White Like Me

I found it interesting how much growing up around black people affected Tim Wise’s disposition towards race.  I feel like it points at least in part towards contact theory which implies that with contact with those different from us, improves inter group relations.  I think it’s with this foundation that Tim Wise was able to become the anti-racist activist that he is. Oftentimes it seems like when talking about racism is the onus of black folks to fix.  However, this documentary proves that white folks need to take responsibility for racism in the same manner.


Whiteness studies is severely lacking.  Perhaps if folks though more about whiteness, we could make some progress regarding racism.  The very first law gave white people rights to naturalization in ways that to which people of color didn’t have access. Therefore, racism is literally the foundation of this country.  This foundation doesn’t simply apply to the eighteenth century, but time and time again people of color have been left out of the promises and programs that should have been for everyone. For instance, Between 1934 and 1962, 98% of FHA loan recipients were white.  Therefore, talking about privilege is of the utmost importance.


This documentary was nice complimentary piece to the Race, The Power of an Illusion series.  They touched on some of the very same topics. However, this piece goes more into privilege, whiteness, and modern day racism. Regarding modern racism, the documentary also debunks the popular myth that with the election of President Obama, racism died. It also debunked the myth that reverse racism exists.


An important theme that I think extends throughout all of our texts is ignorance.  Additionally, some of the same ignorance about race in the country, extends today. For instance, the opinion that black folks and white folks have equal opportunity in this country simply isn’t true.  Furthermore, the reason isn’t strictly because of moral or behavior failings from the black community. Black folks don’t have worse health simply because they don’t feel like being healthy, but they have less access to food and good healthcare in many instances.  There are more people today in the criminal justice system than were enslaved at one point in time. Not because Black people commit more crime, but because the system is set up to criminalize black people more. Regarding our novel, it’s not the Hmong are simply bad parents, but that the healthcare system is not set up tp support their needs.


The question that remains for me is exactly how to truly deconstruct the stories that run through our country.  I want to say that it’s through the education system but there’s already so much inequality within that system. Additionally, since curriculums are determined statewide and locally, folks in Alabama could be getting a completely different story of history than those in New York.


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