Garrick Kevin Peterson
Being a WASP, I am privy to what white people say about blacks, hispanics and other minorities. Often they think I have the same attitudes as they do, or that I am as willing to look the other way. The kind of racism I know the most about is white-on-black racism, or what I call “Bourgeois Racism.” Bourgeois racism is the kind most white people have. They are people who spout racially non-judgmental platitudes, or will tell you they have a friend or two who are black, to provide token evidence that they are not racist. They sincerely believe themselves to be not-racist. In reality, it is unusual for whites to have quality or quantity enough interaction with blacks to discover that White Privilege exists in our culture, let alone to examine how it works, or to what extent they unwittingly perpetuate it and accept it’s benefits. They experience what they perceive as positive interaction with blacks, but only when there is no competition or conflict. In effect, they can always tolerate blacks if blacks “keep their place.” About thirty years ago, I went through a very powerful transformational experience where I was led by God to convert to Christianity, and the path God led me on landed me as the only white member of an all-black church, and later, a missionary in Africa. The friendship, love and grace that I was shown, and the regular “one-of-us” way I was treated really helped me see the racism that I had in my own heart by contrast, that to realize that I had pretended to myself didn’t exist. I learned that Racism is a sin that all of us, of every ethnicity struggle with to some extent, and that we can only really overcome it by admitting it to ourselves, and striving to overcome through love, grace and “one-of-us” acceptance. This is a personal kind of affirmative action that can’t be legislated, but without it, no healing can come in the interactions of people in an increasingly diverse society. Nobody can make that transformation, or embrace the growing diversity that is a good and to-be-desired fact of our future, as long as they are busy justifying themselves or denying that they have that sinful racist tendency that really, we all have. The expression, “Race Card” is most often used by the people who want to perpetuate White Privilege, to treat Racism as if it didn’t exist, and demonize or ridicule those of us who call for repentance and overcoming of Racism. The “Race Card” Racism deniers are the worst, because they are happy with White Privilege- they want it to go on forever, and they’re running our culture over a cliff, because whites won’t be the majority in America much longer.