Why White People Should Stop Sanctifying Racial Prejudice

“The people who are most likely to just not want to think that it’s a racial or cultural difference are white people.” Timothy Keller

Sometimes you need a white guy like Keller who can tell it like it is. In a community where there are people of different colours and diverse cultures who think differently about issues, it’s usually white people who are uncomfortable with the topic of race. Black people only talk about it amongst themselves or don’t bring it up at all.

We need to be real with each other. We need people who aren’t concerned about being politically correct. We need to admit that sometimes we don’t like people because they’re a different colour and culture to us.

I’ve spent a lot of time asking people why we don’t see more interracial romantic relationships around us. Why do we stare when we see a black person and white person holding hands? I get two kinds of answers, the sanctified answer and the real answer. Truth be told, the sanctified answer is something I usually hear from white people. Here’s a scenario:

Six women all have a crush on the same crazily handsome white man. Five of the women are black and one is white. He is friends with all of them and knows them equally well. Which one of these women has the best chance of being with him?

Sanctified ‘white’ answer: The one that he is most attracted to and has the most in common with in terms of their cultural background, values and philosophy on life.

Real answer: The one that he is most attracted to because she’s white. She has hair like his and skin like his and they don’t attract much attention when they walk around town. They both grew up going fishing on Saturday afternoons with dad. They went to similar schools and visited the same resorts over the holidays and like the same music. It’s uncomplicated and easy and it’s not messy.

Are you still reading? Well done, you’re more honest than a lot of people who were offended by title. Because I seem to be attacking white people. Because I’m bringing up an uncomfortable topic.

White people need to stop giving sanctified answers because they don’t change the reality of the situation. The reality is that we have deeply entrenched racial prejudices that won’t just go away because now we can walk on the same side of the road and sit in the cinema next to each other. Also, it’s not just white people who are racially prejudiced, black people are too. There are many black women who would never be interested in a white man simply because he’s white; because it’s complicated, it difficult and it’s messy.

The difference between white people and black people is not that white people are racially prejudiced and black people aren’t. The difference is that black people are honest and vocal about it and white people aren’t.

In a community where racial prejudice is an issue, sanctifying it doesn’t solve the problem. You can’t solve the problem of race by removing it from the conversation. You’re saying all the right things but it’s all a lie. You will never be free of your own racial prejudice until you’re able to admit that it’s there.

So, where do we start? Firstly, white people need to stop sanctifying their racial prejudice and black people need to stop hiding the conversations they’ve been having amongst themselves. We all have false and damaging ideas about each other. Some of them are seemingly harmless ideas, like the idea that white people don’t bath and the idea that all black people have a certain smell about them, but they are damaging because they are preconceived and hinder us from seeing beyond the way a person looks.

I want to explore this topic some more in future posts; this one barely scratches the surface. If you want to be part of the conversation, be sure to subscribe to this blog using your email. If you have any thoughts on the topic then email me on realmukoko@gmail.com

Honey love,

Shulaxoxo

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7 thoughts on “Why White People Should Stop Sanctifying Racial Prejudice

  1. Firstly, I love being black and totally love the idea of multicultural and multiracial societies because I believe that together we are an awesome tapestry of God’s incredible creative genius.

    I too have noticed how uncomfortable white people (those that I have met) are with talking about race and how some black people do not want to broach the subject in the presence of a white person. However, I believe that if we admit and acknowledge that we are different and that being different does not mean being wrong, only then can we cultivate a healthy curiosity that will pave the way for better understanding of races or cultures other than your own.

    How I deal with the proverbial elephant in the room is by letting my white friends know that I know that I am black and that actually I love being black. I know that sounds strange but often I think that some white people are afraid of calling me (or any other black person) black because they don’t want to be labelled racist. When they see that I am ok with being called black the air clears and we can laugh with each other or at each other without anyone taking offence.

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  2. Fact Remains, there are white and there are black people. And so long as that exists racism will never die. We should stop seeing racism as a problem. Rather celebrate being black/white . Leave all the political connotations that come with it. I think once we take pride in our own skin colour as black people, alot of the sensitivity around racism will begin to disappear. What sustains difficulty due to these cultural differences is merely the gross economic inequality that plagues the whole planet, because no matter what we can say, a vast amount of the black population are still economically oppressed and this affects the level of social co-operation we are striving towards. Eg. If a poor person made a joke about a rich person being rich, its not that bad. But if a rich person made a joke about a poor person being poor, its quite offensive. Dont know if that makes sense…..

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    1. Thanks for this Sabelo, you made a lot of sense! I agree, let’s celebrate our ethnicity. I think if any of those things you said were the answer, we’d all be happy and free by now. The issue of racism has everything to do with the condition of the human heart. Something that economics can’t solve!

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  3. The history of segregation, white supremacy and all those orchestrated elements of oppression of one nation by another is going to need a lot of growing up by both racial groups. It’s slowly easing off but, as you say, talking about those cultural differences in each other’s presence makes it easier to do so without bringing in hostility into it. One can only look at the vitriolic nature of comments on, say News24 or some fb pages of expats for example. Nothing rationa there but comments quickly jump to racist hatred. Maybe that’s what you must write about next in your blog. Thanks for raising this topic.

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  4. VERYYYY interesting! You know, being in a social setting where 98% of the people I work with are white (Cape Town things), I’ve begun to notice a lot of things when it comes to how conversations go. I think a part of the reason why white people give sanctified answers is because they feel that if they’re real, they’ll be labelled as “racists” or have an apartheid lesson shoved into their throats. I love conversations about race because they don’t happen too often, and when they do, they often exclude the people we should be having the conversations with, as you’ve mentioned.

    There’s a problem when I, a 23 year old woman who has lived in SA in a 20 year long democracy, can have a crush on a white guy, but not feel as if I would ever be that guy’s option. There’s a problem when I’ve now fallen into the belief that the best white men that know how to approach a black woman, are foreign men. (thinks of German and Netherlands men). Where do I get this from? I don’t even know. But I do know that, we’ve seen in interracial relationships, people do everything except to embrace their differences. We live in a world that now pushes the “we’re all the same” card, that silences conversations we’re meant to be having. I’m black, I love that I’m black, I want to be okay with having conversations with white people about blackness, whiteness, culture, heritage and everything in between.

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