In a “topsy-turvy” world where there are far more questions than answers, each Villa Zoomer took time this week to sit back and look deeply into her heart. Nourished by insights adapted from a two-day Justice Committee Workshop, “Breaking the Silence Confronting Racism, Power and Privilege,” they faced head-on one of the most difficult historical issues of our time—racism.
When we speak of racism, power and white privilege, we open a Pandora’s Box of complexities and multigenerational issues. The very definition of ‘white privilege’ implies that Caucasian peoples enjoy a superior classification of themselves and their role in society. For the most part, the privileged remain unaware of the subtle attitudes that they have enjoyed since birth. On the contrary, people of color deal daily with an internalized racial oppression that teaches them to accept and believe negative social definitions of themselves, whether consciously or unconsciously. This creates a societal divide both wide and painful.
Discussing this topic was not an easy task. Each Zoomer faced the challenge of recognizing her own sense of privilege; then evaluating it in light of effects it might have had on the lives of others. Had she ever felt “better than” a person of color, or “smarter than”? Had she ever felt more “entitled to”? More “powerful”?
In this regard, no one of us can lay claim to total innocence. It is not easy to own such attitudes, to recognize that hidden side of self which often remains buried in fear and misguided intention. We are called to be better than that; to be persons who focus mind and heart on the transformational power of tolerance, communication and acceptance.
This article is but a miniscule step toward solving society’s racial injustice dilemma. Ultimately, it is only through our belief in the Oneness of all creation that we will embrace a fullness of unity with God and one another. Let us, together, take a giant leap toward that end.