The Unsexy Race Talk: Part 1

This article by The Stranger was circulating throughout Facebook this morning, and after reading it I was surprised to find it was written just over two weeks ago. Another plus for social media revealing, resurrecting, and sustaining worthwhile information.

If you have the time – and even if you don’t – I’d highly recommend reading the entirety of what’s offered here. Not only that, but some of the comments as well, considering how provocative and unsexy the topic of race is.

About six months ago I was at a conference in LA that ran dozens of seminars and workshops discussing race over the course of a weekend. It’s here that I began to develop this understanding that multicultural competency within America not only needs to exist, but in abundance. This is for two reasons:

First, racism in America has existed since its founding, with the forefathers being the perpetrators because they were white males. Not that there is anything inherently wrong with being a white male, not at all, but somewhere down the line in European history, white became the dominant race; and since that establishment, Western culture has acknowledged and perpetuated the white race as superior – even if done so unconscientiously. However, momentous events in recent American history have challenged the status quo of white privilege, providing the means for people of color to celebrate their cultures even just a little bit. And this process must be continued and promoted as much as possible! But it won’t continue to grow unless white people are willing to admit their own xenophobia, integrate themselves into the unknown, and submit to some degree their own privileges that have stifled these people for the past couple centuries.

But it’s hard. And I know that because I’ve been trying to do this for nearly two years. I still find myself racially profiling others. I still find myself unwilling to speak up against racial bigotry. And I still find myself wanting to make my surrounding community people who are white and familiar. Racial injustices aren’t going to change overnight, and neither will our attitudes, but at least we have the choice of engaging with the process.

Secondly, multicultural competency is important because it’s a wave of reality that will only continue to hit our shores harder and more rapidly. America and Western Europe are finding themselves having to deal with issues that aren’t necessarily new, but are now more apparent and of concern by the general public. Arabs are finding homes within Europe while Hispanics and both African Americans and Africans are on the front of populating America to where white will no longer be the majority. This is a reality that will come to fulfillment at least in my lifetime, and because of that I need to be culturally competent of many different people groups so that I may participate in the community in which I live. If not, I’ll either be floundering in unfamiliarity or bitter because I’ll constantly be vying for something of the past. And neither of those sounds particularly fulfilling.

All that said, I think we need to do the same as the author of the article and admit that we are racists. I am a racist. Plain and simple. But what do I do with that? It’ll be in the next post, people.


~ by Chris Kyle on September 14, 2011.

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