I wish everyone would read this article by Yawo Brown today. And then, could we talk about it?
There is immense division in our nation. We start this work week with a federal holiday commemorating Martin Luther King Jr. birthday. And we end the work week with the inauguration of the 45th President of the United States.
Few of us embrace being called racist and yet those who voted for Mr. Trump have been accused of racism. People who didn’t vote for Mr. Trump certainly have racist proclivities too. All of of us live in a nation steeped in racism so embedded in our way of being that we who are in the dominant culture barely notice.
(Note: The Waking Up White supplementary study is now ready here.)
Racism is part of the DNA of this country although that term makes us uncomfortable and defensive and angry. So what if we called it Polite White Supremacy?
Affectionately, it’s called #PWS for short. It has been referred to as the Casual American Caste System, Delicate Apartheid, Gentle Oppression, or what I like to call it after a few drinks: Chad Crow, the super chill grandson of Jim Crow.
Chad doesn’t force people of color to use separate bathrooms or water fountains. He doesn’t make people of color enter his home through the back door or bring their own cups. But he makes assumptions about people of color based on erroneous information (e.g. some people are rich because they work harder.)
I am quite far from being fully awake to my own racism. But – especially on this day and especially on this week – perhaps we who have enjoyed life in the dominant culture could commit to waking up to Polite White Supremacy. More than ever, we need to see each other with the eyes of Christ.