The lie that invented racism

TED Talks Daily


What is up with US white people? I've been thinking about that a lot the last few years and I know I have company. Look I get it. People of Color have been asking that question for centuries. But I think a growing number of white folks are to. Given what's been going on out there In our country. And notice I said what's up with US white people. Does right now, I'm not talking about those white people. The ones with the swastikas in the hoods and the tiki torches. They are a problem, a threat, the perpetrate most of the terrorism in our country as you all in Charlottesville better than most. But I'm talking about something bigger more pervasive. Talking about all of us. White folks writ. Large. And maybe especially people sorta like me. self-described progressive. Don't WANNA be. Racist. Goodway people. Any good white people in the room? I was raised to be that sort of person. I was a little kid in the sixties and seventies, and to give you some sense of my parents actual public opinion polls at the time showed that only a small minority about twenty percent of white Americans approved supported. Martin Luther King and his work with the civil rights. Movement. Wild. Dr King was still alive. I'm proud to say my parents were in that group. Race got talked about in our house. And when the show's about the dealt was raised with come on the television, they would sit us kids down made sure we watched the Sidney Poitier movies roots. The message was loud and clear and I got it. Racism is wrong. Racists are bad people. At the same time we lived in a very white place in Minnesota. And I'll just speak for myself I. think that me to believe. that. Those white racists on the TV screen were being beamed in from some other place. Wasn't about US really. Did Not feel implicated. Now I would say I'm still in recovery from that early impression. I. Got into journalism in part because I cared about things like equality. Justice. For a long time racism was just such a puzzle to me. Why is it still with us when it's so clearly wrong. Why such a persistent force. Maybe. I was puzzled because I wasn't yet in the right place or asking the right questions. Have, you noticed that when? People in our mostly white. Media Report on what they consider to be racial issues what we consider to be racial issues what that usually means that we're pointing our cameras and our microphones are gaze at people of Color. Asking questions like. How are black folks or native Americans Latino or Asian Americans how are they doing? In a given community or with respect to some issue, the economy education. I've done. My share of that kind of journalism over many years. But then George Zimmerman killed. Trayvon Martin. Followed by this unending string of high-profile police shootings of armed black people and the rise of the black lives matter movement. dylann roof in the Charleston. Massacre. Oscarssowhite. All the. Incidents from the day to day of American Life. These overtly racist incidents that we now get to see because they're captured on smartphones sent across the Internet. And beneath those visible events the stubborn data studies showing. Systemic racism. Every institution we have. Housing Segregation. Job Discrimination. The deeply racialist inequities in our schools and criminal justice system. And what really did it for me? I know I'm not alone in this either. The RISE OF DONALD TRUMP. And the discovery that a solid majority of white. Americans. would embrace or at least accept. Such a raw bitter kind of white identity politics. This is all disturbing to me as a human being. As a journalist I found myself. Turning the Lens around. thinking. White folks so the story. Whiteness is a story. And also thinking. Can I do that? What would a podcast series about whiteness sound like?

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