August 2022

"I Haven't Witnessed Racism in the Workplace"

Submitted by Adrian on

A comment on Facebook:

"I worked with people of color in every job I’ve had since the mid-80s, and I didn’t see or feel racism in those places, all of which were professional work areas. As every other employee in those companies were working with them too, and didn’t seem to have a problem with it, I hoped that racism in any area was becoming a thing of the past."

It is good and it is unfortunate that you never consciously witnessed Racism in your life or workplace. The thing is that most displays of Racism is not as easy to ascertain as a Confederate Flag or a "Whites Only" sign in a window. Racism most often is displayed as "normal" behaviors as it is a system, one that is deeply ingrained in our institutions, our behaviors and attitudes. They are exercised in what has been referred to as microaggressions which are acts that on one level "seem" harmless, but on a personal level, to Black people are quite hurtful and demeaning and disrespectful. They are so common that most of us don't shine a light on it because one of the major microaggression inflicted on Black people is that of not listening to us when we do voice our hurt and pain at something. Or is is deflected as "our imagination" or "that is not what was meant", etc.

Because of this I would be surprised if you did "see" Racism in those spaces. I don't blame you or other White people in this regard. You have no idea that this is happening because of how ingrained it is in this society. It's what you have been taught. I work to educate, to help White people be aware of what it REALLY going on. There can be no solutions to Racism until we ALL become aware of how we manifest it's existence so we can ALL begin to change.

It is easy to give "lip service" to the issue of Racism with our excuses of, "I don't fly the confederate flag", "I have not burned a cross on anyone's lawn", "I have not had anything to do with lynching" and other statements that tend to deflect the issue of Racism away from you. The thing about Racism is that for MOST White people it is not a conscious thing or act. White people use any excuse EXCEPT a fear of Black people to justify whatever decision or reason there is. I'm looking to help people be HONEST with themselves so they can then decide to take better control of their attitudes.

No one wants to be Racist. I truly believe that, but if one does not understand how that perpetuate a system that is based on Racism. Our Racist systems will not change no matter how much we want it to until we understand and decide to make it change and awareness is the first step in this process.

How can we help?

Submitted by Adrian on

From a Facebook post:

"How can we help? What should a politician take for a stance?"

First of all, "what should a politician take for a stance?" A politician should take the stance that it is WRONG. This would be a departure from blaming Black people for being the victims in a system that has set-out to victimize and exploit us (which has been the status quo). But politicians as a whole can not do anything about it except to lead us (I know, it's a novel thought).

The answer lies with us, all of us. Unfortunately it is not an easy solution. It is also not a quick solution. We have to change people's hearts and attitudes. In-order to do this the first step we must take is to raise awareness of how deeply ingrained Racism personally is in our attitudes, actions and hearts. White people have been taught from birth that "White is Right" and that "Black is Inferior" and these teachings are the foundation of our systems. I will not go into this in more detail now (that is what all the posts #KnowOurHistory have been about).

I do not believe that most White people are consciously Racist, but sub-consciously ALL fall into that category, especially with one's attitudes and preferences. To justify this, as Dorothy A. Brown said in this book, "white Americans—simply do not want to live next to too many blacks". Some will state this openly, but those who wish to think of themselves as Not-Racist will use other reasons to support this sub-conscious preference.

My intention is not to blame White people for "following their program" but instead my intention is for White people to understand that they have been programmed and that they have a choice to continue to follow this path (and continue those behaviors they "claim" to abhor) or to take steps to make changes and engage in behaviors that are more inline with their true beliefs.

As far as a "solution" for the discrimination, bias, microaggressions, indignities, etc. that continue to be inflicted on Black people, legislation is only a small part of this solution. A more effective solution is in changing people's hearts, so they understand that the concepts of Racism better so people can be pro-active in working to correct society and understand that this is best for all of us.

To bring this about we have to start talking to each other and more importantly, we have to learn to listen to each other. So much of our Racist Systems rely on White people BEING SEPARATED and NOT LISTENING to Black people, especially when Black people relate their experiences to White people. This is encouraged through the FEAR that is taught to encourage this separation. This point is so easily illustrated with the push-back of many White people in the teaching of Black History or of the examination of to point out the flaws of this country.

Acknowledgment and awareness are the first steps to coming to grips with and working on a solution to eradicate Racism. That is what we need to focus on at this time.