Dying of Whiteness Part 1



I just finished a book with some interviews that shocked me and I want to share some of what I learned with you along with some actions white people can take to unlearn the twisted thinking he describes. The book is “Dying of Whiteness: How the Politics of Racial Resentment is Killing America’s Heartland”, the author is Jonathan M. Metzl. 

The book is full of interviews and deep data dives into the “heartland” of the US. He found direct evidence that white people would rather die than lose our perceived place in the racial hierarchy. Now maybe this doesn’t initially surprise you but when he shared a story of a man dying of liver failure who “voices a literal willingness to die for his place in this hierarchy rather than participate in a system that might put him on the same plane as immigrants or racial minorities” It hit me hard. He is talking about actually dying of lack of healthcare and being glad to do it! 

Whenever I am furious, angry, embarrassed, confused, by another white person’s take on racial matters I know that I can make a real and immediate difference by searching within myself for these attitudes, rooting them out and actively unlearning them. This process makes a difference for the next person of color who interacts with me, helps me make better decisions about systemic interventions or actions I want to take and keeps me out of fear when I talk to other white people about racism. 

Here is the practice I came up with for this week, I would love to hear what you think about it…

Dying of Whiteness 1 -Whiteness Cards

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Thank you for everything you do to make this world a better place!