(*Note* This post is about White Americans...just to clarify. White Europeans, Canadians, Australians, and New Zealanders who read this are very likely to have a WTF moment.)
Some white folks online are baffled as to why POC have absolutely no faith in white folks learning about racism and dismantling their privilege.
I have a thought on that....
So, I'm in a cultural diversity training for work today, right? And it's for a government job. Now...I'm in a state that 96% white and the trainer - a white woman - is trying to teach this class about the family and cultural dynamics about people they're most likely never going to see. She's meek, uncomfortable, and her information is outdated and inaccurate, but this quickly becomes the least of our problems.
The trainer gets to the segment on white privilege, (borrowing directly from Peggy McIntosh, mind you). And this one trainee, a white woman, forgets the whole damn training is the for the benefit of limited folk like her, and mistakes it for a bitchfest. She starts complain about how irritating it is to have to dial "1" whenever she calls a customer service line and wants to continue in English. "I don't see why I should have to dial '1' to hear the language of my coun--you know...the default language!"
And no one gets to correct her, y'all, because a bunch of white folks start agreeing with her. Their bitching about that thing quickly turns to bitching about other things. They're not remotely concerned about learning about the reality of their privilege. They want to expand that privilege to its absolute limit, to the point they won't have to do extremely tiresome, bothersome things like, oh I don't know, take one second out of their day and dial "1" to hear English.
And here's where the trainer really begins to crumble. She starts tacking on bullshit like, "But we're getting better" and "But we've seen some improvement" to every single piece of unpleasant reality she relates to these people. While reading "The Case of the Green-Haired People" (scroll down) - which demonstrates the nature of prejudice, the trainer softens it with, "I know this example is a bit extreme, but...you know....". And she glossed right over an in-depth article in our handouts about the fears and struggles of gay parents in America. You know, because many shitheads in social work think it's okay to take people's kids if their parents come out of the closet.
During the review she even retracts. The question is, "True or false: white privilege is a set of unearned privileges afforded only to Caucasians." A group of white trainees immediately - and rather loudly - respond "False!" To which the trainer mumbles, "Well, yeah...I guess you could say they are earned, but we get them anyway...'cause you know...birth."
*cue fountain of vomit*
Needless to say, when evaluations came round, I was brutal. I didn't reply anonymously and I took the time to write out perceived flaws in the training, notably the use of kiddie gloves when explaining racism and white privilege to white people.
And white folks, if this is what you guys consider having "the talk" amongst yourselves, you're fucked. The world your parents and grandparents told about has changed - deal with it. The trainer presented semi-recent stats for America and showed that by 2050 non-Hispanic white will folks make up approximately 53% of America, down nearly 40% since the beginning of the 20th century. That statistic went right over the white trainees' heads. Projections show white people - over the next 30 years - will drop to being 9% of the human species, and yet the attitude of entitlement and perpetuation of cluelessness continues as strongly as before.
Fashion tip from Moi: This is precisely the kind of bullshit that will get this country blown off the face of the earth. Shouting your opinions won't save you when the bombs start dropping. White privilege - which so many of you pretend not to understand, want, or even know about - won't shield you when actual death starts to fall from the sky.