Getting real about dominant white culture

No White Nonsenseno-white-nonsense was created because: “We believe it is our responsibility to call out white friends, relatives, contacts, speakers, and authors who are contributing to structural racism and harming our friends of color.” The team at White Nonsense Roundup support people of color online upon their request “if a white person is filling your social media with white nonsense – anything from overt racism to well-intentioned problematic statements – tag us and a white person will come roundup our own.” You can read more about White Nonsense Roundup’s work here.

Last month they posed some questions on Twitter that have been rolling around in my head ever since. They referenced Waking Up White: And Finding Myself in the Story of Race, by Debby Irving, who talks about dominant white culture behaviors that are barriers to dismantling racism. They shared these behaviors as:

  • Sense of urgency
  • Right to comfort/entitlement
  • Valuing formal education over life experience
  • Conflict avoidance
  • Defensiveness
  • Belief in one right way
  • Either/or thinking
  • Being judgmental
  • Emotional restraint
  • Competitiveness
  • Being status oriented

No White Nonsense then asked,

White folks…do you identify with some/all of these mindsets and behaviors? Do you see them as virtues? If so, when? Did you even realize these traits are characteristic of dominant white culture?”

Not only are these behaviors barriers to dismantling racism, I see them as barriers to creating sound partnerships in international aid, philanthropy, social enterprise, and impact investing too.

I’m just gonna let that roll around in your head now too…


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