So here’s my reality. Being an anti-racist parent takes practice. I’m working at it, and it is work. I’m often not aware of all of the ways my white skin and accompanying privilege and power works against my personal practice of being an anti-racist.
Here is an example of the places and ways I practice. I’m calling it a case study and really hoping if you visit my blog you’ll leave a comment conveying your understanding of the “simple” comment/observation made today.
Scene: Soccer tournament in Rockford, Illinois
Me: Sitting on a bleacher in earshot of some fathers, but not in conversation with them.
Dad 1: “Did you see the game before this?”
Dads 2 and 3: “Not really.”
Dad 1: “The Red Team played the White Team, a mostly Hispanic team, and it was a vicious game.”
Me: Silent, but all of my radar is whirring and I am thinking about what’s wrong with the comment, and what I might say if I were part of the conversation and/or sitting close enough to offer an observation/point of view.
What’s wrong with this comment? I asked that at our family dinner table. We had a robust conversation. There was a lot of dialogue about “intention” and the outright question, “was it a racist comment?” What do you think?
Here’s where I am in my thinking:
1.White is normalized in the comment. The Red Team is a team that can be assumed to be mostly white. This is what being invoked as the “norm” means. There is no need to identify race for the Red Team. Race doesn’t exist for white players as it is established as the “norm.”
2. The White Team is “othered;” race is the identifier when mentioning the White Team.
3. Hispanic is problematic as an identifier as it means primarily people from Mexico. Ummmm..not sure how the speaker could know this from merely a visual or identifying through spanish language or appearance.
4. There is a connection, potentially, between Hispanic and vicious. (The game was very physical on both sides, but the speaker made that opaque in his comment).
I’m working on this – what do you think?