Katrina Richardson: How Can White Americans Be Free?

No people come into possession of a culture, without having paid a heavy price for it: James Baldwin Measure, measure, measure. We learn to measure first. We spend our days measuring, and when we count, we start at one. Every number after is a relation to one. Two is after one. Three is after one. And so on. Every child knows that one is Whiteness. The beginning In the beginning there was Whiteness. This is the glittering starting point. This is The Default. This is what we measure everything else against. It's clear that we as Black and Brown Americans, are still recovering from the racist indoctrinations of the past 500 years. Though laughable it sounds, white Americans, too, have suffered from this crime. As our country began, and brown races were systematically denied the right to be human, and so internalized the role of the savage, white consciousness bullied its way into objectivity. The white mind became the unbiased mind, that objectively observed all the rest. This is called The Default: This belief that the white experience is a neutral and objective experience, and white consciousness is the standard consciousness, unless otherwise specified. White culture, and American culture as a whole, suffers from the tragedy of whiteness, as the default setting. Being The Default keeps white Americans from being liberated, because it denies them a specific identiy, by absorbing them into neutral blankness. This creates a lonely detachment from the rest of the world. Being The Default is the largest privilege granted to white Americans, yet it is so deeply entrenched, it is the most visible, we cannot see the edges of the atmosphere, but it exists. Whites benefit from being The Default, by having inherent legitimacy, in a way that is denied to people of color. Their experience of life, is normal. Whites are free from the constant awareness, and constant awareness, and subsequent constant paranoia, of existing in another person's world. Because The Default has so successfully dominated our subconscious, because our egos have been shaped by it from the moment of birth, we perpetuate it in micro ways, while fighting inequality with more obvious actions. The silent poison continues to poison. Whiteness as The Default, keeps brown people in subjugation by convincing them, that every part of their being, physical, spiritual and emotional, exist within a white narrative. When you are made to exist within something you are forced to be smaller than that which contains you. This is precisely the basis of racist thought. Brown existence, brown consciousness is smaller.         

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