WHITE OUT: Understanding White Privilege and Dominance in the Modern Age.
All of us in dominate positions within any given culture, whether it is by race, gender, economics, education or some other distinction, are often unaware of how that privilege harms both us and those who are the “least of these.” And yet as Jesus clearly teaches, how we treat these who do not have what we have, will be the dividing standard. (Matt. 25)
Thus it becomes a spiritual necessity that we understand how to care for these whom Jesus places at the center of our responsibility. To assist in this two Azusa Pacific University professors, Christopher S. Collins and Alexander Jun have written a quick but necessary book they title: WHITE OUT: Understanding White Privilege and Dominance in the Modern Age.
These insights will encourage your purchase and study:
- We define Whiteness as a system…a larger system that has constructed such a dominant reality that it narrows our sense of choices and beliefs as it relates to race. The system in which we live and operate can be compared to architecture, or a design that creates limited choices one can make when it comes to moving into certain spaces, opening doors, staying or departing….much of reality (or architecture) is designed to be the best fit for one group. Because it is a dominant reality, any group for whom the architecture does not work, it is the fault of the persons in that group – a individual problem that could be adjusted by assimilating….Any segment of an organized body that is 51% White is predominately white.
- White people often respond to racialized pain with their own stories of hurt, pain, suffering and loss….However, we have found that White pain…can be used as an attempt to delegitimize the pain that people of color endure…the “I hurt too” trope also functions…as a way of diffusing White responsibility in the face of systemic racialized pain….Saying “I hurt too” erases the significance of systemic injustices and the systems that perpetuate them…One White person’s isolated, yet painful, experience does not measure the same as the Black American experience, whish represents generations of enslavement, of ancestors brought over on slave boats, laws created to prevent economic, physical, and psychological well being in the form of Jim Crow laws, redlining in real estate market, and the resultant subpar public education.
- Whitefluenza: White privilege is like a virus that evolves, mutates, and rapidly spreads; it is very difficult to prevent or defeat….Whitefluenza is perhaps more vibrant in persons who believe they have a deep understanding of diversity in a multicultural age.
- Quoting Aaron Goggans: “For many Black people, Ferguson protest [sic] are not a public pep rally for racial unity, they are a living wake. We are dying. We are being killed by the police. We are getting lynched by the media. Our souls are nearly suffocating by the pressure of being a problem.” White 22 – the feeling of futility that White people feel when they are criticized or challenged while engaged in racial justice….Patton and Bondi argued that White men have the most to lose in the pursuit of social justice. This may be true in some instances, but they also have something to profit by gaining the ability to navigate a new social space (see Whitefluenza and the early quote, “The very acknowledgement of our racism and privilege can be turned to our advantage.”
- Microforms of aggression and assault create hostile environments in which to work or study, they have real impacts on mental and physical health, lower productivity and perpetuate inequities. Although a paper cut or bee sting may be a small injury, a mass accumulation of those small injuries over a lifetime is severe.
- According to [Carol] Anderson, the fuel for White rage is fear of Black advancement…For example, famed President Abraham Lincoln once stated, “I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races,” which included opposition to voting, serving on juries, holding public office, or marrying across races…At eh end of his [Obama’s] presidency in 2016, an entirely new and energized White anger emerged to overtly defend White dominance. For example, a billboard appeared on a Tennessee road that said, “MAKE AMERICA WHITE AGAIN.”…A socially constructed fear about Black men becomes a fixture in White systemic thinking and fuels the White architecture of the mind….The combination of feelings of loss and neurotic anxiety exists in a volatile space in the White architecture of the mind. It is not only about individual feelings and actions, but also about the accumulation of feelings among Angry White men dispersed across a country and even the world in a way that supports White dominance.
- How can we deal with and handle hard conversations with people we care about?…We encourage readers to think long term and to not walk away from the conversation or the relationship. Listen and seek to understand how and why they might think the way they do, and, most of all, stay in relationship with them.
- Hope lies in the ability of friends in the dominant White majority to be part of the solution; advocates who use regularly and who remain critically conscious and active toward racial justice….studies show that implicit bias can [be] deconstructed….In the United States, Whiteness has afforded White people social and economic privileges that are not afforded to people of color. White people must be willing to accept that privilege is ensconced in the established systems to the detriment of people of color. Furthermore, White people can break down oppressive systems by confronting White privilege as allies with people of color…According [to] Frances Kendall, allyship requires a great deal of self-examination as well as a willingness to initiate personal, institutional and societal justice and equality….Racism has become pervasive, constant, and ingrained in established structures, but dominant populations often do not recognize or acknowledge racism’s reality…leading to denial and inaction.
- The time has come to be bold and courageous. Despite the temptation to give up and give in, we must persevere.
This is only a slight taste of the insight and depth of wisdom in this book. Purchase here and get a group together to study and act.