Understanding

The Racist Stairs

 ~rch~ | April 2010, updated February 2020

Which step are you on?

As you are reading this web-site chances are good that you will not be identifying to yourself that you are on any step below five. Circumstances as well as attitudes will influence where you are. There is no goal but awareness.

1. Openly, overtly thinks people of color are sub-human: Either a resource to be exploited or marginalized. ​Able to participate in white supremacist rally or gathering.

2. Overtly, (ostensibly and knowingly) thinks people of color are human just not as good. Should be kept separate (and not equal) to whites. Family willing watch, cheer and support, but not participate in white supremacist marches, etc.

2. Overtly, (ostensibly and knowingly) thinks people of color are human just not as good. Should be kept separate (and not equal) to whites. Family willing watch, cheer and support, but not participate in white supremacist marches, etc.

3. Overtly thinks whites are superior, people of color less moral. Promotes separate but equal treatment and want no contact, no neighbors of POC.  Family would never attend a white nationalist march but not publicly condemn it. White culture is the only civilized group. “The most economically challenged, which are mostly black, are more often criminals and not to be trusted”

4. Covertly (secretly) feels white culture superior, more intelligent and moral. Are afraid whites will become extinct due to lower birth rates, “blacks are taking over”. Views diversity, political correctness, liberal bias as the problem. Assume person of color is worker, not management. Comfortable with “natural order” , darwinian theory of one group on top.

5. Unconscious, unaware that they feels white culture is better, deep inside feels “everyone is equal but some more equal then others”, resents “advantages” of affirmative action as “reverse racism”, assigns success of person of color to this. Admires blacks who are “articulate”, has black friends but uncomfortable with interracial   dating of family member, “race is a myth perpetuating victim mentality.”

6. Overtly, outwardly uncomfortable with white supremacy but “That’s just the way things are”, Racism is  “not their issue.” Asserts that everyone has bias but they are not racists, that classism is an equal or greater problem, Talking about race is divisive. Resists notion that they or their community have responsibility, “we never owned slaves.”

7.  Subconsciously accepts white privilege justified by stating that it should be everyone’s right. Is surprised when expressions surface in mind like “pot calling kettle black” supports people of color who are actively working against oppression as long as they aren’t too radical. Claims ideal of “color-blind” society”. Voting for Obama and having black friends proves they have no person responsibility for racism.

 8. Consciously resists white privilege and supremacy while fully acknowledging its impact. Carries unconscious attitudes of white culture but attempts to work on them, supports people of color who are active even if so radical that other anti-racists are uncomfortable, is willing to be present and hear the anger of people of color.

2 Comments

  1. Deena Kinsky

    This article, as well as others on this website, have sat with me for a few weeks. I realized I was one of those polite white women who stays quiet when someone says a racist remark. I thought of missed opportunities to speak up that I had had. I will not stay quiet next time.

    The other thing I realized was that I considered the contemporary music I listen to superior and that I didn’t even know the difference between hip hop and rap. Also, the only rap artist I could name off the top of my head was a white guy! (Eminem.) I listened to suggested artists and found that I liked a lot of it. I also could see that rap is a form of poetry. And that I don’t have to like it all to appreciate it. I know this step is a very small thing, but I’m happy for it. Thank you to this website for pushing me onward up the steps.

    Reply
    • Janet

      Dear Deena,
      Your comments are so insightful and we are so happy for the steps you are taking and challenging yourself in new ways. White privilege is something that seems so obvious once we walk through these challenges, that sadly never seemed to be in our conscience minds before, just taken for granted. It’s truly a blessing when suddenly we see the world through someone else’s life and point of view, and when change can take place. We too, continue to learn every day and your comments on rap as poetry teach us as well, and for that we thank you! Here is another post you may find helpful The Problem with White Women https://tools4racialjustice.net/problem-with-white-women/
      Sincerely,
      Janet
      Tools4racialjustice.net

      Reply

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