As we go deeper and deeper into what whiteness is, I find myself being able to see prejudices such as racism more and more around me, in a way I hadn’t before.
Something I’ve learned about myself in the past four months is that I’m a fixer. I love to identify problems in my life, my friends’ lives, the kids I babysit for’s lives, that stranger walking in front of me on Edgehill’s life, you get the point. Once I see a problem, my immediate instinct is to fix it, and when I can’t, I get uncomfortable and anxious. Loose ends make my hands itch for tools to repair and my mind eager to formulate processes. To sum it all up, I’m a control freak.
But, as I’ve learned this about myself, I’ve learned that there are a whole lot of problems in the world that aren’t fixable with just a notebook and honest conversation. Sure, that may be a good start but a lot of problems are imbedded deep into the roots of the world and our society, making simple fixing pretty dang hard. So as I learn more and more about racism and sexism and xenophobism, world issues that are very deeply rooted, I find my frustration at the in-fixability of the world rising to a point where I can’t see or think past it any longer, and this makes me even more frustrated.
I want to fix racism. That may sound childish and simple-minded, but it is honest, and if we’re going to get anywhere, honesty is the place to start. But even as I recognize a “start”, I realize there is no process or method or handbook. Prejudice is something our world has dealt with for lifetimes; there is no instruction manual. So the question I keep asking myself is, “where DO we go from here? what is the path and process we should take?”. I’m not sure that there even is an answer to that right now. But I’m frustrated, and as myself, this is how I approach things. I need to recognize that so I can start to make some real progress, even if its just in my own life or the life of one other person. I want to be able to sit at my dorm desk and write passionate blogs about whiteness and racism, but the truth is, I am having a hard time writing about a problem I don’t know how to attack. So I ask: how? Is the “how” even relevant? What comes next?