That Awkward Moment When You’re The Only White Person In A Group Of Minorities Facing Racial Ignorance

Pieces written from experience are outstanding, because its’ not just an opinion. Lindsey, thanks for sharing this.

Global Grind

Awkward Moment Blog By Lindsey

…Except it’s not awkward – it’s uncomfortably eye-opening.

It’s amazing how us humans can take years to build up our own courage to be vulnerable or kind with the world, and yet we can tear someone else’s down in a matter of seconds.

I recently took a trip to Lake George in Upstate New York with some of my friends for 4th of July weekend, and while I see them as simply that, my regular friends, the rest of the community did not.

I, myself, am a woman who has white skin, and yes, the majority of my friends don’t. That factor, however, has never impacted my relationship with them, and we have deemed it irrelevant. We have a lot of similarities, whether it be the fact that I live and breathe hip-hop culture the same way some of them do, that we share the same opinion on a topic, or that our…

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Posted on 07/08/2014, in Potpourri, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. As a White person, this is extremely embarrassing.. There is no way to defend such behavior. In 2014 it should be unimaginable that things like this still happen.

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  2. What I find sad is that many Whites will only be open to listening to this condition that Blacks face if a White witness reports it.

    Despite the fact that Black Americans have for decades and decades shared their experiences of being victims of racism, too many Whites play the game of ignorance or disbelief or simply say, “It’s an isolated incident”…..or the White racist bigots will say that the Blacks themselves are racist or have played the race card simply because they have shared how they have been victims of racism.

    It must be so exhausting for a Black person to try to help White people understand the racism and prejudging that exists and that they have experienced.

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  3. I liked her article except the part about wishing for color blindness. I can appreciate and respect difference. I don’t want to be color blind.

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    • Glenn, on the use of the word “colorblind”, a cyber friend of mine wrote:

      “During Christmas, I was with a dear white couple who had been friends of mine for over 20 years. The wife shared that some of her family say that ‘they don’t see color or they’re colorblind.’ I shared that it’s insulting to me when people tell me that. It’s the very last thing I or other Black folks want to hear.

      “When I hear it, all I hear is they don’t want to deal with their own views, perceptions of what is behind that black skin. All the history behind what it means to be in BLACK skin in America. ‘I don’t see you as black’ is another one. Like why the HELL don’t you see my color? It’s the skin I’m in So your connecting and being under the black gaze allows others to experience who you really are behind the white skin.”

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    • A thought, Glenn:

      I wonder if her “uncomfortable eye-opening” might have been her FIRST “eye-opening” because she, herself, had lived in the “color-blind” mode.

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    • Glenn,
      I’m with you on that. Jane Elliot explains that people who say they are “colorblind” are actually saying that they choose to see others in a way that will make them comfortable because seeing their color makes them uncomfortable.

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  4. When staff offered the Black guys a basketball, they may have thought they were being nice, not realizing they were racial stereotyping. Asking if the clothes iron was for the Black girls hair was ignorance — that person has no knowledge of hair texture. The question might not have been racially directed but rather, an assumption based on lack of knowledge. Had it been me asked that question, I would have asked if they actually have irons set aside for ironing hair.

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  5. “It was pretty clear he was avoiding coming to ours, which led to them asking me, the only white person in the group, to inform the employees again.”

    Even though she later speaks somewhat about negative stereotyping that Blacks encounter from Whites, I wonder if she was much aware of the advantages of her White privilege before this vacation.

    “Unfortunately for my positive faith in society, the man came very shortly after me asking again, and even gave us a brand new grill to use.”

    No doubt her group, by asking her to speak up for them, gave her the opportunity to understand the beneficial position and clout she held through White privilege because she concluded with:

    It’s an absolute outrage when my friends have to approach me and ask me to accomplish something they believe they can’t, just because my skin is white and theirs is black.

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    • I want to add that it was ONLY two years ago as I was commenting with a group of Trayvon advocates, that some of the African Americans in our group guided me in understanding that it is not enough to understand the inequality, discrimination, negative stereotyping and racism that Blacks face, but that I need to understand the corresponding/related white priviledge with its benefits and advantages that I and all Whites in our society have bestowed upon us at birth.

      It was pointed out to me that this is not something to feel guilty about …I didn’t ask for it… but it WAS something I could help to bring an end to by educating other Whites and that privilege also made it possible for me to speak up (with the advantage of being heard) whenever I witness discrimination, stereotyping, etc. in my day to day activities.

      I wish I knew where I acquired the following quotation which I saved (in order to give credit). I think this is an important observation:

      “Not all white people are racist, but all white people have white privilege, and that definitely impacts how I relate to the world and it shapes the kinds of relationships I cultivate. When you understand your own white privilege, you’ll be better equipped to see and understand systemic discrimination and inequality.”

      I know that I still have much to learn about my White Privilege…I am sure I will be jolted at different points as I continue to discover other benefits and privileges I possess that I have not realized. I just hope I will always have people around me willing to point them out.

      I pray for the day that there is a level playing field and that I will not have benefits and privileges that others do not have because of the color of my skin.

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  6. I am ust curious….for those of you who did read this article, what were your reasons for not commenting?

    Was it that you were under time constraints? are tired of this subject…been there, done it?
    ….did not want to risk being misunderstood?…. uncomfortable with the subject?…. not interested in the subject?…. consider it uninteresting?…. are fearful of offending?…. don’t want to share an opposing viewpoint for whatever reason?….think a conversation on this subject is unnecessary?….something else?

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