gallery Resources for Accomplices (aka “White Allies”)

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For years I have become bored with hearing the same questions/comments/ideologies by White people regarding race. Some of them have angrily referred to me as a racist, some have thought themselves to be innovative, radical or clever, and as usual, most assumed I have no idea what I’m talking about. How could a person like me (queer, Mexican, female) have any legitimacy? I normally do not like touting my academic/professional experience because I should just be respected without it; unfortunately, only when I do is when people take a more receptive position in their conversations with me. I dreamed of having a business card that I could distribute with a link where they could get information to do their work instead of asking me to give them a Cliff’s version. Instead of using my credentials to reinforce my positions, I will refer readers to a body of work from scholars who have successfully made these concepts more palatable.

This man explains how frustrating it is to talk to White people about race.

This man just gave up.

Its truly exhausting for us. Racial Injustice Fatigue: Coping with the Toxicity of Well Meaning White People

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I’m so excited to introduce these resources that somewhat capture the many years of research, reading and learning on my explorative journey. I’ll also be honest with myself, and accept that most won’t even bother to take a look. And that’s cool. In the meanwhile, I’m just gonna leave these right here and hope the White people I care about care enough about their role in the world and in relation to others to invest. I also want to take the opportunity to sincerely and respectfully appreciate all of my White teachers, mentors, and friends. Although I didn’t have a single teacher of color until I studied in Mexico as a junior, I would not have a zeal for social justice if it weren’t for White teachers during my formative years.

My 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Nadziejko encouraged us to be proud of our cultural heritage. In 5th grade, Mrs. Schultz introduced us to personal narratives of colonialism through heartwrenching, impactful and transformative literature including Sounder and The Trail of Tears. In High School, Mrs. Frigo, Mr. Cislo, Mr. White, Mr. Antus, and Mr. Ivonelli did an amazing job of preparing us for college and the world by studying European and American History and imperialism through critical analysis. Now, I am mentored, supported, educated, challenged and held by an incredible group of courageous people, many of them White. Thank you for your dedication, passion, humility and empathy. More than any piece of information, your love has been the most transformational.

Warm Up Links

 

Understanding Race and Racism 

To engage in a conversation about a certain topic, we need to know what exactly it is we are talking about. How can we have opinions about something if we don’t even know what “it” is? There are many definitions of racism out there. One of the reasons why we do a poor job as a nation having conversations about this topic is because we can’t even agree on what we are talking about. Too often I see it happen. It’s necessary, though, to establish what it is we’re going to be referring to if we can have any kind of productive conversation. Of all the definitions of racism I have seen, the richest, most inclusive ones include elements of the following components:

Racism is defined as a combination of racial prejudice and social and institutional power. A system of advantage based on race. A system of oppression based on race. A system designed to build and maintain white supremacy.

This definition was borrowed from my pals at dRworks.

                       

 

On White Denial

Yes, a lot of people deny that racism exists. They see it as a thing of the past that somewhow died with Dr. King. Again, one of the problems is their definition of racism. When I hear this, I’m usually in conversation with a White person with which I need to keep a civil relationship. Normally I laugh and say, “Let’s get another drink” before I change the subject. Of course, their investment is never to genuinely want to understand, or else I would take the time. Denying that racism exists is one of the myriad of ways White fragility shows up. Denial is to avoid accountability in answering this complex question: If it exists, what would that have to mean for me and my role in this world?

 

Understanding White Privilege

 

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White Fragility

When having conversations/learning about their role in racism, or about their white privilege, White folk often deflect having to face accountability by shutting down the conversation. ‘Ew, I don’t like this, make it go away!’ Either that or they realize that becoming a responsible citizen of the world requires significant investment of time so they walk away. This is what is referred to as “White Fragility”. Whites end up using their power and privilege -once again- to walk away from learning about how their existing could be impacting the lives of PoC (because they can). PoC, however, are not entitled to that privilege. We cannot exist in this country without understanding what it means to be PoC in relation to Whites.

 

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The History of Racism

 

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Engaging/Conversing with People of Color (PoC) 

To engage with PoC invites Whites to temporarily suspened the habitual reflex of centering the conversation/experience on their self (ethnocentrism) and being other-centered (sitting in someone else’s space) to make a genuine attempt at understanding PoC. White people are accostumed to having people of color cater to them and tiptoe around their comfort (including feelings and insecurities), one of the benefits of white privilege. On the other hand, in our daily lives, PoC are accostumed to putting ourselves aside to exist in White spaces and cater to them, therefore having to center our lives around Whiteness. For example, assuming you are White, you have lived your entire life without having to learn about how to engage with PoC whereas for us, it’s not a prvilege to avoid learning about ya’ll. There is an endless amount of evidence, even several articles on this page that provide examples about how challenged White people are in being other-centered and not making conversations about themselves.

 

When White People Turn Racism Around on Themselves

 

De-Centering Whiteness

 

More Ignorant and Offensive Shit White People Say to PoC

 

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Intent vs. Impact

 

Learning How to Have Conversations About Race

 

When Whites Think They Know… and They Don’t


For White People in Schools


When Whites Colonize our Cultures – Cultural Appropriation


Ok, I think I get it, what could that mean for me?

That is an enormous and personal question that as a person of color, it is not my role to help you figure out. I am too busy figuring out for myself what it means to be a PoC in this world. Ask other White people. Do more research on it. Google it! Here’s one link I came across: 


Continuing Education

Of course, if you have any links/resources you would like to submit, please add in the comments below. Thank you for reading!


More from Claudia Pineda Reyes:

More Links Related to “Race” and “Racism”

Resources that Elaborate on Critical Race Theory

Resources to Help People of Color Navigate Whitenesss

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