With the controversy surrounding Paula Deen and the n-word, it got me to thinking about how we white folks give ourselves a pass on racism in many instances. “I’m not a racist. I would never use the n-word!” type of thinking.
Using the n-word is not the only thing that white racists do. Here’s a non-comprehensive list of other things that white racists do. This is (very) mildly tongue in cheek. This is meant to make you think. It’s not about shame. I can write this because I’ve done/said many of things in my life too. Heck, still do some of ’em sometimes.
Racism is systemic. It’s endemic in our white American society. And the only way it can stop is when white people start owning up to it, recognizing it and then actively working against it.
How to Tell If You’re a White Racist
You (think you) don’t judge people based on skin color, but you judge a person of color based on clothes they wear.
You judge people of color based on the music they listen to.
You judge people of color based on the condition of their car.
You clutch your purse/belongings closer when you see a group of them walking and talking loudly.
You don’t clutch your purse/belongings closely when you are on the elevator with them, actively proving to yourself that you are not a racist.
You cross the street to get away from one or a group of them.
You don’t cross the street, actively proving to yourself that you aren’t a racist.
You have referred to hair of another culture in words that don’t normally describe hair, i.e. puffs or balls.
You describe skin color with words that are typically designated for food, i.e., caramel, chocolate, brown sugar.
You have ever told a racially insensitive joke.
You have ever laughed at a racially insensitive joke.
You use/have used the n-word among white people and assumed that they would be okay with it.
You heard the n-word in a group of white people, felt offended, but didn’t tell them they were being racist jerks.
You think the best way to teach about racism and promoting racial harmony is through literature.
Your child goes to a school where they have pictures of Martin Luther King on the walls, but they don’t actively seek inclusion and the majority of students are white.
You tell your white children that “skin color doesn’t matter.”
You don’t talk about race or skin color with your kids.
You don’t have any friends of another race.
You do have friends of another race, but you never talk to them about racism.
You say that you’re colorblind.
You talk about other races with words like “culture” and “diversity” but you feel uncomfortable hearing people mention skin color.
You don’t bother to learn how to properly pronounce names that aren’t similar to ones you know how to say.
You practice cultural norms from third world countries with the mindset that it must be more natural, but you’ve never been to those countries, don’t know anyone from there and have the only reason you think it’s more “natural” is because you have a fancy sling/cosleeping gadget that was really fucking expensive and so you must justify its naturalness.
You ask people “where are you from?” even though they dress like an American and don’t have an foreign accent. What you really mean to say is, “What is your ethnicity?” or What is your ancestry?”
You say things like: “Jewed down,” “Mexican shower,” “Ghetto,” “Slum (when talking about large instances of cultural minorities).”
You see a parent and child of differing skin color and assume the child is adopted.
You are overly interested in the hair of people who are not of your race.
You think that people of other races smell bad.
You didn’t know that in black America, Bill Clinton was considered the first black president.
You think that racism is dead because a black man was elected president.
You downplay racist complaints from people of color.
You think that racism is only something that happens with negative intent.
You don’t know how you’ve benefited from white privilege.
You’ve said, “Yeah, well black people can be racist too.”