Our class discussion brought many issues to light about activism and whiteness that I had not considered before, yet are so important to understand the dynamics between races involved in ‘eradicating’ racism in America. Although there are many white people actively invested in the Black Lives Matter movement, Delgado exposed the white-dominated racial equality groups that are invested in nothing but image; a facade of activism to assuage white guilt.
White people that attempt to engage in equal rights are continuously ‘missing the point,’ cause an ever bigger rift between races, as described explicitly by Rigby and Ziyad. Though even before reading these articles, when I started this class in January, I was sadly oblivious to the extent of racism that still exists in America. I naively thought that the United States had become a nation of racial equality after all this time– I knew that racist sentiments still existed– yet I never imagined that racism was still so ingrained in our society. As this class ensued, the articles, essays, novels, and even Facebook posts we read exposed me to the inherent racism that I was so uneducated about. I lived in the bubble that is my hometown, and I never interacted enough with the media to understand the horrendous effects that deeply-rooted white supremacy have on minorities.
As much as I want to find a cure-all for racism and reimburse every black person in full for the daily setbacks they face, realistically there is not an easy answer. Instead, as Delgado described, deconstructing society to be equal for everyone is an uncomfortable and slow process. Yet as culture adapts to accommodate activism and facilitate minor changes in racial equality, it is hard for me to fathom a life completely without prejudice. With all my newfound information about modern racism, I have become very pessimistic about actual societal change in the long run. Even since the Civil Rights era, I had incorrectly assumed that everyone enjoyed equality regardless of race, as our legislation provided. The fact that racism transcends every aspect of American life from politics to hair salons proves that it is a cancer far more extensive than suffrage. Consequently, as I have begun to understand the gravity of this problem, race has proven to be an even larger disease that no treatment has been able to cure so far. It seems that no matter the manpower dedicated into racial equality, it is that antibiotic-resistant bacteria that keeps outgrowing the most cutting-edge efforts.
In no way am I saying that the fight for equality is a hopeless one. Rather, the road to it is laden with a myriad of obstacles, each more difficult to overcome than the next. I realize that I am privileged to have been oblivious for so long, and I know that people have been relentlessly fighting for social justice for decades — and America should not stop fighting. As Delgado said, “if you’re doing this work so you can sleep better at night, I’d ask that you remove yourself from this fight. You’re not ready; if you were, you’d be sleeping worse.” Unease and discomfort are just the beginning of recognizing racism, and I have been enlightened on this problem enough to be discouraged. I know that black activists and the entire black community have had these feelings far more extremely and chronically than I have, but all I want is to shout in America’s face and open my younger eyes to this problem. And this issue is only compounded when white-run racial equality foundations try to help by wallowing in their privilege and labeling it as activism with no accountability. There is no excuse for ignorance, and the fact that much of the population is comfortable with the current state of racism in the United States shows how people will just turn the other cheek and continue living while minorities are plagued everyday with injustice. I realize this post is very much a rant, but I am disappointed in myself and in the American people for not understanding how damaging and polarizing racism is in our society comfortable with white supremacy.