This is a response to Putting the white into multiculturalism
I hate when people say they are colorblind. You do too see color, quit lying! It’s a damn shame that many people would rather make things homogenized than celebrate the diversity of the human experience.
I personally love being in spaces with people from a multiplicity of backgrounds. I feel like when people see all kinds of different people around them they become more humble, more open, and more likely to be receptive to each others experiences.
I am going to admit to feeling a little-bit of that hurt feeling of exclusion when I hear the term POC or WOC, because it is a word that does exclude me. It makes me feel like I must be colorless, blank, clear. But I try to just acknowledge that feeling and move on, because I know how important those terms are–as well as my exclusion from them–to people who need to feel proud of their identity and heritage.
I think it’s a damn shame that white people tend to be so ignorant of our heritage(s). If they did a little research, they might learn that most of Europe was once a collection of Pagan tribes living off the land–until they were brutally enslaved and stripped of their culture by the Romans. Thousands of years of religious and cultural oppression can twist people badly. (Serfdom, enforced Christianity, Witch Trials, etc…)
Those with Irish heritage, in particular, might learn how Saint Patrick “drove the snakes into the sea”. (Thousands of pagans committed suicide rather than convert to Christianity.) How marriage was illegal without the lord’s sanction, leading to the tradition of “jumping the broom,” a tradition that they shared with their fellow black slaves: after the Potato Famine (which would not have been a famine if the British weren’t shipping all of the edible food overseas) forced many into debt-slavery in the New World.
Understanding that my heritage included such abuse helped me deal with my feelings of white guilt. Seeing slavery and institutionalized racism from the context of a (mentally) enslaved people perpetuating their own oppression, I could compare it to a child abuse victim duplicating their own abuse.
Still NOT OKAY. But maybe something that can be understood and healed.