If you are a white person in America, social justice educator Robin DiAngelo has a message for you: You are a racist, clean and simple, and without conscious effort you will always be.
You just can’t help it, you see, because you’ve been wrapped in a cocoon of white privilege since you splashed out of your mother’s womb, protesting the fear of everything.
You may spit bitterly right now on this insult to your humanity – because how can you your be a racist? You have black colleagues that you consider friends; you do not see skin color; you have never owned slaves; you marched in the 60s; even today you are protesting against the uniformed “bad apples” that use the power of their authorities to stifle minority lives and minority rights.
CNN sat down with DiAngel and asked about conversations about today’s protests, how they fit into the history of the civil rights movement, and what white people need to do now. The conversation is arranged for flow and clarity.
Q: Is this the “me too” moment for racial equality or will the conversation decay and fade as it has been done in the past?
DiAngelo: There are a few things that I think are different at the moment. First, it is maintained. It is not one march, one protest. They are ongoing and spreading around the world.
There is a discourse in the mainstream media that I didn’t think I would ever hear in my life. Those of us who have been beating the drum for years are finally hearing expressions like “systemic racism” used in the mainstream media.
The number one and two books currently on sale in the world are both about racism, one was written by me, a white person, and one was written by Ibram X. Candy, black person. You can google “What can whites do now?” and you won’t be able to keep track of all the great lists of resources and guidelines.
We hear a debate on compensation for the descendants of enslaved Africans on the stage of a democratic debate. I think for the first time in history, a recent poll showed that more white Americans believe there are benefits to whites than they don’t.
These are huge breakthroughs. But it needs to be endured and I’m a little worried about what will happen when the cameras disappear. I remember here Malcolm Gladwell milestone theory: You only need 30%. And when I feel discouraged, I remember it because I think “we have 30%. Let’s keep it up.”
Read more from CNN’s questions and questions with Robin DiAngel here.
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