It is not easy to discuss publicly. I have read some books on racism that encourage white people to try to frustrate and challenge the racist actions, sensibilities, and comments of other white people. For years I have been convinced of this and have wanted to make the locker room talk unwelcome.

But here are the problem I find, many of these are laid out in literature,but are no less difficult to deal with.

No one knows what racism is. Colloquial racism functions to obfuscate racism as a system and boils it down to a moral failing and thus a perceived lack of racism as moral capital. Basically, talking about racism seems to function as an avenue for ethical posturing or promoting liberal dogma.

No one believes they are racist or reproduce racism. The whole classic racism without racists thing. It’s only blatant bigotry or voting republican that can make someone racist, not the history of colonialism and class society that define whiteness.

Everyone in my work environment is white. Also communist spaces I’ve been in are all but exclusively white. It’s only in a few academic and some other spaces I’m in that aren’t this way, but its in the exclusively white spaces like my workplace what racism is discussed most.

I am constantly fielding comments about my birthplace, the southern US, or Osage country if you are based. “Oh they must be really racist there.” Like holy shit as if the west coast isn’t? There were multiple Trails of Tears here. Black people were banned from living here entirely. Miners would just murder Chinese people. This history has hardly been reversed.

Many comminsts I meet get too riled up about “Black capitalism,” have awful ideas about Land Back, and too quickly go off about how white people are basically not inherently racist or “inherently evil” as they frame it. While they are forced to sit and listen to my rebuttals because of certain communist procedures it’s clear to me my positions on this keep me on the periphery in these spaces.

So I say all this to say that my intuition is now quite loudly signaling to me that anytime racism comes up when it is an exclusively white environment to just leave and not engage. But this is the opposite of what I have learned. I am coming to the conclusion that it does not work to rhetorically intervene, especially when it comes to this very heavy topic as well as others.

So I am asking for advice, encouragement, or constructive criticism that anyone might have on my thoughts here because I feel very lost and alone about how racism seems to manifest around me these days. Simultaneously I feel a responsibly to challenge whiteness in myself and my community.

Liberals have devoted a whole lot of effort toward portraying racism as some sort of metaphysical evil, divorced from any material basis – almost as if racism were a literal demon possessing the United States, and causing it (against our collective will) to do all sorts of evil things. This demon can only be cast out, not by prayer and fasting, but by mouthing the correct slogans and voting for the right party. Thus you have one group of white Americans who say things like, “I voted for Hillary Clinton and watch MSNBC, I can’t possibly be racist.” Anti-racism thus becomes a lifestyle choice.

Among poorer white Americans, you get the opposite phenomena. I think that today there is less genuine racism among the white working class than there is among the white middle class (it was different in the 1960s). But because the media and the Democratic Party constantly bombard everyone with the message that racism is, again, some sort of metaphysical evil absolutely unrelated to economics, many white workers are resistant to the mainstream anti-racist movement. Time and time again, one runs into this problem when talking to white workers. Talk to them about economic oppression, the problems of a mode of production based solely on profit, and a whole lot of the time they’ll actually agree with you. But the moment you bring up racism, they tend to shut down, always with some statement like “I work three jobs, my wife had to have an abortion for economic reasons, and my landlord is threatening me with eviction, how dare you say I’m privileged?” It’s very hard to get them to see that, no matter how bad white workers have it, non-white workers have it very much worse. And this is of course by design; it helps perpetuate the divide-and-conquer tactics that the capitalists have historically used in this country with such success.

Would also like to add that a lot of people I come across are still incredibly misogynistic as well. I think about some things old coworkers said and my blood boils.

I have struggled with this as well, especially recently. I am a millennial, white, male who grew up in a suburb in the middle of the United States.

It legitimately takes a lot of effort to de-program yourself from the racist programming instilled into people. Recently, I’ve noticed that many Americans are actually extremely racist towards Asian people (often in ways they probably don’t understand).

I still don’t have a good answer to address this. Some people online act like you can call out something racist and a crowd will appear and start clapping for you.

Honestly, usually now if someone says something backwards, I will just literally not acknowledge it. I have noticed some people will pick up the hint and stop talking that way to me at least.

I think another problem with the confronting racism is that racists are way less likely to say something offensive if they’re around someone they think will call them out. And there’s also Democrats who think they’re anti-racist and support some good things but still hold extremely racist and infantilizing views, and they seem incapable of even recognizing how these are hurtful. And you can’t do much on an individual basis about systemic racism.

I’ve also run into some of that disdain for the South, which I think is to a certain degree unwarranted as you correctly pointed out that the West Coast’s hands are not clean either. However I have seen some people say the South is less racist or something? Where I have lived in the South, which were generally white majority areas/neighborhoods, I ran into a lot of overt Repub racism and insidious Dem racism on an individual level, and the poverty stratification along racial lines (esp. black) and the de facto segregation was absolutely flagrant. The cute little story about rude New Yorkers vs. Southern Hospitality is fake as shit in my experience and I always felt like the polite veneer of most white Southerners would peel away the moment they sussed out that you weren’t a conservative Christian (given you were white in the first place).

Unfortunately I don’t have any answers though.

I agree 100%. There are the those that are fishing for other confederate/nazi types with their dogwhistles. The south is not less racist. But it just feels way off in the metropolitan west coast. I’ve lived in several states and regions. In the mountains people just had nazi tattoos, id say the mountain west is the most openly racist and fascist place I’ve lived. And in the south people were openly against desegregation and they dress it up with a fucked up condescention.

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