How Can White Americans Be Free?
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And so we live our lives never seeing each other.
When White Americans see Black and Brown Americans in this way, Brown and Black Americans will accept their pain. It is a cycle that begins with destroying The Default.
The fight against inequality, the fight against The Default, is a fight for white spiritual and emotional freedom, not just the freedom of people of color, women, or gays and lesbians. It is only by seeing white specificity that we can awaken to the fallacy of the idea that humans are separate. Perhaps if whites see their own psychic freedom at risk, a new racial awareness will arise naturally.
Ending The Default
It’s scary to focus on white people in any way and have sympathy for white pain, when everything, everything, is already by, for, and about white people (The Default is why we all laugh when some idiot asks why there isn’t a White History Month). It’s scary because brown people are seen as continuing the problem of racial division implicitly just by existing, or by daring to be dissatisfied with obvious inequality. Or by seeming to deny white people’s joy over progress towards racial equality (Obama) by ungratefully continuing to feel pain and point to pain.
Yet in my more open moments, I feel white suffering and I feel sad and I realize that the obviousness of racism against brown people is a grace for us, a grace because it is so clear and tangible. While that which oppresses whites is harder to see and is not discussed.
I think things are changing. Not in what I see in shows like “Girls,” but in what we see in people’s reactions to it. Awareness is growing. And the reactions to “Spring Breakers,” as well, and in the question that I think Korine has posed:
How can white people be free?
White America is desperately searching for its soul because it has for so long benefited from a belief that it is apart from the rest of us, blank of experience. I have gone the length of this article without saying it, but now it is the end and I’m no hero: One is the loneliest number.