Here’s a question for you: Why don’t white people like to speak about race? It is an interesting question, given the current climate of racial tension. Race has again become a hot-button issue.
We are seeing accusations of racism against people with differing political views. On college campuses, we see many conflicts dealing with race. No doubt you have seen friends and family going back and forth about racism on your social media feeds.
However, most of these exchanges are taking place between minorities. For some reason, it seems that many white people are hesitant to join the conversation. This is a problem. Race is an important issue. Everyone should be able to speak about it.
While there might be a host of reasons why many white people avoid talking about race, the main reason seems to be fear. According to Barnabas Piper of the Blazing Center, one of the reasons why it is so difficult for many white people to talk about race is because they want to avoid saying something offensive. He writes:
Many whites walk on eggshells around racial language out of fear of offending anyone. Even simple pronouns get judged. I was telling a story involving a group of white people and a group of black people to some friends recently. At one point I referred to the group of blacks as “them,” the plural pronoun for a group of which one is not part. Being that I was not a character in this story the same pronoun would have applied to the group of white people, but as soon as I said “them” one young white lady jumped into the fray. “You can’t say that! That’s so offensive.”
Piper’s use of the word “them” was deemed offensive even by other white people. If a person knows that a word as innocuous as “them” can elicit this type of response in a conversation about race, it is not a surprise that they would keep silent. He goes on to write:
If using plural pronouns falls under the cloud of racism, we are undermining one of the most important aspects of any conflict resolution: communication.
By perpetuating a culture of victimhood, the left has created a highly charged atmosphere that makes it difficult for anyone to speak about race in an honest and productive manner. If a person — especially a white person —- dares to disagree with the leftist point of view on race, they are shamed into silence. They are subject to erroneous accusations of racism. They are told that their “white privilege” prevents them from engaging in conversations on race. Then, they are told to shut up.
In a piece written for the The Blaze, Mary Ramirez discusses this exact scenario. She notes:
Newsflash: that’s exactly why white people don’t participate as often in conversations about race on social media. We’re simply not allowed. We get screamed at to do it, and then screamed at to shut up. Believe me, I know—every time I’ve ventured into this territory, the proverbial bashing begins:
“You have no right to talk about this—you have no idea what it’s like.”
“You’re so blinded by your privilege, you can’t see past your own worldview.
“You’re lying through your teeth if you say color doesn’t matter to you.”
Unfortunately, this type of response is common — especially on college campuses. I discussed this issue with Liberty Nation’s own Gabi Fiorino, who is a college student. When asked whether she has seen this type of exchange play out in her experiences on campus, she said:
I’ve seen students say that white people are privileged and if they don’t agree that they’re privileged then they should just shut up. I also have a friend who is in college and says that white people shouldn’t talk about black on black crime.
In these situations, white students are pressured to be silent. They are unable to say anything to defend themselves because they are intimidated by the other students. When asked if she had seen anyone push back during one of these confrontations, she said:
I’ve only seen very few argue back, and those have been when I see Facebook posts from college students. I’ve never seen white people defend themselves in person, probably because other students would gang up on them. In my classes, though, no one would speak up.
Given this response, why would any white person want to engage in any type of dialogue on race? The left’s approach to this problem is to enforce a de facto “listen, but don’t talk” policy when “allowing” whites to be part of the conversation on race.
They are more concerned with talking at white people rather than facilitating a productive conversation. Their penchant for bringing up “white privilege” and false accusations of racism is designed to shut down disagreement. They are not interested in actual dialogue. They are interested in dominating the conversation and furthering their narrative.
So much for tolerance, right?
If we want to foster an environment that enables us to work towards solutions, we need to include everyone in the conversation. Excluding whites because of the color of their skin is not going to help us make progress. We cannot fight racism with more racism.
Instead, we should consider everyone’s point of view, regardless of their race. We must be willing to converse with people with whom we disagree. If we are going to combat racism, we need dialogue and mutual understanding. That is the only way we will attain greater unity.
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