to avoid it is to hide. That’s not OK.
Have a look and see how you stack up. Leave your ego at the door.