I bet you read the byline of this article and quickly, implicitly thought, “this person is not white.”
It’s okay if you did. You’re right. And that is not a racist thought.
Now, if your second implicit thought was, “Well, I don’t have to pay attention to anything they say,” well, then, maybe we have some unpacking to do.
In my first blog post for Greater Public, I wrote about unconscious or implicit bias – what it is, how it affects our decision-making, and therefore, how it affects the marketing and fundraising at public media stations.
Today, at the risk of being trolled by people I don’t know on the Internet, I want to talk about Whiteness and why it’s crucial we begin, as a country and a planet, to be able to talk about Whiteness whenever we want to talk about race.
It is curious to me that we try to address racial disparities and diversity while trying to avoid talking about this construct humankind invented called Whiteness. It’s like trying to talk about climate change without talking about greenhouse gases. (Which I suppose some people are trying to do, but I don’t think it’s going very well in terms of leading to sustainable solutions.)
Perhaps, because race is a social construct, we think we can justifiably avoid this conversation. For a period in the 1990s, social science took great strides to show that there is no biological determinant of race. This was during the same period when Tiger Woods rose to fame, a dark-skinned man with African American and Asian heritage, whose father proclaimed on The Oprah Winfrey Show that Tiger’s race was “the human race.” Proclamations like this led us to believe that perhaps we had accomplished Martin Luther King’s dream and we, as a society, were finally able to judge people by the content of their character, not by the color of their skin.