What’s Up with Well-Meaning White People?

silent-racism.jpgWhile a lot of my professional energy is spent on client work and PR, I’ve been very excited about some recent writing assignments that have come my way. For instance, I just filed a story for Austin Woman Magazine for their February issue featuring author and professor Barbara Trepagnier who wrote a fascinating book called Silent Racism: How Well-Meaning White People Perpetuate the Racial Divide. Barbara, a late bloomer in the academic world, is a lovely Southern white lady who embraced this area of sociology as a natural extension of her studies in feminism. She also admits she is racist. Let me explain… here are some of the highlights she describes:

  • Race awareness in well-meaning white people—including racial progressives—is both sorely lacking and a crucial piece of the racism puzzle.
  • Well-meaning white people who are passive around others’ racism encourage it, whether or not they intend to.
  • Slavery and segregation have been transformed into a less obvious structure: institutional racism.
  • Race awareness entails understanding three facets of racism: the history of racism in the U.S., how institutional racism operates, and insight into one’s own silent racism and passivity.
  • Both silent racism and passivity in well-meaning white people are instrumental in producing institutional racism.
  • Throughout U.S. history a small group of white Americans has stood against the racist institutions of their day.

Again, look for the interview in the Feb. issue of Austin Woman Magazine.


1 Comment

Filed under journalism

One response to “What’s Up with Well-Meaning White People?

  1. There’s something missing from this book, unless it’s not summarized here.

    By failing to acknowledge differences (i.e., respect for culture, embracing uniqueness of the culture etc.) between Caucasians and a minority culture (often referred to as color blindness)a is a form of racism.

    When we step out of our white cloud and notice that there is a different cultural world available in minority cultures to embrace, learn from and appreciate, it’s only then that we are able to resolve racism. There is not a quick fix for racism since it is so ingrained in the American psyche, especially as it relates to African-Americans. It’s a daily exercise to work on purging racism.

    Thank you for the opportunity to comment.


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