"What are your thoughts about white exceptionalism, guilt, and shame? Have you felt that way? Have you been driven by toxic white guilt? Share your thoughts with the other participants."
Regretably in the past, throughout high school and some college, I've seen myself as exceptional having done little to no work on my understanding of systemic racism. I had a broad understanding and knew that there was inequality and injustice, but did not know the extent of it in a systemic way. Embarrassing, but true. I chastised people who were overt racists, but ignored my own subtle racist microaggressions. *Smacks head* I now realize there are no exceptions. All white people have to look at bias, reflect on problematic interactions or past experiences with microaggressions or other racist views, and consider privileges we have and hold, to be able to destabilize them and help other white people do the same. I do feel white guilt and shame. I've felt embarrassed, inadequate, fumbling, and the fragility that goes with complacency and limited interactions regarding race. I think this is important to not avoid these complicated feelings. I believe they need to be experienced and acknowledged; but then, I have to launch into concrete action and education. I am prepared to face it head on, and am resolved to do so. I do have friends who have toxic white guilt and who are militant in call-outs, and who slam and denigrate others on social media. I have always agreed that this call-out, as was mentioned in a video in this training, often doesn't lead to a dialogue, rather defensiveness and a counter-productive interaction. Though part of me thinks, it's time for people to have their ass kicked because people seem so entrenched in their views, or prejudice, that a wake-up call is needed. So, part of me has that thought, too. Though, I understand that this is delicate work and it's painful work, and the interactions that happen from here will be that way, too. I am a sensitive individual; but I've never been fragile, so I respond well to feedback and am able to see past the delivery. I'm not easily hurt. What's called for is cultural humility. I believe that.