23 Quotes That Perfectly Explain Racism (To People Who Don’t “See Color”)

When I was in college, I got a job bussing tables. In a Thai restaurant. Several white American customers expressed their objections to my working at an “ethnic” restaurant. I was disrupting their experience of “otherness”. This struck me as incongruent with their expressed desire to “respect” the foreign culture they were “patronizing”. In their response, I caught a whiff of imperialist assumptions about the ways race and class are “supposed” to intersect. My job cleaning their dishes had nothing inherently “Thai” to it, nothing about my cultural background made me unqualified to wipe down their tables, and my presence in no way interfered with the “authenticity” of the Thai chefs in the kitchen–chefs who had already modified their traditional recipes for American palates.

But patron comments on my race as being inappropriate for my job fired off a lifelong journey to better understand my own race privileges as a white American. For example, I could–and did, with some degree of ease–apply for and get jobs outside the service industry. Many of my coworkers from that restaurant remain in waitress jobs to this day, despite advanced degrees and fluent English. The same assumptions that inspired rude comments toward me as a bus girl, also made it easier to leave blue-collar jobs when I needed to.

We are very, very far from being a civilization that does not “see” race, and this is perhaps most evidenced in the ways whites talk to each other about race. Or rather, refuse to talk at all.

Awareness is insufficient. But it is a necessary beginning. These 23 quotes posted on “My Truth Captured” perfectly sum up the problems with any refusal to “see” race or to challenge white assumptions about the hierarchies that surround race.

Thought Catalog

Cameron RussellCameron Russell

If the first words out of your mouth are to cry ‘political correctness!’, … chances are very, very high that you are in fact part of the problem. N.K. Jemisin
White people don’t like to believe that they practice identity politics. The defining part of being white in America is the assumption that, as a white person, you are a regular, individual human being. Other demographic groups set themselves apart, to pursue their distinctive identities and interests and agendas. Whiteness, to white people, is the American default. Tom Scocca
never
trust anyone
who says
they do not see color.
this means
to them,
you are invisible. Nayyirah Waheed
People know about the Klan and the overt racism, but the killing of one’s soul little by little, day after day, is a lot worse than someone coming in your house and lynching you. Samuel L. Jackson
The problem is…

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