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JayGrym wrote

I understand. I simply have no control over those institutions. If I did they would no longer exist. What I'm coming to understand is if you're white just go screw yourself because no one wants your help. I just think that hurts the cause. The whites that aren't racist get lumped in with those that are racist. So there will be no progress on this front. Tactically, this is exactly what racist whites want. They want a complete distrust and hatred toward whites, especially if those whites are against the racism because it divides the general populations power. There's no solution for "white trash" like myself. We are white so we can't be part of the solution. How do I personally stop systemic racism? Show me the solution so I can follow the proper path please.

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indi wrote

What I'm coming to understand is if you're white just go screw yourself because no one wants your help. I just think that hurts the cause. The whites that aren't racist get lumped in with those that are racist. So there will be no progress on this front.

If that's what you're "coming to understand", then the real reason you're getting "lumped in" with white racists is because you're becoming one.

Racism is actually a pretty simple concept. It's racial bigotry + systemic oppression. Anyone of any race can do racial bigotry against any other race (or even their own!). So yes, when a black person makes fun of "honkies", they are doing racial bigotry just as much as when a white person makes fun of "n-words".

But the systemic oppression part makes a huge difference in those two cases. The systemic oppression of black people by white people means when a white person uses "the n-word", it's not just racial bigotry... it's racial bigory + systemic oppression... which makes it racism. By contrast, when a black person uses "honky", it's just racial bigotry without systemic oppression. That difference is why I can write out "honky", but have to say "n-word" rather than use the word.

Racial bigotry is bad. But racism, because it involves systemic oppression, is really goddam bad, and must be called out and fought against whenever it appears.

Now here's the really important thing about everything I've explained above... are you ready?... here it goes: There is not a single mention of "intention" anywhere.

That's because intentionality doesn't matter. When you said "[a]ctually OP states he didn't even think about race when he got the dreads so that means THEY weren't being racist", that is literally the dumbest fucking thing I read all week - and that's saying a lot because I'm an activist who reads a lot of right wing shit that is so stupid you wonder how they even mustered the brain power to move their fingers on the keyboard.

Racism doesn't stop being racism just because you didn't mean to hurt anyone. And it certainly doesn't stop being racism just because you were being selfish and not giving a fuck... oh, pardon me, "doing something to make yourself feel comfortable".

If dreads really were culturally appropriated, then it does not matter even one tiny bit whether the OP appropriated them deliberately or even knew they were appropriated. Yes, ignorance is not a defence, and "not caring" is certainly not. Good intentions are also not a defence - culturally appropriating something because you like the culture you're appropriating it from does not make you a hero. (I mean, duh, right?) Cultural appropriation is stealing, and stealing is stealing. Saying "I didn't think about race when I culturally appropriated this" is no different from saying "I didn't think about the people I was stealing this from"; you can't seriously believe that is a sensible defence, can you?

Now... all that being said, I don't know if dreads really are a cultural appropriation issue. I've never met a person of colour who really cared - not even activists sensitive to the issue of appropriation - because it's not something actually deprives the source culture of anything. It's not like a white artist doing indigenous-style art, or a white musician "acting black" and making black music. Those things are actually taking away opportunities from the source culture. Another reason people have told me they don't care is that it's not like white people are being rewarded for wearing dreads while people of colour are being punished for it. That's what I've always been told about the issue. But you shouldn't take my experience or anecdotes as the final word. If you care, you should ask people of colour what they think (but not every rando PoC you know or meet - ask in places where those kinds of questions are welcome; there are plenty of groups who are happy to discuss those kinds of topics).

And that's really the problem that I'd say everyone here has with both your and the OP's attitudes. Doing something racist is not in itself a crime, because we all grew up in a very racist society and racism is deeply embedded in everything we've learned. We are all "white trash" (well, those of use who are white, anyway). We will fuck up and do racist shit from time to time... all of us. And if we're lucky, we'll have friends who call us out for it. What happens next is where your and the OP's problem lies. When you do something racist and someone calls you out on it, do you humbly ask experts - usually the targets of the alleged racism, who are almost always the experts on the topic - about their opinions, and what you should do next? Or do you act like an ignorant, privileged asshole, assume you know best about racial issues that really don't have any impact at all on you and that you've never really thought about before, and start whining about how much it sucks to be white?

One of those choices is correct. The other is how you get lumped in with white racists.

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JayGrym wrote

I agree with you. I have asked how I personally can stop systemic racism and haven't gotten an answer (I don't think it was you that I asked). If I can get an answer to that I will follow that path.

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