Tag: Quote of the Day May 2021

Quote of the Day: White Guilt

 


“A fact that has escaped notice in the decades since the civil rights victories is that, after those victories, racism became a bifurcated phenomenon in America, so that we have been left with two kinds of racism. The first is the garden-variety racial bigotry that America has, sadly, always known—the source of racial oppression and discrimination. But the new and second kind of racism is what might be called globalized racism. This is racism inflated into a deterministic, structural, and systemic power. Global racism seeks to make every racist event the tip of an iceberg so that redress will be to the measure of the iceberg rather than to the measure of its tip. It is a reconceptualization of racism designed to capture the fruit of the new and vast need in white America for moral authority in racial matters. True or not, global racism can have no political viability without white guilt. What makes it viable is not its truth but the profound moral need that emerged in mid-sixties white America.”

– Shelby Steele, White Guilt: How Blacks and Whites Together Destroyed the Promise of the Civil Rights Era, 2006

In 2020, the ubiquitous accusations of systemic American racism struck me as unfair because I had been taught the first definition of racism: bigotry in the service of racial oppression and discrimination. I thought that racism could be identified objectively in speech, behavior, or barriers that limited opportunity based on race. Since I was born after the major victories of the civil rights era, I was neither a witness nor a participant in the systemic oppression of anyone. What would I have to feel guilty about?

Quote of the Day: The Last Conversation

 

“A person isn’t who they are during the last conversation you had with them – they’re who they’ve been throughout your whole relationship.” –Rainer Maria Rilke

How many people do you know who have damaged or lost important relationships during the past year due to angry conversations and misunderstandings? How have we let destructive ideas weasel their way into the most important bonds we share? Is there a way to repair or restore those relationships that have suffered so significantly?

I have one friendship that has been compromised due to our different views of the world for quite a long time. Those differences speak about more than politics; they highlight our different perspectives on our beliefs about human beings, what they are capable of, what they are entitled to, and what society can expect from them. So, we remain friends at one level, but there is no way to bridge the chasm that separates us, when one of us believes in the debilitating frailty of human beings and the other believes in the nascent resilience of each and every person.