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decentering_whiteness
document updated 1 year, 6 months ago, on Dec 21, 2022

Decentering Whiteness

I believe that White voices are disproportionally made the center of conversations, in ways big and small.

Big ways

How many writers and producers of the films and TV shows you watch are of color? How about the books, radio, and podcasts you consume? How many female creators, disabled creators, or queer creators? You may not even know, since it often takes some digging to find out how each person might self-identify.

The statistics aren't good. Whenever a piece of media requires outside funding, publishing approval, or even a business loan, inevitably decisions get made that exclude people of color and other marginalized groups. And even for low-budget projects, it can be much easier for White people to crowdsource money from their friends and family than for Black people, because of the huge racial disparities in wealth.

Some statistics:

Small ways

When difficult conversations about race happen in small groups, often the White people in the room steer the conversation towards how they feel about the difficult conversation, instead of focusing on the ongoing harm caused to people of color (and women, disabled people, queer folks, etc). White feelings are treated as more important than the actual harm that happens to marginalized groups.

I don't think we should ignore White people's concerns, by any means, White people need to do some serious work on their internal bias [2]. But White feelings shouldn't be the predominate focus of these conversations, when in a mixed audience.

We need to actually listen to marginalized voices when we're in conversations about the ways that they end up being marginalized. Also, don't argue with them when they describe the microaggressions and explicit bigotry they've faced, believe them.