Racism Hurts Everyone – Costs to White People


Part of being committed to eliminating racism is continuing to grow in our understanding of the horrible effects of racism on people of color today. While there is no comparison with the effects on people of color, white people are also dehumanized and burdened by racism. It is valuable to also grow in our understanding of this part of the system of racism that affects us all. For instance, white people often:

• Experience a sense of being cut off from people of color – of not belonging with, or being welcomed by, people of color (who are a majority of the world’s population)
• Have stereotypes, prejudices, and negative thoughts about people of color, and feelings of superiority enter our minds against our will
• Are deeply pained by learning about the suffering and inequities experienced by people of color as a result of racism
• Feel hopeless and powerless to create a just society in the face of racism
• Feel guilty about the history of racism and current racism
• Fear making mistakes and being seen as racist
• Have our integrity eroded and our sense of goodness and self-worth undermined by our failures to stand up against racism
• Experience unjustified fears of people of color
• Are separated from other white people by feelings about race
• Are separated from people of color who are working class and poor, who are our natural allies, with whom we could join forces to bring about a more equitable distribution of wealth that would benefit us all
• Experience unfounded fears of what people of color may do to white people when they have the power to exact revenge or retribution for racism
• Miss out on the benefits of deep human relationships with people of other “races” and cultures, and all that can be learned and enjoyed in such relationships

What would you add to the list?

The position of supremacy is inherently dehumanizing to individuals in the dominant group, in addition to the terrible costs to the subordinated group. Our full humanity can only be realized in full community with other human beings - in situations of reciprocity, equity, fairness, and mutuality – with all of God’s children.