“If you are white, therefore, you are American. So where does that put everyone else who isn’t?” inquires Suzette Chang, Cultural Anthropologist, Founder, and CEO of Thick Descriptions. In today’s episode host D-Rich sits down with guests Suzette Chang, Speaker Vic Sorrell, and Anti-Racism Leadership Coach Jill Nagle to talk about white supremacy mythology and how to navigate white fragility when speaking about racism.
White people tend to look at racism as an intentional action, one they as “good white people” would never participate in. However, due to whiteness being the structural basis for socialization, white people cannot escape the inherent biases that result from the socialization process. White supremacy is a mythology in that it is an invented belief system that has been woven into our society to keep white people in power while keeping Black and Brown people in oppressive situations for hundreds of years. In order to make progress radicalizing white people to be anti-racist, they have to first understand that racism is not about being a good or bad person. And speaking about race is not in itself a racist undertaking. White people often become uncomfortable anytime race is mentioned, especially if they are addressed as “white” because of the stigma built into society around racism as a morality issue rather than a structural one. To become anti-racist, they must recognize themselves as living in a world where their whiteness is not racialized in the way that every other race is.
Join Suzette Chang, Vic Sorrell, Jill Nagle, and host D-Rich on this week’s episode of Southern Soul Live Stream - Podshow to learn more about navigating discomfort and fragility when addressing the myth of white supremacy and its consequences.
• “When people of color, for instance, are willing to take the risk of letting a white person know how something that they did or said could be racist, a lot of times this simple word racism, the simple term racist, because of the fact that white fragility is so real, will shut down a white person to the point that they can't hear anything. They can't hear the gift that they are being given. They can't listen. Because they're so distracted with the way our society has shaped racism to the point that it isn't able to be perpetuated.” (24:11-25:05 | Vic)
• “When we keep racism in the context of good and bad people, then we spend more time as white people defending our moral character than we ever do listening to how our socialization is coming out of us.” (27:59-28:10 | Vic)
• “If you are white, therefore, you are American. So where does that put everyone else who isn’t?” (33:01-33:08 | Suzette)
• “The term white really does not exist, it was created. And so there was a time where to be white meant you were male, Christian, and you owned land. So that meant Jews weren’t white. That meant Protestants weren't white. It did not speak to phenotype. It was not a biological factor. It was a status, it was a privilege. So this has existed before America was born.” (37:05-37:48 | Suzette)
• “How do we as white people solve this heinous, horrific, yet again fatal problem of white supremacy?” (44:50-45:03 | Jill)
• “These white people who are committing murders are expressing for the collective white body. The collective distress of white supremacy and mythology. They're expressing a psychosis which is not simply of their making. This is 400 years in the making. And they are only the most visible and most fatal expressions of that psychosis.” (46:51-47:19 | Jill)
• “When we talk about white supremacy mythology, I'm referring to the incorrect beliefs which are this notion that white people are somehow superior to others. Which is not true, of course. But it's so deeply woven into our thoughts, the music that plays in a mall, who the superheroes on TV are, who's considered beautiful, meritorious, worthwhile, important, who makes us comfortable. And it's been dictated by white comfort zones.” (49:54-50:32 | Jill)
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