By White Privilege, I Mean the Ability to Stay Alive (Afua Hirsch, Claudia Rankine)
I have discussions with Saidiya Hartman, the literary theorist and writer, about whether this line of inquiry is worth it, and she stands on the other side of it. But I can’t see how it’s not worth it. If you don’t engage, I feel like it gives people too much power to say that what they have they will always have. Race is a constructed thing, so if it’s constructed in one direction it could be constructed in another direction. So I think that it’s definitely worth it. I mean, we’ve seen with the protests in the last few months: people are capable of changing.
There’s a deep psychological need for whiteness to go unexamined. White people have one understanding about what whiteness is and to trouble it is to trouble them. And they cannot hold it, they really cannot bear it, but it really doesn’t have anything to do with me.