Tim Wise is my white blog-friend.

In Reading Comprehension 101: Text, Subtext and the Politics of Misinterpretation, Tim Wise writes (emphasis mine):

In other words, putting aside the inherent absurdity of this interpretation — I am white after all, as are my kids, as is my wife, as is my momma, all my immediate family and my best friend too — some who read the piece believe against all logic and in the face of plain English (however aggressive the piece may be), that I have announced, excitedly, the coming of a glorious race war and the end of white people.

Normally, when a white person asserts that she is “not racist” because she has a black friend or he has an Asian wife, it is considered an invalid argument, because knowing a person of colour does not grant immunity from being racist. Here, Tim Wise argues that he is not anti-white, because he is white, his wife is white, his best friend is white, etc.

I would normally consider this bad form, since making this argument may give some people the impression that the tired “black friend” defense is acceptable. However, some readers of my blog have constantly accused me of being “racist against white people”, so I will try to follow Tim Wise’s lead and invoke whiteness as a defense against accusations of being anti-white.

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Five masked men assault white anti-racist activists in their home. (Calgary, Alberta)

Calgary anti-racism activists’ home invaded (CBC News):

The victims of a home invasion in Calgary early Monday morning are well-known anti-racism activists.

Calgary police said five masked men armed with bats and hammers forced their way into a home in the 5400 block of Eighth Avenue S.E. shortly after 1 a.m.

Police believe the home was targeted for attack, although they haven’t confirmed a motive. A neo-Nazi angle is being investigated, police said.

Three adults and four children were in the house at the time.

One of the adults was Jason Devine, who as a member of Anti-Racist Action Calgary has in the past posted pictures of suspected white supremacists on his blog. More recently, he and his wife had put up posters in their neighbourhood “outing” people they claim are neo-Nazis.

[…]

Devine was beaten about his head, on his back and on his arms. His friend had his arm broken and is still in hospital awaiting surgery.

The White Professional Anti-Racist

White Anti-Racists who hope to be White Saviours believe in White Supremacy.

White people like the white saviour narrative, because they can identify with the white protagonist, who is absolved from white guilt and becomes a white hero for people of colour to worship. When the white protagonist joins the group of people of colour, white people imagine that it is possible for a white person to purge his whiteness, and hence, to free himself from white guilt and responsibility. Paradoxically, not only does the white protagonist rid himself of white guilt, but he also becomes the hero, the saviour, the superior group member because he is white.

Moreover, in the white saviour narrative, all the people of colour collectively bow down or even prostrate before the white protagonist to symbolize the white person’s superiority over all people of colour (such as in Avatar, after Jake Sully tames the Toruk), and to indicate the submission of people of colour to white leadership. The white protagonist is smarter, better, faster, or stronger than people of colour because of his whiteness. The story’s internal logic requires a reason for the white protagonist’s unique superiority, so it is usually his white culture that makes him superior. Superior white culture takes the form of symbolically white technology (telescopes, rifles, Western marksmanship in Dances With Wolves), white skills (American military training in The Last Samurai), or white knowledge (scientific reasoning from the white protagonist in Avatar, who happened to be characterized as being below-average in both science and reasoning).

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Declaring your anti-racist intentions may make you more racist.

It is probably not a good idea to publicly declare that you intend to be less racist, or that you are trying to be less racist. Doing so may make you less likely to change, which would result in you continuing with your racist behaviours.

In a post titled, Shut up! Announcing your plans makes you less motivated to accomplish them., Derek Sivers writes:

Tests done since 1933 show that people who talk about their intentions are less likely to make them happen.

Announcing your plans to others satisfies your self-identity just enough that you’re less motivated to do the hard work needed.

In 1933, W. Mahler found that if a person announced the solution to a problem, and was acknowledged by others, it was now in the brain as a “social reality”, even if the solution hadn’t actually been achieved.

NYU psychology professor Peter Gollwitzer has been studying this since his 1982 book “Symbolic Self-Completion” (pdf article here) – and recently published results of new tests in a research article, “When Intentions Go Public: Does Social Reality Widen the Intention-Behavior Gap?”

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A “safe space” for Whites to talk about race is unsafe for people of colour.

Some individuals believe that a “safe space” is one in which people can talk about a sensitive topic without being criticized. When the topic is race, some white individuals expect that a “safe” anti-racist space is one that is safe for whites to talk about race. However, a safe space for whites is one that is unsafe for people of colour.

When discussing race, the greatest fear for whites is being “attacked” by being accused of racism. The greatest fear for people of colour is being attacked by racism itself. If people should be able to discuss issues of race without being criticized, in practice, the result is the silencing of people of colour, while leaving whites beyond reproach.

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Whites engage in more racist acts after declaring support for Obama, study finds.

How Obama could be bad for racial equality (BPS Research Digest):

Daniel Effron and colleagues presented dozens of predominantly White undergrad students with one of two scenarios that would reveal their favouritism towards White people: one was a hiring decision, the other related to the allocation of funds to communities. Crucially, the students were asked to make their choices about the hiring or funding either before or after they had declared whether they planned to vote for Barack Obama, in what was then the upcoming Presidential election.

Students who declared their intention to vote for Obama before making the hiring/funding decisions subsequently showed more favouritism towards White people than did students who made their decisions first. A third study showed this effect was particularly apparent among more racially prejudiced students.

“Our findings raise the possibility that the opportunity to vote for an African-American for President could have reduced some voters’ concerns about appearing prejudiced, thereby ironically increasing the likelihood that they would favour Whites in subsequent decisions,” the researchers said.

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