Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash

Once again white folks, please stop assuming you know what racism is

You will never feel the deep down pain of it. So you don’t have the authority to tell a black person their feelings are invalid

Georgia NeSmith
4 min readMay 3, 2022

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NOTE: This piece was written in response to a comment by Robert Freedom who in turn was responding to one from from Aza Y. Alam. The interchange was in reply to discussions of Rebecca Stevensarticle linked below. The “you” addressed here is Robert Freedom. However it could just as well be written for all white men and women who care about racism..

You (Robert Freedom) express yourself with the privilege-based confidence that you know what racism is, and that the black people and people of color who experience lack the authority to name it when they experience it. That white people can be authorities on it without having lived inside it.

The assumption built into your response implies that it is possible for a white person to comprehend what’s going on in a way that gives them authority to argue that someone’s claim is illegitimate. In other words, you believe it is possible for white people to be better authorities on how racism is enacted and experienced in daily life. You may not intend to imply that, but your words do so in fact.

Cuz you know, you have the white rationalizations down pat.

Unless you ultimately see how profoundly you need to change your perspective by actually LISTENING to black people, you will never grasp how the white middle class male privilege from which you speak literally colors everything you understand about racism.

Your privilege blinds you to reality.

You appear to be wrapped up in a rationalist empiricist point of view. It keeps you safe from having to feel what you need to feel in order to understand the points black people and people of color make about their lives.

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Georgia NeSmith

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