Professor in NY Times: White Americans should ‘admit to the racist poison inside you’

Image via screenshot.

Image via screenshot.

Nothing says “Merry Christmas” like a letter to white Americans calling them  racist. Make no mistake, if you are white, you are racist.

As theBlaze pointed out, black professor George Yancy called on white America to examine the “racist poison that is inside of you.” And Yancy means all white America.

The letter was published in the New York Times on Christmas Eve titled “Dear White America.” Despite the sweeping generalization against an entire race, Yancy begins by claiming “I want you to listen with love.”

Yancy begins his letter by checking his own privilege and conducting his self-shaming in how he is a sexist. And these don’t even include active examples. As Yancy writes:

As a sexist, I have failed women. I have failed to speak out when I should have. I have failed to engage critically and extensively their pain and suffering in my writing. I have failed to transcend the rigidity of gender roles in my own life. I have failed to challenge those poisonous assumptions that women are “inferior” to men or to speak out loudly in the company of male philosophers who believe that feminist philosophy is just a nonphilosophical fad. I have been complicit with, and have allowed myself to be seduced by, a country that makes billions of dollars from sexually objectifying women, from pornography, commercials, video games, to Hollywood movies. I am not innocent.

When it comes to white America, Yancy continues with the same vein. This is something that you can’t hide from. And nobody “will get… off the proverbial hook.” If you’re white, you’re racist:

If you are white, and you are reading this letter, I ask that you don’t run to seek shelter from your own racism. Don’t hide from your responsibility. Rather, begin, right now, to practice being vulnerable. Being neither a “good” white person nor a liberal white person will get you off the proverbial hook. I consider myself to be a decent human being. Yet, I’m sexist. Take another deep breath… After all, it is painful to let go of your “white innocence,” to use this letter as a mirror, one that refuses to show you what you want to see, one that demands that you look at the lies that you tell yourself so that you don’t feel the weight of responsibility for those who live under the yoke of whiteness, your whiteness.

Yancy continues on by asking whites “to tarry, to linger, with the ways in which you perpetuate a racist society, the ways in which you are racist.” Yancy continues to blame society, and then writes “I am asking you to enter into battle with your white self. I’m asking that you open yourself up; to speak to, to admit to, the racist poison that is inside of you.”

There need not be examples of active racism, as Yancy himself admits. But, by the mere color of their skin, white Americans are racist for benefiting from a racist society:

Don’t tell me about how many black friends you have. Don’t tell me that you are married to someone of color. Don’t tell me that you voted for Obama. Don’t tell me that I’m the racist. Don’t tell me that you don’t see color. Don’t tell me that I’m blaming whites for everything. To do so is to hide yet again. You may have never used the N-word in your life, you may hate the K.K.K., but that does not mean that you don’t harbor racism and benefit from racism. After all, you are part of a system that allows you to walk into stores where you are not followed, where you get to go for a bank loan and your skin does not count against you, where you don’t need to engage in “the talk” that black people and people of color must tell their children when they are confronted by white police officers.

Before closing with “In peace,” Yancy also seeks to use the children of whites against them by inviting them to “see the miracle that is your child. And then, with as much vision as you can muster, I want you to imagine that your child is black.”

In peace indeed. White and female students may have an interesting time next semester at Emory University where George Yancy teaches.


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