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Nadra Kareem Nittle

Are White Americans Unaware of Their Racism?

By May 13, 2013

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The problem with white America, according to attorney Dawn Cutaia, is that "we are racist and we don't even know it." Cutaia, who's white herself, says in an opinion piece for the York Daily Record that many whites have the impression that they have to belong to the KKK to be racist. By denying the prevalence of racism, however, whites have done a disservice to America, Cutaia asserts.

"Slavery may have been outlawed 150 years ago, but the Civil Rights Movement was less than 50 years ago," Cutaia points out. "Fifty years ago blacks were still sitting in the back of the bus, drinking out of separate water fountains, being sprayed by fire hoses for peacefully protesting, and living in extreme poverty with substandard education."

In other words, while slavery in the United States was abolished in the 19th century, its legacy, including segregation and racial discrimination, haunt the lives of African Americans. Segregation isn't legally mandated anymore but the nation's schools, neighborhoods and even workplaces remain increasingly segregated.

Cutaia also points out how negative racial stereotypes about blacks persist while whites evade negative stereotypes because of their inherent privilege in U.S. society. She says these stereotypes result in racial profiling and job discrimination against African Americans.

"And when 'undercover' black and white employees interview for jobs, when they both have the exact same qualifications, guess who almost always gets called back?" she asks. "Yeah, that's right, the whites."

Cutaia concluded her piece by describing how a well-educated white man confessed to her that he used to refer to blacks as the N-word but doesn't do so any longer. "He then turned to look down my hallway towards my waiting room, laughed, and in a half whisper said: 'There aren't any here, are there? I'm not going to get shot?'"

The irony is that just seconds earlier Cutaia says the man insisted that he wasn't racist. "He didn't even realize what he was saying."

How do the people in your life deny their racism? Better yet, are you guilty of denying racist tendencies?

 

Comments

May 21, 2013 at 9:46 am
(1) Osei says:

There’s not that much ignorance or stupidity in the world for whites not to know of their racist mindsets. They would like to hide under the veil of ignorance to the fact but let me be clear. They watch the same documentaries and history channel that everyone else watches. They know beyond the shadow of a doubt their roles in ongoing discrimination against blacks and other minorities. It’s the same as the 60 Minutes show on the war in Iraq “Why do they hate us?” Only a fool would ask that stupid question. We’ve bombed them, killed their families and continue to hold them in a dungeon called Guantanamo without charges and wonder “why do they hate us?” As I said before only a fool would ask this question and deny that America holds the dubious distinction of being the most racist society in the world.

May 30, 2013 at 8:13 pm
(2) Robert says:

I would agree that we all are racist, bigoted, homophobic, xenophobic and anti-Semitic… because to a degree we all rely on stereotypes to organize information. We forget that our brains tend to categorize and group information together… often with very little information. And if we are honest, the information we have of other is often very inaccurate given that we all have grown up in the soup of bigotry.

Bigotry is norm; not the exception. We all make assumptions about others based on race, gender, nationality, hieght, beauty, sexual orientation (if know), mannerism, etc. It is better admit it… then we could examine the “templates” in our heads, clear out the BS and begin to form opinions of others based on who they are… not who we assume them to be… cause remember the old saying about assuming…

What is interesting is how often we collectively project onto the other the very things that we don’t want to see about ourselves… sloth, gluttony, lust, anger, greed, pride and envy… the seven deadly always seem to be projected outwards. This adds a whole other dimension to bigotry.

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