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Help Yourself to Some Knowledge

Start here: Unpacking The Invisible Knapsack

THE BASICS, OR, WHY ME SAYING “I DON’T LIKE WHITE PEOPLE” ISN’T RACISM:

Prejudice is an irrational feeling of dislike for a person or group of persons, usually based on stereotype.  Virtually everyone feels some sort of prejudice, whether it’s for an ethnic group, or for a religious group, or for a type of person like blondes or fat people or tall people.  The important thing is they just don’t like them — in short, prejudice is a feeling, a belief.  You can be prejudiced, but still be a fair person if you’re careful not to act on your irrational dislike.

Discrimination takes place the moment a person acts on prejudice.  This describes those moments when one individual decides not to give another individual a job because of, say, their race or their religious orientation.  Or even because of their looks (there’s a lot of hiring discrimination against “unattractive” women, for example).  You can discriminate, individually, against any person or group, if you’re in a position of power over the person you want to discriminate against.  White people can discriminate against black people, and black people can discriminate against white people if, for example, one is the interviewer and the other is the person being interviewed.

Racism, however, describes patterns of discrimination that are institutionalized as “normal” throughout an entire culture. It’s based on an ideological belief that one “race” is somehow better than another “race”.  It’s not one person discriminating at this point, but a whole population operating in a social structure that actually makes it difficult for a person not to discriminate.

Racism 101 will be your best friend. Some good posts from there:

Here is a megapost with lots of links about white privilege, cultural appropriation, the myth of reverse racism, and how to be a better anti-racist, sorted by category.

The Microaggressions Project

This project is a response to “it’s not a big deal” – “it” is a big deal. ”It” is in the everyday. ”It” is shoved in your face when you are least expecting it. ”It” happens when you expect it the most. ”It” is a reminder of your difference. ”It” enforces difference. ”It” can be painful. ”It” can be laughed off. ”It” can slide unnoticed by either the speaker, listener or both. ”It” can silence people. ”It” reminds us of the ways in which we and people like us continue to be excluded and oppressed. ”It” matters because these relate to a bigger “it”: a society where social difference has systematic consequences for the “others.”

Here’s a VERY beginning list of some plays that AREN’T by white American men:

  • Death and the King’s Horsemen by Wole Soyinka
  • I, Too, Speak of the Rose by Emilio Carballido
  • A Beautiful Country by Chay Yew
  • Matsukaze by Kan’ami Kiyotsugu
  • Ubu and the Truth Commission by Jane Taylor
  • for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf by Ntozake Shange
  • Dream on Monkey Mountain by Derek Walcott
  • Los vendidos by Luis Valdez
  • Fefu and Her Friends by María Irene Fornés
  • FOB by David Henry Hwang
  • A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry
  • Marisola by Josée Rivera
  • The Other Shore by Gao Xingjian
  • The America Play by Suzan-Lori Parks
  • Master Harold… and the boys by Athol Fugard

Here’s a copy of Derailment Bingo. If you find yourself saying any of these things in a discussion around privilege and oppression, CUT IT OUT.

Also, Gringo Bingo. Seriously, don’t do any of that stuff.

Feel like you’re ready to level up and really start investigating these issues? Here’s a website full of free books, many of them about history, white privilege, race, racism and culture.