RACISM + PSYCHOLOGY
The Term “Racism” Annoys Some White People. Here’s Why That Doesn’t Matter
Black people shouldn’t stop fighting because it makes people feel uncomfortable
One game that organizational development consultants play is “Five Whys.” It turns out this game allows you to keep asking “why” until you can get to the root of the problem. You may remember this more astutely from childhood. “Why is the sky blue?” a child may ask their parent only to ask more questions once she receives her first answer. Unfortunately, when it comes to White people, they don’t seem to want to play “Five Whys” with Black people.
Many White people do not like the term “racism” because it makes them feel uncomfortable about the disparity in power that exists between Black and White people. While some are cruel and racist, others are simply biased or misinformed. Nevertheless, their resistance to discussing racism puts a damp rag over the fires of the racial reckoning.
And while it may be easy for some of my Black counterparts to dismiss White people from the conversation, pro-Blackness alone cannot set this country on the right track. Black people are a minority, and successfully uprooting racism takes the collaboration of White allies and people of color. Keep in mind, African Americans make up 12.9% of the U.S. population. In other words, Black folks do not have the power to change the system independently. So, understanding that is fundamental in realizing why White people’s denial is relevant.
Also, some insist Black people should focus on voting locally. Still, as someone from New Orleans, I can tell you that living in a predominately Black city inside Louisiana does not save Black people from the racism they experience. As long as I have been alive, Black people in New Orleans have voted for Black, progressive mayors, Black city councilmen and women, and Black congress members for our district.
Yet, Black people in New Orleans still find themselves fighting against a system riddled with racism. Louisiana State Troopers often come to the city for its numerous events like Mardi Gras, French Quarter Fest, and Decadence, pulling over many Black people. Voting locally doesn’t protect Black…