Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Book Talk | Dismantling White Supremacy Day 4


I began this book last week and would love to have discussions based on the prompts provided within the book. The book is set up so that after each day's reading, there are a handful of prompts to respond to. Feel free to respond to as many or as few as you like. I would love for this to be a discussion and a place where we can learn and grow together. Please be honest, because that is the only way anything will change.

Additionally, I have been compiling a list of books under the #BlackLivesMatter Reading List tab. I am usually adding books daily that I find, or are recommended by others. Please leave a comment on that page if you have titles to add. I hope you can find titles on this list that you will learn from as well.

Day Four Prompts

White Silence - when people with white privilege stay complicity silent when it comes to issues of race and white privilege (definition given at 21%)

1. How have you stayed silent when it comes to race and racism?

2. What types of situations elicit the most white silence from you?

3. How has your silence been complicit in upholding racist behavior?

4. How do you benefit from white silence?

5. Whom in your life do you harm with your white silence?

Let's talk!


  1. These are important questions and kudos to you for publicizing them. I grew up in a very racist part of the country and it made me very sensitive to the issue and eager to do anything in my power to oppose the racist tendencies in our society. I made sure that my children were raised to appreciate people based on their character and personality, who they are rather than their racial or cultural heritage, and I am inordinately proud of the fact that their friends are a veritable rainbow of colors and cultures. In my own life I try to speak out in opposition to the idea of white supremacy and to do what I can to support those entities and groups that fight against discrimination of any kind. It is an ongoing battle. I know that I have benefited from white privilege and that behooves me to be especially vigilant against the damage that such bias has caused for others.

    1. I am so grateful that you have shared some thoughts for this day's prompts. This book is absolutely fantastic and I would encourage anyone who doesn't feel comfortable answering any of the questions here for all to see, to get the book for themselves, or journal them privately. I have always considered myself an ally, but have had my eyes opened to ways where I have still been problematic in my behavior without meaning to be. But it is also a good reminder that intent and perception are not the same and ultimately perception wins out over whatever I intended. I am also so glad to hear that despite the place you grew up in, you recognized that was not okay. I am trying to be very aware of all of these topics, and calling things out as I see and hear them.

  2. 1. There were definitely times in college before and after my introduction to the concept of White Privilege that I did not confront racism when I heard it around me. I kept quiet at the time because it seemed like I was the only one ever bothered by the remarks. When Michael Brown was murdered in Ferguson in August of 2014, I was starting my second year teaching in a predominantly Black neighborhood at an elementary school with a predominantly Black student body. My two paraprofessionals were African-American, and Eleanor's daycare provider in her first couple years of life was also African-American. I really learned to listen after Brown's murder because at the time I really bought into the narrative of Brown having possibly robbed the convenience store and I never stopped to consider the fact that even if he did, it was certainly not a crime punishable by death. I discovered that bias within myself and it truly grosses me out now in thinking how I responded then in repeating what the media had been saying, how he attacked the officer, etc. That was really the turning point where I started to return to the education again that I'd begun receiving back in college.

    2. None now. I call out racism when I see it and hear it.

    3. In the past as I mentioned in question 1, I ignored or let comments go that were racist when I was in college and didn't want to be singled out for calling someone out even when I knew what they were saying was gross and wrong and ignorant and racist.

    4. White Privilege is upheld when white silence is persistent. If no one speaks up and challenges that privilege, challenges those ignorant and racist remarks, then all white people benefit from keeping the system in place.

    5. If I choose to remain silent, that silence will harm all the boys and girls I taught over the last eight years who are BIPOC. My silence would harm my amazing paraprofessionals, who I could never have done my job without. It would harm Eleanor's TT, her God-brother, and compounded with the white silence of all other white people, we harm all BIPOC. That's why we can't stay silent and I refuse to anymore.

  3. Oh no! This chapter made me feel sick because I was in this situation yesterday and I chose not to speak up. My friend made a comment about reverse racism and that it exists because at her job, she gets offended/sad when black customers refuse to come to her and instead go to a black cashier. I knew she was wrong, and I wanted to explain why she was wrong, but I didn't feel as though I was knowledgeable enough or had the right words to do it. And so I said nothing and let her keep talking. I've been kicking myself since that conversation for not saying more. I've since come up with the response I should have given about how racism isn't just individual but institutional/systemic and based on history. And I've come up with several different examples I could have shared. But I didn't and I'm ashamed I didn't.

    I hope with this book and other sources I'll become more confident about speaking up and knowing what to say.


    1. Same! I think back over all the times in the past where I let comments slide and now I am extra vigilant and nope, none of it gets by. But in the past, even recently up to a fear years ago. Whenever I hear the phrase 'reverse racism' my blood boils. It's not a thing! Everyone can have prejudices, but racism is the power of a majority group. You could even ask her if she will only go to Black cashiers herself, or if she finds herself only going to white cashiers. Anything we can do to get people to recognize their own behaviors as also being part of the problem, I think will help a lot. I definitely do not feel as knowledgeable either, but I have come to the conclusion that my silence is worse than a mistake. A mistake I can grow from, but if I stay silent I may moss an opportunity to help someone else see their own biases, and lose a chance to work together to combat racism. What examples did you come up with?


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