People of Color Discussion and Thoughts #poc #racism
On Monday of this week, my boss talked about a conference he has been attending for the last 3 years. My boss has been going to the People of Color Conference. He shared these ideas with the staff and his presentation was amazing.
During the presentation, my boss mentioned that he has read “Witnessing Whiteness” by Shellie Tochluk and “Waking Up White” by Debby Irving. Other staff members added “Between the World and Me“ by Ta-NeHisi Coates and “White Like Me“ by Tim Wise. It was suggested to read Dear White America article from the NY Times. As much as we try to erase racism, it is still here. The definitions of racism, racist, prejudices were discussed. The idea of white privilege was discussed. One teacher uses Race: The Power of an Illusion from PBS during class to start discussions. Another teacher uses the Implicit Test from Harvard to show students their own prejudices. Yet another shared “Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” which is a checklist of things that mean you are privileged.
I feel like an open-minded person, but I know I have prejudices. I also know what it feels like to be the only white around. While living in an industrial part of Shanghai, China, I got those blank stares. Sometimes I felt like the locals had never seen a white person before. Of course, I still had the “white privilege”. Even though I was a minority, white people are still looked up to. As I traveled around Asia, everywhere I went, people spoke English. English is the “white” language. I felt grateful that I knew English, but also realized that it was a privilege to be in the majority. Everyone around the world wants to learn English.
If you want to see horrible social media examples of white privilege, check out White Whine by Streeter Seidell. He even wrote a book compiling them.
So how can we change this? The first step is to just be aware. Be a witness when you can to stop racism from happening. Call people out on this. Try to be open-minded.