Thursday, July 14, 2016

Whites and our Unwillingness to Give up Racism

I have been back in the South for three years. I am deeply disturbed by the plight of many of my black brothers and sisters, who seem worse off in general. The thing that disturbs me most is the behavior of far too many of my fellow white Southerners, not all, but enough to be decisive for the culture: These, particularly those who are well off, are willing to do anything to maintain their white privilege. They will become ostensibly Liberal and Progressive Democrats. They will make a brave pretence of being inclusive. They will happily give up every aspect but one of their Southern heritage and culture. They will even attack that heritage and culture—a heritage and culture that we share with Southern blacks, and which might help bring us closer. They will attack and scapegoat poor Southern Whites. And they congratulate themselves on all this, and feel justified in their own minds at how enlightened they are. But the one inheritance that really matters to them, the one aspect that they ought to have surrendered, conserving the good in the rest, the things that they will do anything—anything—to avoid actually surrendering, are their racism and privilege.

And they are not alone in this, for I have seen this same refusal in the North, among those who feel self-righteous in condemning the South, but who will not treat with human dignity their black neighbors, who will indeed go to any lengths to avoid them or acknowledge their existence.

We are sowing dragon's teeth.

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