I read novels in the evening before bedtime to relax. Stories about other people please me; I identify with their flaws and their strengths.
I’ve recently woken up (ha!) to the fact I always, not sometimes, picture the characters I’m reading about as being white, unless the author states otherwise.
My default assumption is racist. It’s embedded in white supremacism, the notion that the world revolves around whiteness. I am not happy to report this.
It turns out that only 10% of the world is white, as in, viewed and treated as white (Quora).
Of the 16 most populous countries in the world, the populations of 14 have lots more skin pigment than I’m seeing in my hands as I type. (United Nations). I am not typical, as world citizens go. Brown and black hands of many different shades are typical.
A reading in one of my anti-racist support groups the other day suggested that being racist is so common, so much a part of our culture, that we should stop being afraid to use the word. We can’t fix what we can’t identify. Hiding our racism fosters it. Naming racism, we can work with it, fight it, and grow out if it.
Which is why I wrote this piece. Even though the word racist makes me deeply uncomfortable when applied to myself. If you are white, have I made you uncomfortable? Do you have a group that supports you in learning to be anti-racist?