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Anxious gatekeeping

Analogous to nervous cluelessness is something we might call “anxious gatekeeping.”   This is desire to police the borders of poetry, or of...

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Classification of White Racists

1. Active racists. These are people for whom racism forms an active and unapologetic part of their identity. They are members of racist organizations or actively spew hate.

2. Covert, active racists. These people share everything with (1), but must deny publicly that they are racists, because they are elected politicians, etc...

3. Passive racists. These people are racist to a certain extent, but that isn't central to who they are. They might act racistly in certain situations, but aren't motivated by hate in their daily lives.

4. The indifferent. These would deny being racist, and look on disgust on those who are actively racist, but don't think a lot about race. They think MLK is great.

5. Passive non-racists. These white people are not actively or passively racist, and in fact strongly react to overt racism, but they simply don't care too much beyond that. They might be defensive if you talk about their white privilege, because they've had it hard too.

6. Active non-racists. These people recognize themselves to be a little bit racist, and try to actively combat that in themselves.

7. Deluded anti-racists. These people think they have transcended racism in themselves. They admit to white privilege, of course, but think of themselves as so committed to the cause that they have entirely transcended their racism.

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The so-called "conversation about race" is designed to make people in categories 4 and 5 become part of 6 and 7. It ends up pushing those people back into 3 instead, in many cases. Groups 2-5 already know that racism is socially unacceptable, after all. If you call them racist, it could be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

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