What makes silence so powerful? Why do we find it more comfortable to stay quiet? Most importantly, why is our comfort the goal?
Racial acculturation divides and then subjugates those we deem as others. Further, this acculturation separates us from the problem of racism by denying our perpetuating culpability. Silence is the weapon we were taught to use. Although thought to be benign, even polite, silence serves as the very foundation in the resistance to change and impediment to any progress.
The oppressed discuss racism with ease; the oppressors deny vocabulary, tone police discussions, and change the topic at the least sign of their own discomfort.
What causes our discomfort then? What part of the discussion about racism is so uncomfortable that we attempt to side-step it? What outcome are we really seeking when any racism discussion is tone policed, diverted, glossed over, or ignored?
Racism discussions are not difficult in themselves. The challenge is the exposure of our unexamined guilt. The discomfort arises when our guilt is revealed to us. Then reality begins to whisper, ‘Am I not a good person after all?’.
It’s time to abandon the idea of ‘the good white person’ we were acculturated to believe. It’s way past time to accept our flawed complicity, talk frequently, openly, and honestly about racism, and evolve.