Glenn Bigonet, M.A.
Social Activist for Racial Equity
Facilitating Discussions about Racism
"Growing up in segregation reinforces the message that our
experiences and perspectives are the only ones that matter."
Segregation, the separation of people on the basis of the color of their skin, is an issue that I thought and that many people think is an issue of the past. Yes there are no longer white water fountains and black water fountains, people of color can sit an where they want on a bus, red lining is now illegal, and people can live where they want to but segregation is still very much a part of our culture. In fact, people are now more racially segregated than they were in the 1980's. Because systemic racism is still very much alive and supported through our implicit biases white and black people still feel most comfortable living around people of their own race. Even today it's been found that if a white neighborhood becomes more than 30% black then many consider it undesirable and move away. The fact that we still differentiate good and bad neighborhoods and schools along racial lines greatly supports segregation. Because of the racism they face it is extremely uncomfortable for many people of color to move into white neighborhoods and when they do it is more often than not motivated by their wish for better schools for their children.
Most whites are never encouraged to develop relationships with people of color nor to learn about different cultures or ways of being. I've heard Robin DiAngelo say in numerous settings (I'll paraphrase here) "that a white person can go through their entire life without ever having a meaningful relationship with a person of color and no where will they get the message that there is a loss in this." Having cross racial relationships is not only not valued, it is in many ways outright discouraged.
Segregation is a strong supporter of systemic racism as our separateness allows us to hold onto the false beliefs that we hold onto. These false racist beliefs that keep us wanting to stay distant from eachother in the first place. Integration is not a cure all for racism but it has been shown to reduce it and is necessary to create true racial equality.
|Copyright © 2020 Glenn Bigonet, M.A.|