Confronting Racism

 Glenn Bigonet, M.A.

Social Activist for Racial Equity

Facilitating Discussions about Racism





White Centrality


"The norm is white, apparently, in the view of people who see things in that way. For

them, the only reason you would introduce a black character is to introduce this kind

of abnormality. Usually, it's because you're telling a story about race or at least racism."

Octavia Butler


White centrality is white people's assumptions or actions keeping themselves the center of what is happening. It is white people's insistance that their reality or needs are central and thus more important than the needs of people of color. White centrality defines white experiences as the norm thus invalidates all other ways of experiencing the world. In essence white centrality is another supporting mechanism of white supremacy.


Layla Saad gives some good examples of how white centrality shows up. I list those examples here:(p.137-138)

  • The overrepresentation of people with white privilege and white-centered narratives in movies, art, books, and other creative arenas.
  • The overrepresentation of people with white privilege in positions of leadership and success.
  • White feminism, a type of feminism that centers on the struggle of gender only, because race is not a source of oppression or discrimination for people with white privilege.
  • The reinterpretation of historical events and culturally significant holidays through a white-centered narrative that erases or minimizes the narratives of (people of color), like the American holiday of Thanksgiving...
  • White saviorism, which reframes (people of color) as less civilized and less advanced than white people and therefore needing to be "saved" by white people who are seen as more civilized and more advanced.
  • Tone Policing, as it asks (people of color) to speak in tones that are considered acceptable to those with white privilege.
  • The affirmation and valuing of European standards of beauty over (people of color) standards (e.g. straight hair, blue eyes, white or light skin, smaller nose).
  • In antiracism work, the focus on how antiracism work makes people with white privilege feel over how racism makes (people of color) feel. White apathy is a form of white centering, as it is more focused on how tiring and over whelming antiracism is for people with white privilege over how harmful and abusive racism is to (people of color).
  • The response of  #AllLivesMatter or #BlueLivesMatter to #BlackLivesMatter, not understanding that the social justice movement would not have to exist if all lives were treated as if they mattered equally.
  • The reaction of white fragility when (people of color)-only spaces are created, when white feelings are ignored during racial conversations, when hashtags like #BlackGirlMagic are used, when cultural appropriation is called out, when (people of color) are in leadership positions.
Copyright © 2020   Glenn Bigonet, M.A.