Racism is such a tricky thing. Nobody wants to be branded as a racist, but in reality, most of you ARE racist. Especially if you’re white. We live in a society that feeds us a steady stream of micro aggressions and affects the way we think and feel towards people of color. And since white people don’t actually experience any of those micro aggressions, you are blissfully ignorant of your own racism.
(But Arwen, that’s racist against white people.)
Nope, and here’s the thing: racism against whites doesn’t exist. Maybe a person of color said something once that specifically had to do with you being white, but that isn’t racism. You’re not being oppressed because of your skin color or the country of your ancestor’s origin.
(But they were MEAN to me! I was excluded because of my skin color!)
Sure, it sucks to be excluded from something because of something you can’t change about yourself. But you CAN change your attitude. Recognize your privilege. And privilege doesn’t mean you get special treatment. It means that, as a white person, you never have your citizenship questioned (“go back to where you came from!”). You never get mistaken for a terrorist or a criminal, and when you inevitably die at the hands of those sworn to protect you, nobody makes excuses for your death. Your skin color is considered the most beautiful. You never have your (collective, as a society) fashion, makeup, and hair choices mocked or ridiculed, even though the same styles are mocked and ridiculed on the POC who originated those styles. Same with slang words. You have the privilege of being uplifted (or, at the very worst, glossed over) by a society that shames POC who do or wear or say the very same things.
I am a white-passing Latina. I benefit from white privilege. I have racist tendencies. But I am also a good ally. How do I manage that? Because I don’t get defensive and make it about me in racial discussions. I acknowledge my racist tendencies, and I am always working to correct my thoughts and actions when I realize them. And sometimes, it takes my POC friends talking about the micro aggressions they have to deal with for me to realize some of my thoughts and actions. Also, being a good ally means standing up in the face of adversity against something that may not personally affect you. I see the way institutionalized racism hurts my friends who are non-white. I can’t stand by silently and look the other way when they are hurting. Therefore, even though their issues aren’t mine, I still fight for them and help to bring awareness to those issues. That’s what being a white (passing) ally is about.
Also on the note about brown people being assumed to be terrorists: white people have been committing rape and genocide in the name of religion and colonialism since the beginning of time but have the audacity to assume someone of middle eastern descent is a terrorist because of the actions of a small group of extremists (that aren’t even Muslim??). America is the most terroristic nation in the world. We have military presence in other countries “to protect our own country and rights.” How ass backwards is that?