Tag Archives: white

So Tell Me Again Racism Doesn’t Exist

So I was at the Valley Street Stop and Shop in Manchester; the one that in the phone book is on Lincoln Street. Anyway, I’m there shopping with my little carpenter friend and suddenly, as I hunted around I heard African voices speaking, not uncommon in Manchester. Always curious about new sounds and languages I look up and see a mom and her two kids shopping.  Nothing new, so I return my gaze and concentration to answer the burning question, steel cut oats or organic? quick cooking or old fashioned? I make my selection and move down the aisle.

Then suddenly I hear some talking from a loud man, as I move closer to the end of the aisle, I saw a plump white man moving along with a carriage and his mouth moving along with him.  Then I hear quite clearly, “You like America uh?” My mind had to register for a minute if that this was not a friendly exchange. Bellowed at the top of the man’s voice, everyone in that part of the store had to have heard it.  Other people I noticed moved along quietly and said nothing. I turned the corner of the aisle and passed the mom and her children to whom I was certain the shouting was directed.

You know communication is universal and one of the most fascinating elements of communication is how, without words we humans often can pick up the subtle nuances of emotion and state of mind.  I passed the mom and noticed her son, probably a pre-teen talking quickly in his native tongue and his mother scolding him back.  The exchange continued with mom interrupting son.  I imagined the conversation as something the boy spouting off in frustration, answering the rude man’s racist jest and mother telling him to be quiet and move on.

The man’s voice echoed in my mind, the tone of mom and son’s speech and I had a hunch, I turned from my carriage and faced the mother and asked out loud, “Did that man just say what I thought he said?”  The mother answered, “Yes!” with a look of disbelief and frustration.  I told her I wish I had been there and spouted off about what a horrible thing and what an ass, she said he just started talking to her and yelling at her.  We vented together, me allowing her, I hope, the permission to be angry; to know that not all ‘white’ people agree with the ignorance of that man.

But whatever I could do as a ‘white’ person far outnumbers the violence and offensiveness of the racists.  Often I feel as if I am fighting a losing battle and I never have the opportunity enough times, nor enough support from my white peers to fight this problem.

More than likely I can’t find enough ‘white’ to stand up to this, because there are too many telling each other that racism doesn’t exist anymore.  They say that conversations and verbal assaults like what I witnessed today are rare, if happening ever at all and certainly not in our community!

Well there it is, in your community and this isn’t the first time I’ve witnessed this or had to sit and listen to an endlessly ignorant and arrogant white person tell me how they know all about people of color.  Come again?

I know it exists, I know it happens. I don’t have to be the witness every minute to verify the experiences of people of color when they tell me stories they tell me in confidence. I don’t want to walk away and pretend I don’t notice when incidents like the above happen, in fact I wish I had caught on sooner and had been in closer proximity to what was going on today; I would have been happy to provide an example of a white person standing up to a racist.

I don’t have to have dark skin to know that racism is wrong. I don’t have to count on my fingers the number of dark skinned friends I have to figure out whether I’m qualified to speak out against racism.  I don’t need someone to tell me that as a white person I have privilege when nearly once a week, maybe everyday depending on where I am, I hear a white person justify to me, why they think their white skin makes them better than and different than someone without white skin.  I hear it, I hear their ignorant words and their ignorant ideas. I hear white people say to me about “that part of town”.  I hear white people say to me, “Well he’s black.” I hear white people say to me, “I don’t rent to Mexicans.” I hear white people say to me, “Black people are lazy, spanish people are noisy.” Should I go on white folks or do you know what I am saying?

So don’t tell me there’s no racism.  See: 10 Conversations I’m sick of Having with White People

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Undoing Racism Workshop to Happen in July!

You’ve seen it, you know it and maybe you’ve felt it; that ugly stain on our culture; racism.  No matter what our ethnic background or skin color, no one that lives in the United States can escape the insidious evil of racism.  Used as a tool of economic oppression for nearly 300 years in this country, the pain and the social structure of racism run deep within our culture, affecting everyone.

What do we do when either we ourselves or our neighbors and loved ones suffer under the yoke of racism?  How do we work to unravel ourselves from its grasp and not enable, but challenge this oppressive cultural practice?  How can we understand the subtle (and not so subtle) messaging in our culture that aids and abets racism and simultaneously, other forms of oppression and most importantly do something about it?

Get yourself to a training, that’s your first step! 2012 Undoing Racism Workshop flyer

The renown People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond has accepted an invitation to do a training in New Hampshire!  One of the premiere training organizations on identifying and understanding racism in our culture, the People’s Institute, hosted by the New Hampshire Black Women’s Health Project and Rivier College, will be holding a workshop from July 11- 13, at the Rivier campus in Nashua, NH.

Immerse yourself in conversations and illustrates of just how racism effects you and your brothers and sisters in humanity, from your neighborhood to the world.  Learn how to identify our cultural signifiers to racism, learn how to challenge suppositions and institutions that support oppression through racism.

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Many people have found these trainings a transformative experience.  Are you ready?

The People’s Institute is a well known and professional organization that trains people from all walks of life and within all types of organizations and institutions, from work-site employee trainings, to trainings for non-profit groups interested in social change.

Sign up Early!

Please see the links below for a the registration sheet, follow the instructions on the sheet.  The number of seats available is limited to facilitate a dynamic and interactive experience by all participants, please register early!

2012 Workshop Registration 2

For Your Information:

The New Hampshire Black Women’s Health Project has also been generous enough to find the funds for some limited scholarship and discount opportunities.  Please be mindful that putting events like this together cost a great deal, money and scholarships will be screened to ensure that the limited funds go to those most in need and most interested in directly putting their training to work in their communities.

Undoing Racism Scholarship Application

Group discounts may be available as well, please inquire on the form.

Make change by nurturing mind, body and soul.

Progressive Action NH also requests that if you can support the event with a donation, please consider doing so! Your help will offset the costs of this event, enable present and future activists to attend and also encourage more work like this in the future!  Please contact the New Hampshire Black Women’s Health Project for more information about how you can help support this important work to Undo Racism!

New Hampshire Black Women’s Health Project:  603-264-2874

email: nhbwhp at gmail dot com

We at Progressive Action NH extend our gratitude and thanks to the tireless and dedicated (and mostly unpaid) work of the women of the NH Black Women’s Health Project in making this workshop possible!

“Ignorance and prejudice are the handmaidens of propaganda. Our mission, therefore, is to confront ignorance with knowledge, bigotry with tolerance, and isolation with the outstretched hand of generosity. Racism can, will, and must be defeated.” – Kofi Annan

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