published on 17 August 2015
Imagine if this story was the plot for an epic Hollywood blockbuster:
Two brothers clash, let us call them John and David. John steals from David, mistreating him, defiling and humiliating him, taking everything and more from his sibling…
What happens in the next generation, when the mistreated David’s children grow into adulthood? Do they forgive and seek reconciliation with their unrepentant cousins, John’s own children? Or do they seek justice or revenge?
If we were watching that Hollywood movie, who would the audience sympathise with? I think you are with me on this so far, we would most likely all root for the unfortunate David and his children?
So why don’t we, then? Let’s take another scenario, a white kid in America, when the topic of contemporary race and racism is raised.
‘Why should I feel guilty? I didn’t make slavery happen. And I haven’t taken any land from Indians. So you shouldn’t try to make me feel bad.’
But really? White privilege is not about feeling guilt. No one needs that. It is also not about being or not being ‘a racist’.
In fact, very often racism is prevalent among people who do not think they are racists. The act of ignoring (or denying) one’s white privilege is itself a form of racism. …