You've done a pretty good job with a few things that I want to address, although I too appreciate the largely civil exchange since it's not all that common. I also appreciate you trying to better understand where I'm coming from.

I don't think white men should be resisted or fought. They too suffer under this dominance hierarchy. I simply note that they still wield the vast majority of social, political, and economic power and are therefore in a unique position to have maintained this inequality as well as to be able to address it with more impact.

You can comment on anything you like, but no-one gets to tell someone else what to feel or what their priorities should be, particularly when they have no experience with the issue. Telling someone to stop whining about something like micro-aggressions is extremely condescending. I routinely experience micro-aggressions related to my gender, and it's both infuriating and also grinds down my spirit. Not being able to escape that has a cumulative impact that causes mental distress. I can only imagine what that would be like to endure that day in and day out for the color of my skin. Racial trauma is a medically recognized issue that causes anything from PTSD to depression to other mental health impacts. You don't get to dismiss that out of hand as being no big deal or something that others should just get over in favor of larger problems (which are also a part of the same harmful dynamic).

I believe that racism will never be sufficiently impacted unless we discuss all of the systemic and implicit ways that it is taking place and the roots of that. In the US there has been racial sensitivity training and sexual harassment awareness training since the 1970s and the needle hasn't really moved on those issues because it's not getting to the heart of things. People are acting out dominance posturing without even realizing that's what they are doing, in large part because deep in their subconscious is the feeling that this is just how things are, and that's it's natural and unavoidable. We can't challenge that unless we talk about it.

I think the key point of contention on this topic is around those who are looking at themselves as an individual who is responsible for his/her own actions and behaviors and knows that they have no malice in their intentions. I'm looking at it from the point of view of both the results (the culture is still hugely racist, and there's a lot of push back against those who are trying to speak about that and improve it) as well as how we all contribute to that culture, either with knowledge of that contribution or more subtly.

I think my identity as someone who wants to be seen as "good" and "not a racist" is a lot less important than the impact on those on the receiving end of this dynamic who are suffering. In fact, a POC commenter on this story said something to that exact effect. This person's white friends were so busy talking about how not racist they were during the George Floyd protests, all the while expressing a lot of unconscious bias towards the protesters. That's exactly how racism continues to be a major issue, in my opinion. When white people make this about them, and about their non-culpability, rather than noticing that we have the society that we tolerate, racism continues to be a huge issue that harms a lot of people.

I understand that you don't want to be blamed for something that you didn't personally do, but we all co-create our culture together and there is no escaping that, particularly if you come from the demographic that has always upheld and enforced the paradigm. In US law, if you are a part of group in which someone commits felony murder, everyone gets charged with it, whether they pulled the trigger or not. That's the analogy I'm coming from.

I hope that makes a bit more sense to you. I have no antogonism towards whites. I am one. I have no hatred of men - I'm in love with two of them and am the mother of a son. But I do hold responsible the social system and power dynamics that have always had white men at the helm. They are the apex of the dominance hierarchy, and as long as they are defending their place there as only right and natural, whether overtly or more indirectly, that destructive social system will continue. Women have to do their part as well, particularly white women, but they still hold a fraction of the insitutional power, so I take that into account.

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Dispelling cultural myths with research-driven stories. My favorite word is “specious.” Not fragile like a flower; fragile like a bomb! Twitter @ElleBeau

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