That’s the thing.
I believe you, too. You’re not a racist.
But that’s the thing. We white folk (well, I’m a white-passing Latina) complacently bask in the unexamined privilege of white dominance. And we don’t question it. Because we don’t see it.
But ask the Black girl if she had the luxury to not consider race, growing up. Ask The Brown girl, the Asian-American girl, the Indigenous girl. They grew up deeply, personally affected by race. And we didn’t. And the fact that we didn’t see it, didn’t rebel against it, didn’t do anything to reject it, makes us complicit in a systemically racist society.
So “I’m not a racist” can be contested.
In 1942, 127,000 Japanese Americans were placed in camps. Their white neighbors — many of whom would earnestly insist “I’m not a racist,” did nothing to stop this.
Having SEEN how deeply racist our systems are, I can only proclaim in not a racist if and when I reject racism. When I actively work for prison reform. When I speak up against gentrification. When I say #BlackLivesMatter.
It’s not white guilt. I just can see that the system is unfair, and rigged in my favor. And I see it’s my job to call that out, to demand fair play.