New ARWA 101 Resource: The Costs of Racism to White People
While I was talking with various people about SB1070 over the last week or two, I noticed looks of surprise and confusion from white and brown people alike when I talked about the cost of laws like this to Whites. I’ve added an additional link to my page of Anti Racist White Allies (no, that doesn’t HAVE to be an oxyoron) that speaks more directly to those costs.
I think it’s important not to set ourselves up on too high a pedestal or delude ourselves into thinking that we are in this fight for people of color. While the effects of SB1070 and other forms of institutional racism are clearly more devastating to minority groups, they hurt white people to, and we have a vested interest in this fight.
WE TEND TO THINK OF RACISM as a problem for people of color and something we should be concerned about for their sake. It is true that racism is devastating to them, and if we believe in justice, quality, and equal opportunity for all, then we should be trying to end it. As we saw in the last sections, racism does produce material benefits for white people. However, the costs of racism to white people are devastating, especially to those of us without the money and power to buffer their effects. They are not the same costs as the day-to-day violence, discrimination, and harassment that people of color have to deal with. Nevertheless, they are significant costs that we have been trained to ignore, deny, or rationalize away. They are costs that other white people, particularly those with wealth, make us pay in our daily lives. It is sobering for us as white people to talk together about what it really costs to maintain such a system of division and exploitation in our society. We may even find it difficult to recognize some of the core costs of being white in our society.