Silent racism

Recommended reading for anti-racism work is Silent Racism: How Well-Meaning White People Perpetuate the Racial Divide by Barbara Trepagnier. It is discussed by Marc Speir in the Texas State News Service.

Barbara Trepagnier says that people should replace the question of whether or not they are racist with asking themselves how they are racist.

“It’s a much more fruitful question,” Trepagnier, a sociology professor at Texas State University, said. “We’re this way because of the stereotypes we all grew up with and the ideas in our head have everything to do with our actions. My point is that those stereotypes matter.”

Trepagnier argues that every person harbors some racist thoughts and feelings, and that the acknowledgements of these attitudes are important to changing racial inequality.

The 66 year-old recently celebrated Paradigm Publishers’ March 30 paperback release of her book entitled, Silent Racism: How Well-Meaning White People Perpetuate the Racial Divide, as it continues to find further shelf space in bookstores nationwide.

Trepagnier says while blacks can act with prejudice, there is a difference between being prejudiced and being racist.

“I’m referring to systemic racism,” Trepagnier said. “Blacks can certainly act with prejudice. But with whites as the majority in our society, racism becomes an institutional structure practiced by the dominant group.”

Her book contends that “silent racism” fosters routine actions not recognized by an individual as racist, but upholds the status quo.

Trepagnier says that this form of superiority remains prevalent in American society, and is a major reason African-Americans continue to struggle. Blacks are outperformed by their white counterparts in most social demographics, including factors such as education, employment and income. She says that whites that deny the existence of racism or dismiss it as unimportant are often protecting white privilege.

Trepagnier says that some whites become detached from the race issue while others are so concerned with it that they become apprehensive about it, avoiding even the mention of the topic. In both cases, this passive stance silently provides the racist actions of others an endorsement, or worse, encouragement.

Read it all here

General Convention resolutions encourage church leaders to take anti-racism training and all candidates for ordination are required to study this issue in their formation.

Have you participated in anti-racism training yet?

Information on The Episcopal Church’s anti-racism program is here

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