If you are a white person in America, the educator of social justice Robin DiAngelo has a message for you: you are a racist, pure and simple, and without a life of conscious effort you will always be.
You just can’t avoid it, you see, because you’ve been wrapped in the cocoon of white privilege since you came out of your mother’s womb, protesting the indignation of all this.
You could be indignantly spitting right now for this insult to your humanity – for how it can you to be a racist? You have black colleagues whom you consider friends; you don’t see the color of the skin; you have never owned slaves; you marched in the 60s; today you even protest against uniformed “bad apples” who exploit the power of their authority to stifle the lives and rights of minorities.
CNN sat down with DiAngelo to ask his thoughts on the conversations about today’s protests, how they fit into the history of the civil rights movement and what white people must do now. The conversation has been modified to ensure fluency and clarity.
Q: Is this a “Me Too” moment for racial equality or is the conversation going to fade and fade away like in the past?
DiAngelo: There are some things that I think are different at the moment. First, it is supported. It is not a march, a protest. They are ongoing and are spreading all over the world.
There is a speech in the mainstream media that I didn’t think I’d ever heard in my life. Those of us who have been playing this drum for years are finally hearing phrases like “systemic racism” used in the mainstream media.
The books number one and two sold worldwide are both about racism, one written by me, one white person and one written by Ibram X. Kendi, a black person. You can google “What can white people do right now?” and you wouldn’t be able to keep up with all the excellent lists of resources and directions.
We are listening to a discussion on reparations for the descendants of African slaves on the scene of democratic debate. For the first time in history, I believe, a recent poll showed that more American whites believe there are advantages to being white than they think.
These are huge discoveries. But he must be supported and I’m a little worried about what happens when the cameras go away. This is where I remember Malcolm Gladwell critical point theory: You only need 30%. And when I feel discouraged, I remember it because I think “We got 30%. We keep going.”
Read more from CNN’s questions and answers with Robin DiAngelo here.