Honest Discussions of Race

“White privilege does not equal white guilt; racism does not equal minority rage.”

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Transcript for Honest Discussions of Race

In my social work class, Vulnerable Populations, one of the things my professor did to help people have like honest discussion, and not get defensive about discussions of race was that every class period she would write on the board, “White privilege does not equal white guilt,” and under that she would write, “Racism does not equal minority rage.” And that really just kind of helped diffuse everybody’s feelings that they had coming into things.

I think it helped people with what their expectations of other people’s reactions were going to be because I think that minority students dread the typical white reaction to discussions like that and they know that people are just going to be like, “Well why, it’s not my fault, you know?”

And then there’s the kind of white fear that the minority person is going to be angry and get you know out of control, and, and be unreasonable and stuff, and so it kind of diffused both of those fears as well as telling, telling you as a white person, you don’t, you don’t only have to speak only out of your guilt. It’s not going to get rid of your guilt, and if you’re a minority it’s not going to get rid of your anger, but you don’t have to in this discussion that’s not what we’re trying to bring to the table. We’re trying to get beyond that so that we can have a discussion.

I really didn’t become aware of a lot of things, um, until last semester. I took three classes that had to do with race at the same time. I took, um, Vulnerable Populations, and then I took African-American History, and, uh, then I also took an English class called Speculative Fiction: Race, Ethnicity, and Difference. Um, so like all three of these classes going on at the same time where I’m having like three days a week discussion about race, and, um, racial issues and stuff, and it was just really like a major experience for me, and I think since that I have definitely like realized, “Oh I don’t really have any friends that are black on campus. I don’t have don’t have multicultural friends.”

And then I realized it’s because I haven’t made multicultural friends, you know? So, you have to kind of like then I just started talking to people, and it’s just amazing. Like, it just happens, and you just have to realize that you have to actually make that effort, and, um, in my English class there was one African-American student because I had been realizing all these new concepts about white privilege, and I started noticing you know what my peers were saying and a lot of the things they were saying out of ignorance like she was the only person in the class not saying those kinds of things because she didn’t have white privilege, and I kind of quickly gravitated toward her and we became friends.

We would after class go and talk for an hour about just like the discussion that went on, and have our own little discussion about whatever book we were reading and stuff like that or other like tv shows and different things. We just had a lot of really interesting conversations, and so it was like an eye opening experience because it’s like wow, all I had to do was go sit next to that person, and start making small talk. Now I have, you know, a new friend, and I’m learning all these different perspectives and stuff.