THE NEW APARTHEID
At the National Museum of African American History and Culture, we believe that any productive conversation on race must start with honesty, respect for others, and an openness to ideas and information that provide new perspectives.
In that context, we recently unveiled “Talking About Race,” an online portal providing research, studies, and other academic materials from the fields of history, education, psychology, and human development. Our goal in doing so was to contribute to a discussion on this vitally important subject that millions of Americans are grappling with.
Since yesterday, certain content in the “Talking About Race” portal has been the subject of questions that we have taken seriously. We have listened to public sentiment and have removed a chart that does not contribute to the productive discussion we had intended.
The site’s intent and purpose are to foster and cultivate conversations that are respectful and constructive and provide increased understanding. As an educational institution, we value meaningful dialogue and believe that we are stronger when we can pause, listen, and reflect—even when it challenges us to reconsider our approach. We hope that this portal will be an ever-evolving place that will continue to grow, develop, and ensure that we listen to one another in a spirit of civility and common cause.
Whiteness and white racialized identity refer to the way that white people, their customs, culture, and beliefs operate as the standard by which all other groups of are compared. Whiteness is also at the core of understanding race in America. Whiteness and the normalization of white racial identity throughout America’s history have created a culture where nonwhite persons are seen as inferior or abnormal.
This white-dominant culture also operates as a social mechanism that grants advantages to white people, since they can navigate society both by feeling normal and being viewed as normal. Persons who identify as white rarely have to think about their racial identity because they live within a culture where whiteness has been normalized.
Thinking about race is very different for nonwhite persons living in America. People of color must always consider their racial identity, whatever the situation, due to the systemic and interpersonal racism that still exists.
Whiteness (and its accepted normality) also exist as everyday microaggressions toward people of color. Acts of microaggressions include verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs or insults toward nonwhites. Whether intentional or not, these attitudes communicate hostile, derogatory, or harmful messages.
In this country, American means white. Everybody else has to hyphenate.
Since white people in America hold most of the political, institutional, and economic power, they receive advantages that nonwhite groups do not. These benefits and advantages, of varying degrees, are known as white privilege. For many white people, this can be hard to hear, understand, or accept – but it is true. If you are white in America, you have benefited from the color of your skin.
Stop and Think!
How does being white grant certain privileges? How might white people experience oppression through other social identities, e.g., class, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ability, etc.?
White people can possess other marginalized parts of their identity, but their race is not one of these. To learn more about how race intersects with our other identities, check out the section titled systems of oppression.
Being white does not mean you haven’t experienced hardships or oppression. Being white does mean you have not faced hardships or oppression based on the color of your skin. We need to be honest about the ways white people have benefited from racism so we can work toward an equitable, fair and just society.
In “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack,” scholar Peggy McIntosh writes, “White privilege is like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, maps, passports, code books, visas, clothes, tools, and blank checks.” Here are some examples she gives on what white privilege looks like in day to day living:
- I can if I wish arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time.
- I can avoid spending time with people whom I was trained to mistrust and who have learned to mistrust my kind or me.
- If I should need to move, I can be pretty sure of renting or purchasing housing in an area which I can afford and in which I would want to live.
- I can be pretty sure that my neighbors in such a location will be neutral or pleasant to me.
- I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed
- I can turn on the television or open to the front page of the paper and see people of my race widely represented.
- When I am told about our national heritage or about “civilization,” I am shown that people of my color made it what it is.
- I can be sure that my children will be given curricular materials that testify to the existence of their race.
- If I want to, I can be pretty sure of finding a publisher for this piece on white privilege.
- I can be pretty sure of having my voice heard in a group in which I am the only member of my race.
- I can be casual about whether or not to listen to another person’s voice in a group in which s/he is the only member of his/her race
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Das nationale Museum für afroamerikanische Kultur befördert die Interessen der höheren Rassen und stellt die wesenhafte Bösartigkeit niederer Rassen und ihrer rasseverratenden Unterstützer bloß. Ab jetzt sollen sich alle demographischen Gruppen gemäß ihrer inhärenten Rasseattribute verhalten – ausgeschlossen die Weißen. Diese müssen ihr Weißsein überwinden, die Rassifizierung ihres Landes unterstützen und den Aufstieg höherer Rassen finanziell und moralisch fördern. Wir Westeuropäer werden natürlich die islamische Variante der postliberalen Gesellschaft bekommen.
Der Apartheid gehört die Zukunft. Dank der Linken.