Living in a “White Only” World (Jane Elliott)

Jane ElliottJane Elliott stirred emotions across the country when she divided children into groups to teach them about racial prejudice in the wake of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. Decades later, she is a woman still dedicated to bridging gaps. The following comment is from an interview in September 2012:

Most interesting was her view on how whites would live if they wanted to be racist, stating, “If you want to be racist, you have to give up everything.” She pointed out the inventions and contributions of blacks, and what a white racist would have to go without — living uncomfortably. “You need to walk barefoot through a street, and refuse a hospital visit because blacks created the car, left and right shoes, stoplights, and blood transfusion.” She also noted, “Your meals would not be as exciting with[out] rice coming from Asia, pasta from China, and peanut butter from a black man.” Read More

21st Century Racism

The Most Racist Thing That Ever Happened to Me

Prominent African Americans recall painful and life-altering brushes with discrimination

“Modern racism is a much more subtle, nuanced, slippery beast than its father or grandfather were. It has ways of making itself seem to not exist, which can drive you crazy trying to prove its existence sometimes. You’re in Target. Is the security guard following you? You’re not sure. You think he is but you can’t be certain. Maybe the guard is black, so if you tried to explain it to a white friend they might not understand it as racist, but the guard’s boss isn’t black. Or maybe he is. Maybe what you’re feeling are his ashamed vibes as if he’s sending you a silent signal of apology for following you. Or maybe . . . now you’re looking for the Tylenol for migraines when you all you needed was toothpaste.

And that’s one of the basest examples of racism. That says nothing of the constellation of anxieties that could flash through you when the stakes are high–when you’re applying for a job or competing for a promotion, or applying to a school, buying a house, or asking for a loan. When you’re wondering if the white person who appears less qualified got the promotion because they were actually better than you or because they were better at networking upper management, or someone wrongly assumed you’re not as good because you’re black or . . .  ”

Read the rest of the article from The Atlantic Magazine (September 2011)

The article is adapted from the book: “Who’s Afraid of Post-Blackness: What It Means to be Black Now” by Toure