White fragility is a concept that many are unaware of. The exact definition of the term is, “discomfort and defensiveness on the part of a white person when confronted by information about racial inequality and injustice.”
This is a common reaction when Black Americans speak up about the racial inequalities they face on a regular basis. Whites view these points as an attack, they feel the need to defend their honor and prove they are not racist. Whites expect the sugar-coated version. They “tone police” people of color constantly because they aren’t used to discomfort in that way. It is horrifying to admit you are racist, but, unfortunately, every single white person is racist.
Our society is set up in a way that directly benefits white people at the cost of people of color. People of color have been oppressed for so long that racism is deep rooted in almost everything. People of color have higher death rates, lower incomes and constant microagressions based on their race.
Whites have privilege. They have the privilege to walk down the street in a hoodie, buy toy guns and access to healthcare without fear of oppression.
The first step to equality is to admit that racism is a white-person issue. It is not something we should ignore and hope that the other communities figure it out for themselves. We have to admit that we have a privilege, immense amounts of it and begin to reject it in every form. Use it for good, instead of evil.
Some examples include peaceful protesting. Black Lives Matter protests are still going strong because whites are standing and supporting the cause. We saw the reaction of police to white protestors compared to people of color with the domestic terrorism attack on the Capitol Jan. 6. Mostly white offenders were peaceably allowed to walk outside the Capitol and are only now being arrested.
At the BLM protests, however, people of color were shot, tear-gassed and arrested on the steps of the Capitol last summer. Many times, whites have a protection from the law and we should put it to good use.
Start by doing work within yourself. Admit that you have privilege and begin to brainstorm ways you can help the cause. Read the history of black people, it is never easier than it is this month to find it. Sign petitions, protest, fight for what is right. There should be no reason that our fellow Americans should be afraid every single day of their lives. Be a real patriot and end racism.