Grown-Ass White Folk need to be able to talk about whiteness. Full stop.
I (a white person) proposed “The Race Game” [source: Thandeka’s Learning to Be White: Money, Race, and God in America, 1999] to a (majority but not exclusively white) planning committee for an event in 2003. My proposal was dismissed as naive and too radical.
However, I (a white person) remain convinced that “The Race Game,” as uncomfortable as it may be, is an essential step in beginning to deal with white supremacy. To me, it seems like a baby step on the path to becoming “Grown Ass White Folk.”
We (especially, but not exclusively white people) must make the invisible visible, so we (white folk) can better grapple with what we find within our (white) selves when we do.
Here’s how The Race Game works:
The Race Game… [has] only one rule. For the next seven days, [you] must use the ascriptive term white whenever [you] mention[ed] the name of one of [your] Euro-American cohorts. [You] must say, for instance, ‘my white husband, Phil’, or ‘my white friend Julie’, or ‘my lovely white child Jackie’…Thandeka, Learning To Be White, page 3
I believe The Race Game taps into deep seated issues we are otherwise adept at avoiding. Why should telling the truth about who we are (as white folk) be such a radical act among well-meaning white folk?
It should not be taboo to talk about whiteness. To make our whiteness plain flies in the face of all kinds of “white bullshit” that tries to distance us (white people) from the violence done in our names (as white people).
Playing The Race Game is a really simple proposition, but it invites us (as white folk) to learn (again) to see what is present among us and between us without flinching. Thus, it creates an opportunity for us to grapple with our own fear and shame about our own involvement in white supremacy.
Will you accept this invitation? Thandeka’s invitation? My (a white person)’s invitation?
Will you come and play The Race Game with us?
AwkwardlyYours #OtherWiseEngaged #YouAreLoved
- White Bullshit
- Christendom, White Bullshit, and the Power of Colonial Imagination, 2019
- Grown-Ass White Folk (aka Growing Up: Well-Meaning White Folk and the American Dream)
- Putting Away Childish Things (White Fear and Growing Up)
Compiled by Mx Chris Paige on May 28, 2020. Adapted from a previous version posted at The Race Game (2018).