What's in a mask?

March 10, 2018

I used to think that if I wanted to know how racist white people thought, I could just read Mein Kamf or go on youtube to read the comments of some racist Trump supporter. Academia is teaching me that racist white people are more complex than that. Academia is teaching me that I have to understand the coded language that they use to oppress me so that I can understand them. It isn't enough to recognize their coded language and methodology as racist. The reasoning behind this is that many racist white people are ignorant of how their attitude or way of thinking is racist. They truly believe that the way that they interpret the world is right. In order to understand racist white people, I have to understand what they believe is right. And it's not as simple as they believe in racism. No. They mask their racism in ideas of freedom, equality, and objectivity. Their ideas vary but for the most part their ideas are presented as reasonable and just. I have to understand why their thinking is reasonable in order to understand them. 

 

It's crazy because James Baldwin (my love!) and even Patricia Hill Collins (#goals) explained all of this in their books. I read them a while back but I didn't get it until I started to learn about the mask that hide the racism. Now I am convinced that in order to understand oppression I have to be deeply in tuned with the way in which racism masks itself. But maybe that is the ploy. Maybe this logic is white supremacy at work. Perhaps I am operating with a white supremacist mindset in thinking this. What if white supremacy is so pervasive that it has tainted the way that academia seeks to destroy it?

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