Along with racism is oppression. One is certainly bedfellows with the other. When we don’t like something we drive it away. We centralize the thing we dislike son we can avoid the area and visit when we wish, if ever. Mainly, we oppress to maintain supremacy. Even if were not doing this actively, our passivity and silence is enough said. Then we fill our schools and workplaces with people that we don’t think negative thoughts about or are in someway unconformable with. Even if its just our guilt. Oppression is the result.
Poverty. When we think negative thoughts about a group of people silently, attempt to corral them in centralized locations, passively and sometimes obviously block access to resources in the name of “we eat first” so to speak. When a class of people are treated like this for hundreds of years (I’m not even scratching the surface of our roles in passive racism, oppression, and poverty) they develop righteous mistrust but even sadder is they expect it. Not only do they feel ostracized (because they are) but they must teach their children how to not be hurt by it. How many white moms out there have had to teach their children how to cope with racism? How about oppression? Think about that for a minute. Persons of color talk about this around their dinner table and teach their children from birth of what to expect.
Everyone has a role to perform in this. First, just because your passive and silent doesn’t mean your conscious should be clear. Or that your off the hook.
Second, just because your not a person of color doesn’t mean you should remain silent. Hold your peers accountable and name the actions. Let’s hold ourselves accountable as well.
Third, if it seems like your not wanted in an organization or movement, or that they are against you and don’t want or need your help, rethink why that might be. Sometimes personal accountability and holding our peer network accountable is all we can do. Other times were simply being vetted for motives. Are you wanting to help so that you can show off your degree, credentials, humanitarianism? Those are the absolute wrong reasons. And still selfish, still oppressive. Sometimes our role is invisible, sometimes its doing it only for the sake of doing it.
Lastly, rethink your thoughts! Racism was taught to you. You overcome it by adding information that contradicts previous information. In other words, GO MEET PEOPLE! Its OK to talk to everyone on the elevator, have dinner with other families only for the sake of doing it. Go to rallies and social justice websites to read about what’s going on.
Passivity is agreement.