Waking Up to Whiteness

Pachamama Alliance • 28 August 2019

Attention on individual and systemic racism is increasing around the world with growing anti-immigrant, white nationalist sentiments and outright violence towards people of color. For people committed to building a socially just world, these events highlight how inescapable the severity and brutality of racism is.

Of those who report it, over 70% of people who engage in Pachamama Alliance programs identify as white, so what insights are available for a predominantly white organization? What special responsibilities might be available? 

This post invites a conversation to explore whiteness as it relates to racism. Robin DiAngelo, the author of White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism, asks:

"How do we pull this off? How do so many of us who are white individually feel so free of racism and yet we live in a society that is so profoundly separate and unequal by race?”

Her message offers an important perspective on recent events captured in the article Denying Racism Supports It and commentary from Princeton University professor Eddie Glaude on the recent shooting that targeted Latinx people in El Paso, Texas. Take a look, and share your thoughts in the comments below.

Robin DiAngelo, a diversity trainer, says, "As a result of being raised as a white person in this society, I have a racist worldview. I have deep racist biases. I have developed racist patterns...I didn't choose any of that, I don't feel guilty about it. It is an inevitable result of being raised in this society in which racism is the bedrock."

What influences have shaped your worldview with respect to race? Do you see areas where racist views in society have shaped your own? (You might consider this white privilege checklist from Peggy McIntosh in your response.)