Racism and Denial

For anyone who has read my posts on race, you know that I am not one of the people who claims that we now live in a “colour-blind society” where racism is dead. Many people would call me a “race-baiter”, “libtard” or “social justice warrior” because I discuss things such as racial profiling, or the rise of white supremacy in America.

A modern refrain from people who deny racism nowadays is that minorities need to just work hard and stop complaining. Basically, racism is dead now and there is no need to protest. With that in mind, I stumbled across an interesting article on Medium that explored how white people have held the same beliefs, even during times of more blatant discrimination such as Jim Crow segregation.

https://medium.com/@timjwise/white-denial-is-an-american-tradition-its-time-to-bury-it-93173be29a03

Tim Wise studies survey data that reveals that most (50% +) white people surveyed during times such as the 1950’s and 1960s still believed that black people complained too much about racism and that their protests were divisive. Remember now, some of these polls are taken at times when black people weren’t allowed to vote or go to school with white people. Yet, most white people still argued that black people should just work hard and stop complaining.

For those of us with decent reading comprehension we can understand the point Wise is making: No matter the time or level of discrimination, most white people will still deny that racism is a problem. He is not personally attacking all white people or saying they are all racist. He is not saying racism now is AS BAD as it was then. It is hard to actually read the article and not understand the point, or disagree with the conclusion Wise drew from it.

However, just about every comment missed the point and actually strengthened Wise’s argument regarding the denial of racism. It is clear most of the people who disagreed with Wise likely did not even read the article. One person explicitly says the article is a personal attack. Another says he stopped reading when he saw statistics from 1966 (even though Wise’s argument doesn’t work without older statistics).

This is a clear case of people reading the headline and maybe the first paragraph, and then rushing to the comments to call the anti-racism educator a racist. All these comments are coming from the same side who routinely argue about the left being “triggered” or “snowflakes”. Who is triggered if the simple mention of racism makes you dash to attack the author before you even read an argument that he clearly laid out? How are we ever to reach the supposed “compromise” racists want so badly if no amount of facts are heeded?

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