Last year I listened to a podcast called Seeing White. It helped me see myself and my society in a new way. I’d say it’s one of the top five most significant changes in my world view and self concept.
I’m a white man in America, and as I now know, that whiteness is largely invisible to me. Whiteness is to me as the water is to a fish: it’s all I’ve ever known, so when you ask me if the water is warm, I ask, “what’s water?”
Seeing White is a podcast series designed specifically to help white people see and understand whiteness. Some of the topics covered include:
- Where did the idea of race come from?
- When did affirmative action begin in America?
- What’s the difference between systemic, structural racism and individual bigotry?
- Why did white and black become the important social stratification in America? Why not rich versus poor, or native versus immigrant, or old versus young, or any of a number of other possibilities?
- If I’m “non-racist,” is that a good thing? What would happen if everyone were unbiased, non-racist, enlightened?
- How have scientists studied objective differences between races, and what did they find?
This list really only scratches the surface, and I just made it up from memory, so my own biases and impartial understanding of these topics are probably on full display there, albeit hard for me to see.
That’s the point of this series. It’s about learning to see what was previously taken for granted and thus hard to see. More than that: learning to see what has been designed to be hard to see.
Everyone who considers themselves “white” in America should listen to, and engage deeply with, this series of 14 podcast discussions.