White domination is personal and it is a system. Individual and interconnected.

The Dismantling Racism tool Three Expressions Of Racism teaches that there are personal, institutional, and cultural forms of racism.

Educating white people on the systemic nature of white domination, by examining institutional racism is necessary. The vast majority of white people have little to no curiosity about how we landed here; however, I think we might be seeing a dangerous trend: white people engaging anti-racism work from an action orientation focused on institutional change.

Are going to talk about how personal racism isn’t just the neo-Nazi, confederate flag waving, Trump-loving individuals? Are going to talk about what I did today that prioritizes and emboldens white power and superiority?

Are we going to talk about how white cultural norms violently keep Indigenous, Black, and Brown people at the edges of society? Are we willing to unclasp our interconnected shoulds and presumed right to feel comfortable?

By not digging in to how we are personally implicated, white people are detouring fundamental work. We pat ourselves on the back for not displaying white fragility when we never engaged deeply enough to bring discomfort or awaken our emotional responses.

Can institutional racism truly be stopped when the people inside the institutions haven’t addressed personal or cultural racism? What can be learned in dislocating ourselves from the center of white norms and moving to the edges? What can be learned by exploring rather than suppressing feelings? What can be learned in seeing ourselves more clearly?

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Rebecca Greenidge (she/her)

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