As one of the white people who wrote to you, offering to meet to talk about issues of white privilege and internalized superiority that all white people are raised with in this culture— it is with dismay to me that you wrote this week that the offer was, “all good intentioned, but I felt each (offer) had the air of your column is not how progressive white people talk about race in public.”
Clearly you have never had the opportunity to work with other white people who, committed to undoing white surpremist-ideology, internally as well as in our society, offer love, support, and a space forward for undoing what the white culture has indoctrinated us with.
As many know, the main divide in this country is race, and has been since the genocide of native people’s, slavery and the building of the US off these two historical realities. There has never been an apology, reparations , or real reconstruction. It all has continued on, in different forms -- in response to, and crumbs offered, because of the great struggles of African-American people for freedom. White people who are poor, even if they grew up with class oppression, are in a completely different position. White GLBT people do not share this history nor is it similar enough for us to offer advice on. First, let’s get our foot off the backs of people of color in the hundreds of ways this is done daily.
My invitation to you was an invitation to gather together with others, to be part of a white solidarity movement that takes racism seriously and knows that our white cultures must be rebuilt. We can’t do it alone—we need each other to be there. This work is the work of a lifetime— having an inter-racial child , lover, or friends will not do it. It is not people of color’s responsibility to teach us what is going on. We have to know history and open our eyes to ourselves, our family, our history books, and to what takes place around us every day. This is our problem— if we are sincere in transforming our culture and country.
My offer to you still stands. Let’s get together and talk. It is not about what is acceptable in public, it is about becoming allies in the building of a new anti-racism community that can truly stand in solidarity with communities of color.
Malkah B. Feldman