I’m sure we have all heard a version of this before, usually said by a white person, “If we just stop talking about race, things will be better!”  I’m going to tell you why that’s a terrible idea.

Your logic is bad, and you should feel bad.

racism-today-afrosapiophileThat’s the type of logic that you see in diabetics who don’t take care of themselves and end up going blind or losing limbs — ignoring problems generally just allows them to fester and grow.  There’s no reason you should believe that ignoring something will make it disappear.  See also: default judgements

Ignoring the problem is part of the problem.

White people in the states have kept our heads buried in the sand for decades — we aren’t paying attention to how the police treat black people, we aren’t empathizing with black people, we aren’t exposing ourselves to their perspective.  That’s the problem.  Ignoring race, pretending that there are no historical and cultural differences between whites and blacks have only made things worse.

A lack of understanding leads to white people saying stupid things, like this.

That’s also why black history month is so important, because our education system straight up does not ensure that all children have an understanding of the racial history of our country.  Schools in the south routinely minimize the horrors of slavery and Jim Crow. And if white kids don’t understand the systemic fuckery that black people have been victims of, they believe stupid shit like racism doesn’t exist, and everyone has a equal chance at achieving the “American Dream”.  


White kids might as well be living in an alternate reality from black kids, as there are serious fundamental differences to how this country treats people of different races, and ignoring those differences only allows us to continue on this path of blacks and whites living in completely different realities.  Because psychologically speaking, perception shapes reality, and whites generally perceive that racism (against black people) is no longer an issue as that’s what we were indoctrinated to believe.  Which shapes our decisions and the way we approach the world, which then allows the government to continue to oppress people of color unchallenged.  

So no — not talking about differences is probably the worst thing we could be doing.  We need to talk about those differences and realize that the story that whites have been telling ourselves is COMPLETELY different from the reality that blacks are living, and we can do nothing to change that until we realize it.

Are you bold enough to stand with radical honesty?
Photography Credit: Johnny Silvercloud

Written by Natalina

Natalina is a cat lady living in Northern Minnesota where she is studying clinical psychology. Her research interests include trauma and social reactions to interpersonal trauma disclosure. Twitter @NatalinaWineMix


  1. Tim Wise has some excellent analogies for that type of comment above. Racism is the only issue that people sa, if you talk about it, causes it.

    People don’t say talking about homelessness causes homelessness, or that talking about starvation causes starvation, or talking about mental illness causes mental illness. no other social ill gets that treatment because the people making the kind of statement are MLK’s ” good” white people”, who “prefer a negative peace which is the absence of tension.
    The real reason is White fragility, in that they prefer their feelings of comfort to solving the issue. The subject makes them feel uncomfortable so its best that other people shut up about it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Some white people believe when a few “rags to riches” stories happen in the Black community that means we all have the same opportunities to achieve the American Dream. Talking about racism is like a double edge sword with some white people. On the one hand, slavery and Jim Crow have affected our abilities to achieve, but white people would say we’re lazy just because lil Jimmy from the block made it out the hood and is now a multimillionaire. I believe the majority of Black millionaires are entertainers and athletes. A Black man achieving the American Dream because he made it to the NFL doesn’t mean that the glass ceiling is broken.


  3. For white people, talking about race is like talking about sex to their kids. Its usually so uncomfortable that it never gets brought up. The only thing that happens is a form of “colorblind racism” that festers inside the brain and becomes more aggressive in time, making kids believe that racism isn’t a problem because “we are all equal”. Colorblind then becomes a form of insensitivity to other races and cultures. Whiteness, then becomes the default race to strive towards. When you have black kids picking white dolls over black dolls, this proves my point of default whiteness being the norm. Great post.


  4. It’s about not having a clear conscience. It’s what makes it uncomfortable. Otherwise what would be the issue in talking about it?


  5. This is why I am here, listening, thinking, and not sharing my thoughts – because I need to understand a lot more before I can even try to have an opinion. Thank you for your hard work.


  6. You want to talk unpleasant truths…I’m a 40yo black woman about to marry a 60yo white man. We were discussing the annual Sistrunk Parade and Festival held here in South Florida and he wanted to know who was, “Sistrunk”. So I explained, Dr. Sistrunk was the first to open a Black hospital in Broward County. My fiance inquired as to whether or not he’d been successful. I, of course, had to point out, he had no choice but to be successful as his was the only hospital for blacks within the Tri-County area. My love’s response? “I didn’t know that!! Oh babe, really?! Damn, that’s shitty…are you sure?”

    I have no doubt he loves me, wants to share his life with me, and is a genuinely good person. So, “How Sway?!” How?! My logical mind understands; you don’t want to know how bad it is/was because you don’t want to be reminded of your own ineptitude but c’mon man. Now given, this was 1938 (when Provident Hospital opened) and he wasn’t born until 1957. Ahh, I’m working this out in my own mind as I’m typing. Born in ’57 means he graduated in ’55, long before those Black History Month assemblies and handouts were available. But still…


  7. “Are you bold enough to stand with radical honesty?” I LOVE the brave, essential questions your blog poses in every one of your posts.


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