Wednesday, August 4, 2010

White Guilt

Kimber doesn't know what to do.

I like to read feministe, a feminist blog which has guest bloggers during the summer. One of these bloggers is Maia, an insightful woman who, while rejecting the use of punctuation and typical editing, has opened my mind up to new points of view. However, though she is showing me a new way of thinking about things, I also find myself dredging up a lot of old anxieties, particularly the one that I am racist.

I have yet to do anything blatantly racist, and I'm pretty sure the few inadvertent racism faux pas I've made have been taken care of (i.e. I've apologized and pinpointed what was wrong with my thinking). Still, I worry that by the very nature of being white, I am oppressing colored people the world over.

Really, this anxiety is making me more racist than anything, because every time I see a person of color I go out of my way to be nice to them, or even just smile at them as I'm passing them on the street. It's a kind of screwed-up personal affirmative action.

I partially blame this on growing up in a primarily white community. I had a few multiracial friends as a child, but that was before my anxiety started to crop up. By the time I was nine, all my friends were white, and they've mostly stayed that way. Thinking about it, I realize I've had several non-white friends, but pointing to them as proof of my non-racism just feels more racist.

Really, this is all terribly egotistical. If anything, I should just accept that possibly I am racist (or at least have racist behaviors). I don't really think this is true, but it is the worst that could happen, so accepting it, resolving to do better, and moving on might be the best course of action I could take. Plus, it would result in less anxiety-related stomach aches.

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