I largely agree with you particularly on the “get tough,” message, but I also think you’re being a bit too accommodating to white folks. Speaking as one we’re — as a whole — wimps. And that’s not really something you need to excuse or tolerate. White people fear conversations that might become polemical because we are not usually intellectually challenged on things like social status due to our … social status. White men try to shout me down all the time because I’m a woman daring to tell them stuff, but they shrivel up and declare victory when I prove them wrong. It’s super weird. It’s as if a spider were to die wrapping its legs inward but also yell in a tiny little voice, “I’ve won! I have won!” just before the end. I do not tolerate that and I don’t know that someone so reliant on their status that they behave like this is really worth the trouble. Some people are beyond help.

The other thing — and this is where I do very much agree with you but in a slightly different way than I think you intended — is that white people are all a little racist but white liberals take it as a catastrophic, monolithic, and enduring trait. I’ve been trying to get white people to recognize and then forgive themselves for small incidents of racism provided they use that experience to do better in the future. The issue though is the ones who take racism as a monolithic and unchangeable state are unwilling to recognize it in themselves because by doing so they have to designate themselves as evil and irredeemable. If white “progressives,” can recognize and begin to overcome their own bias I think that makes them better “spies,” as you put it. It shows them that there’s different levels of racism and that it’s not always a permanent character flaw.

But weirdly, white people need to get tough enough to survive being called a racist before they can combat racism. So, basically I agree with you but as a white person I honestly think you’re being more understanding and tolerant than we really deserve. The question in my mind remains if you’re being that way because that’s what we need.

Doctor of Palaeopathology, rage-prone optimist, stealth berserker, opera enthusiast, and insatiable consumer of academic journals.

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