“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 firstname.lastname@example.org