Breaking Down the "Good White People" Paradigm

Confession time: I want people of color to see me as a “good white person.”  My brain knows that the dichotomy of good white people and bad white people is not useful or accurate, it reinforces the social divisions that feed racism, and it prevents white people from being honest about their own unintentionally internalized belief in white superiority.  My brain tells me that being seen as a good white person is not the point of the work. 

And yet, at the White Privilege Conference in April where I was both a workshop presenter and a white affinity group facilitator, there was a moment in which I was acutely aware of wanting to be a good white person.  I was attending a workshop about unlearning internalized white dominance.  The presenters were white, there was only one participant of color, and the room was packed.  When the presenters put up a slide asserting that white people believe in white superiority, a white man spoke up: “Isn’t that a stereotype about white people?”  Immediately, there was a buzz of incredulity around the room.  A white woman near me said, quite audibly, “Seriously?! You believe that?” ...

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