Avoiding ‘Whataboutism’ in Discussions of Race

by James Ross |  June 2023
As we struggle today with a multiplicity of critical racial justice issues, we cannot afford to engage in whataboutism. Of course, we should be concerned about children’s access to education elsewhere. Yet, that is separate from the urgent reality that state legislatures throughout the United States are working to restrict what teachers can say and the educational outcomes they can seek – and even how students should “feel” – in courses in which race is an essential component of the discussion, such as history, civics, and literature. If we seek justice, we must focus.
TAGS: [Individual Change] [2020’s] [Teachers] [Tips-Dos/Don’ts]  [Social Justice]  [History] [Whataboutism]

James Forbes’ Ode to Juneteenth Calls on Americans to Embrace the Promise of Freedom

by Yonat Shimron | June 2021
(RNS) — The Rev. James A. Forbes Jr. was already an adult when he first began to understand the significance of Juneteenth. It was his wife, Bettye, whom he met in the early ’60s when they were both students at Howard University, who helped him gain an appreciation for the commemoration.
She had grown up in San Antonio, Texas, where each year on June 19, Blacks across the city celebrated their freedom with pageants, parades, performances and other public events in city parks.
TAGS: [Individual Change] [2020’s] [Black Lives Matter] [History] [Civil War]  [Policing] [Police Shootings] [White Supremacy] [Systemic Racism] [Social Justice] [Slavery]

White Hysteria, Critical Race Theory, and Eyes That Dare Not See

by David Gushee | June 2021
The hysteria over Critical Race Theory right now means many things.
Most immediately, it means that the relationship between skilled right-wing demagogues and their audience in the U.S. these days is positively Pavlovian. Stimulus-response, stimulus-response, rinse and repeat. If Tucker Carlson says over several nights on Fox News that Critical Race Theory is a huge threat to America, it won’t be long before crowds will be in the streets protesting, Republican legislators will be banning the heresy from being taught even in universities, and previously sleepy school board meetings will be broken up by hysterical white parents. … The deeper meaning of the manufactured Critical Race Theory furor is that there appears to be a massive audience in the U.S. for anything that triggers what is variously called “white rage,” “white fragility” and “white hysteria.” A significant portion of the U.S. white population simply cannot face the vicious history and ongoing reality of white racism in this country.
TAGS: [Individual Change] [2020’s] [History] [Systemic Racism] [White Fragility/Tears] [CRT] [Politics] [White Blindness] [White Culture] [White Supremacy] [White Privilege] [Prison System] [Policing]

One More Try At Explaining Racism To White People

by James Mulholland | June 2021
I understand the great frustration on the part of people of color with the lack of serious conversation in the United States about racism. When Mike Pence says systemic racism is a “leftist myth” and Republican legislatures are passing laws against teaching about structural racism, I can understand why people of color are tempted to violence. I’ve wanted to pound my keyboard during more than one recent conversation with another white person. I’ve begun to wonder whether such conversations are futile. If a white person is unable to see the evidence of racial prejudice and bias in our society, they are either unobservant or willfully ignorant. While I understand no problem can be solved that isn’t first acknowledged, I am discovering how many incentives there are for white people to pretend there isn’t a problem. When the game has been stacked in your favor so long and so well, there is little incentive to change the rules.
TAGS: [Individual Change] [2020’s] [Systemic Racism] [White Fragility/Tears] [Implicit Bias] [Definitions] [White Culture] [White Defensiveness] [Policing] [Justice System] [Housing] [White Privilege] [Microaggressions] [-ing While Black]

White People’s Fear of Critical Race Theory is Based in Ignorance Separating Fact from Fiction

by Allison Gaines | May 2021
Our nation is in the process of exchanging color-blind ideology with anti-racism. White people will have to take a good, hard look in the mirror and into their family albums. Some are afraid of the skeletons they will find, and others are leery of the theory that will make them take a look in the first place. White people want to focus on selected parts of American history, lionizing their role. Many choose to ignore that the gap between Black and white homeownership is wider than it was 50 years ago. Or that Black families have one-tenth the wealth as white ones. Currently, Black people are 3.25 times more likely to die in police encounters.
TAGS: [Individual Change] [2020’s] [History] [Policing] [White Privilege] [White Culture] [White Defensiveness] [White Supremacy] [White Blindness] [Denial] [Racial Covenants] [Housing] [Health Disparities] [Economics] [Politics] [Social Justice] [Definitions] [Intersectionality] [Colorblindness] [Tips-Dos/Don’ts] [CRT] [Accountability] [Slavery]

Make Juneteenth Great Again: The Caucasians’ Guide to Celebrating Juneteenth

by Michael Harriot | June 2021
Now that Juneteenth is a federal holiday, we created a CRT-free educational curriculum to help colonizer Americans resist the urge to gentrify this celebration. Hold up, white people. Now that you have officially discovered Juneteenth,* you need to become familiar with the traditions, customs and history lest you succumb to the Caucasian colonization gene and gentrify this auspicious celebration. Before hopping on the Juneteenth bandwagon, you first need to realize that you have no say in driving the narrative about this special day. Left to your devices, Juneteenth might become a day when you parade around in African headwraps drinking Hennessy just like y’all celebrate Mexican Independence Day on May 5 by donning sombreros and taking shots of American tequila.** So, to protect the legacy of this special day, The Root created this handy-dandy guide to help you become familiar with existing in spaces you don’t own.
TAGS: [Individual Change] [2020’s] [Tip’s-Dos/Don’ts] [History] [Slavery] [Definitions]