Georgia NeSmith
4 min readMay 19, 2022


Actually, no. I didn't miss his point at all. Rather, YOU MISSED *MY* POINT.

I don't believe her essay is counterproductive at all. To me it tells the truth straight on.

Nothing you have said here addresses what I ACTUALLY SAID.

I believe you have either completely misunderstood what I said, or misinterpreted what I said, or .... Well, I won't go there.


"Actually, I have to say a resounding "no" to your assessment. Because every white person in one way or another at some level or another harbors racist feelings.

And I say that about myself.

My point is, we were all born into and grew up in a racist culture - which remains racist, with just a few adjustments.

White people need to hear the truth. "

They need to stop making excuses for themselves. Stop with the white tears. Stop whining about people calling them out for their unconscious racism.

It's the people who can't face up to the fact that racism REMAINS endemic EVEN WITH PEOPLE who are consciously anti-racist.

>>>**Like ME**<<<

I pointed out that, while I have fought against racism from the first moment I became conscious of it (like, age NINE), I STILL find myself occasionally responding in a manner that reflects the racist nature of our culture and my failure to imagine how what I said might be heard entirely differently from what I thought I said.

Frankly, I can't understand why you have such difficulty grasping and accepting that concept.

Bottom line, ya gotta start listening instead of assuming that YOU know and can identify everything that counts as racism to a person who has EXPERIENCED it.

As I say in the essay of mine to which I linked:

Playing the Denial Card: Yes. All. Whites.

Some excerpts:

When we argue “not all whites,” we say: “I can’t hear your pain.”

We say, “the pain I feel when you include me in your description of white people is more important to me than the pain you feel when experiencing racism daily. (And besides…it can’t really be all that bad, can it? I mean, for realz…/s).

Even if/when we acknowledge our privilege, that privilege doesn’t go away. We still own it. Saying “not all whites” when the subject is someone else’s pain and grief *prioritizes our pain over theirs,* changing the subject to us.

Centering OUR experiences, OUR identities.

We demand the opportunity to explain why what we said or did that precipitated the person’s pain is not racist, because *our feelings about what we see as a false accusation must come first.*

We are focused on our own feelings, not how something we said or did could fit into the larger context of their lived experiences.

In our focus on our defense against the implication we may be racist, we forget the pain, the rage, the exhaustion of fighting the same fight over and over. We don’t see the “OMG she’s doing it again!” in the face of the person who just tried to tell us what she felt about our original words or deeds.

No matter how we feel about racism nor how hard we work to resist and fight against it, we are, nonetheless, beneficiaries of the system that reinforces racism on a daily basis. That doesn’t make us evil, and we do not need to be defensive about it.

Defensiveness is just another form of denial. And round and round in the circle we go; where we stop, nobody knows.





Because THAT is the #1 problem with white people insisting they absolutely are not racist.

THEY REFUSE TO LISTEN TO THE PAIN. Because if they heard the pain, they would then realize how much they have contributed to that pain. And they would put the guilt on themselves.

So instead, they just deny, deny, deny, deny.

It's like when a couple argues. Usually (tho not always) it's the woman who is trying to get the guy to understand her feelings. Instead, all he will do is defend himself and say she is wrong, end of discussion.

And thus, stating without words that her feelings are illegitimate, or totally false. Or, the most hurtful reaction: you're being totally "unreasonable."

White people (like most men) "don't get it" because they have no experience whatever to the kinds of experiences black people have. We will NEVER know how that feels because we will NEVER know what it's like to deal with all those micro agressions day after day after day, hour after hour after hour. We have NO IDEA what it feels like to be treated as second class citizens.

Bottom line: whatever you intended is irrelevant. Because the EXPERIENCE OF IT, whether intended or not, is the heart of it.

Instead of defending ourselves, we need to shut up and listen.

After you've done that listening for a while, you will begin to understand.

Until that moment, until WHITE PEOPLE TAKE RESPONSIBILITY for the impact we have, nothing will change.

Once white people are able to STFU long enough to actually HEAR what is being said, THEN and only then, will real communication about the issues take place.

We have walls up. And we are the only people who are responsible for taking down our own walls.



Georgia NeSmith

Retired professor, feminist, writer, photographer, activist, grandmother of 5, overall Wise Woman. Phd UIA School of Journalism & Mass Communication, 1994.