Chapter 3 - What if I talk about race wrong?
"There is no shoving the four hundred years' racial oppression and violence toothpaste back in the toothpaste tube" (43).
History cannot be undone but our understanding and reconciling with our history needs to take place.
"In fact, it's our desire to not talk race that increases the necessity of its discussion. Because our desire to not talk about race also causes us to ignore race in areas where lack of racial consideration can have real detrimental effects on the lives of others--say, in school boards, community programs, and local government" (43-44).
I cannot remember any discussions about race in any of my formal schooling or outside the classroom until I was a teacher in the classroom. I have had to learn that my role is to listen and reach out to other White people to encourage growth in race conversations.
"The truth is, we live in a society where the color of your skin still says a lot about your prognosis for success in life. This is the reality right now, and ignoring race will not change that. We have a real problem of racial inequity and injustice in our society, and we cannot wish it away. We have to tackle this problem with real action, and we will not know what needs to be done if we are not willing to talk about it" (44-45).
Basic Conversation Tips
1. State your intentions.
2. Remember what your top priority in the conversation is and don't let your emotions top that.
3. Do your research.
4. Don't make your antiracism argument oppressive against other groups.
5. When you start to feel defensive, stop to ask yourself why.
6. Do not tone police.
7. If you are white, watch how many times you say "I" and "me."
8. Ask yourself: Am I trying to be right, or am I trying to do better?
9. Do not force people of color into discussions of race.
Tips For When Conversations Go Very Wrong
1. Stop trying to jump back in when a conversation is beyond saving.
3. Don't write your synopsis of this conversation as "the time you got yelled at."
4. Don't insist that people give you credit for your intentions.
5. Don't beat yourself up.
6. Remember that it is worth the risk and commit to trying again.
"These conversations will never become easy, but they will become easier. They will never be painless, but they can lessen future pain. They will never be risk-free, but they will always be worth it."
Chapter 4 - Why am I always being told to "check my privilege"?
"Not only is the concept of privilege integral to our real world understanding of issues of race in the West, it is crucial to the success of any efforts towards social justice that we make" (59).
Definition of privilege - "Privilege, in the social justice context, is an advantage or a set of advantages that you have that others do not" (59).
"When we are willing to check our privilege, we are not only identifying areas where we are perpetuating oppression in order to stop personally perpetuating that oppression, but we are also identifying areas where we have the power and access to change the system as a whole" (64-65).
Chapter 5 - What is intersectionality and why do I need it?
"Intersectionality, the belief that our social justice movements must consider all the intersections of identity, privilege, and oppression that people face in order to be just and effective, is the number one requirement of all of the work that I do" (74).
"Each of us has a myriad of identities--our gender, class, race, sexuality, and so much more--that inform our experiences in life and our interactions with the world" (75).
I need to read more and learn more from Kimberle Crenshaw.
"Problems" of Intersectionality
1. Slows things down.
2. Brings people face-to-face with their privilege.
3. Decentralizes people who are used to being the primary focus of the movements they are a part of.
4. Forces people to interact with, listen to, and consider people they don't usually interact with, listen to, or consider.
"But if you don't embrace intersectionality, even if you make progress for some, you will look around one day and find that you've become the oppressor of others" (79).
I am interested in progress and I need to understand my privilege and check it often to understand viewpoints coming from people who have different intersections.
Mr. Dylan Wince