Question: What is, has, and will always be the intention behind racist attitudes and behaviors?
Answer: An agile alliteration of “6 Ps.” They are: the Promulgation of Policies that enable the Power, Prosperity, and Prestige of those with white Privilege.
Look and Listen
Peel back the layers of some white rhetoric, unpacking phrases such as “traditional values,” “make America great again,” “those thugs,” “those welfare queens,” etc., and you will see the dynamic orchestration of the 6 Ps.
Look closely at inequities and injustices embedded in voting rights; COVID-19 infection and death rates; healthcare; education; economics and employment; criminal justice and mass incarceration; excessive use of police force; and the impact of climate change, and you will see the 6 Ps among the roots.
Listen closely to what is being said and not said, and you’ll detect the fear, anger, and even hate ingrained in white persons who fear the alleged “loss” of Power, Prosperity, and Prestige–people who have been born and raised in the pervasive but untrue narrative that white people will somehow be diminished, will somehow have less, if Black people, Indigenous people, and People of Color are given the same privileges that whites enjoy.
The End Goal: Policy Change
If you are willing to see the 6 Ps, if you are willing to learn, if you are willing to get and stay uncomfortable, you will not only see them but become permanently unable to not see them. And you will become very motivated to learn about and fight unjust policies–which must be the ultimate target of any activism on behalf of Historically Underrepresented Groups (HUGs). These have been among my epiphanies as I gradually awaken from a lifelong slumber of white myopia, and I’m convinced they will be yours as well.
I’m just beginning to learn how to use whatever knowledge, skills, and resources I have to fight the 6 Ps. And I’m striving to do so in a peaceful, non-violent manner. None of this is easy, but all of it is necessary. It’s now my life’s work.
Let’s Do This Together
If you’re reading this: Please join me on this journey, if you’re not already on it. I’m encouraged by the words and actions of other white persons who’ve also begun to see and cannot un-see. I need you in the fight with me. And I’m willing to have difficult dialogue with you, if you’re of a different mindset than I am. We can figure this out together, but only if we both try.
But please know that my open-hearted, nonviolent approach to fighting for racial justice should not be interpreted as passivity or timidity.
For a subsequent post on “what lies beneath” the 6 Ps, click here.
Want to take a deep dive into all things racism and grasp a version of American history that you might not have been taught? Invest a few bucks and hours into reading Dr. Ibram X Kendi’s Stamped From the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America.