Items filtered by date: October 2017
Write on Thursday, 30 November 2017 Published in iZania Community Blog

It is my experience after living and working on 4 continents that whites fully understand that they occupy a position of privilege. The flaw in the current generation of whites is that they try to convince themselves and others that they have "earned" their positions by virtue of hard work, intelligence, ingenuity,  and organization. They believe they are superior to others in these endeavors. What they deny is their original sins of conquest, oppression, slavery, pillage, and theft. Not to mention human violations of starvation, rape, murder, and suffering. They further deny generational complicity in efforts to protect their privilege through segregation, isolation, denial of education, and systems of apartheid that institutionalize their positions of privilege.  Then they tell us we are lazy, unintelligent, and not intended by God to enjoy their status on this earth. We must confront them with this lie, and the inconvenient truth underlying their denials at every opportunity.

They will never give up their positions of privilege willingly. One of the unfortunate realities of the processes of humankind is that whites have benefited from their privilege, and most nonwhites have been victimized and oppressed to achieve their current status of privilege. In the generations to come, whites must acknowledge their original sin and grant access by nonwhites to the knowledge they have gained and hoarded due to their privilege. They won't do this on their own.  Our best opportunities to tear down barriers and close the persistent gaps lie in the access to knowledge and skills created by the Information Age. Blacks and other nonwhites must fight in every possible way to gain recognitiion, and work harder to catch up - even when granted access. There is no end to the struggle

We don't come to the table with "tacit knowledge" that whites have gained hanging around others with privilege. This cannot be written down and learned explicitly. At the same time, Blacks have a "tacit knowledge" of our own that whites have not learned. In the USA we call it "soul." It is a part of our evolved culture that whites have often co-opted or stolen to make their own. We must embrace and elevate our cultural heritage as we take our places on the global stage. We must arrive with our self-esteem intact.  Our contributions to the advancement of humankind are real, and important to all future generations. Despite the privileges enjoyed by whites, Black Lives Matter!

Overcoming the institutional systems of apartheid and racism will be very difficult. The hardest work must be done person to person -- with the fierce urgency of NOW. Those of us who are behind are most impatient. Those in positions of privilege want to retain as much as they can. Still, we must engage and confront our neighbors, and colleagues, and friends at a personal level. We must be unafraid truth tellers.  As long as we remain isolated in our respective tribes, we won't make much progress.  One thing for sure, simply writing new laws won't close the enormous generational gaps. This work is hard, and not for the faint-hearted. But it must be done.  The alternative is not acceptable.