One of my many privileges is white skin. I use it in white circles to point out hypocrisy and racism, whether it is casual or overt – they are the same and should be handled as such.
While the person that I am speaking to may be upset that I called them out, I won’t face any consequences outside of not being invited to that asshole’s parties. That’s a huge privilege.
I am willing to go through the discomfort of sitting through an adult tantrum and labeled as difficult if it means the chance of making one person less comfortable with putting people of color down.
It’s as easy as being willing to be disliked by assholes. Try it. It’s the least we can do.
I watched a great clip on The Daily Show where Trevor Noah was interviewing Eli Saslow and Derek Black, Eli had just put out a book called “Rising Out of Hatred: The Awakening of a Former White Nationalist”. Eli Saslow had gone to college with Derek Black, a person who had been raised a white nationalist. By patiently challenging his beliefs, over and over again for years he was able to give Derek a chance to see the fundamental error in his beliefs. Below is the conclusion of the interview, which I find most important:
“The only thing that undermines a white nationalist who is trying to ramp somebody up to a more extreme version of racism is somebody in the room challenging those beliefs. Keeping it from escalating and reminding them that what they’re saying is wrong… it’s a white person in the room who has the strongest voice to counteract a racist thought. We were aware of that as white nationalists.
We were explicitly aware that if you’re talking to somebody and you’re trying to get them to go from ‘those Mexicans’ or maybe ‘the South side of Chicago is a problem’ and get them to escalate into ‘it’s about race’, the person who is going to ruin that for you is another white person who is saying ‘Stop that’. Because it’s equal, they have literal skin in the game and what they say shuts any sort of white nationalist racist thing you’re saying down and it stops the room.
And that’s the thing that people can do… It’s the the thing that anyone anywhere can do is speak up, because being silent is a choice.”
– Derek Black