You Don’t Have to be Bull Connor to Have Racism in You

…since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23)

I’m thinking she missed the point.

Let’s be clear with ourselves. I am a sinner. So are you. So is she. I’m also passing for white, because all my ancestors came from Europe, as far as I know. I’ve also accepted the accoutrements of white privilege since infancy, because they seemed normal, and hey, wouldn’t you?

So does all this make me a racist? Well, yes, of course, and maybe no. It depends who’s defining that and what their definition is. One thing I know for sure. If some white guy like me claims the right to define racism (or sexism) as his prerogative, then that’s racist (or sexist) in itself.

I may or may not be racist. That’s not for me to define. But I sure as shooting am capable of saying very stupid things from time to time. And the more ignorant I used to be about the tremendous stores of white (and male) privilege I accepted as “normal,” the more likely I was to play the ignorant fool.

The more defensiveness we hear, the more that commentors blurt out “but she wuz tellin’ thuh trooth,” the more that ignorance seduces ignorance. And the rest of us are just shaking our heads at you.

Here in New York, David Paterson will become Governor Monday. I’m hoping that by Wednesday, the fact that he’s an African American is old hat. As it should be.


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