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Thursday, April 18
The Indiana Daily Student

Black Voices

Black Voices: White liberals need to take a step back


On July 11, First lady Jill Biden delivered a speech in Texas, at San Antonio’s Annual Unidos US Conference. In attendance was the National Council of La Raza, known to be the nation’s largest Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization. She complimented the President of the organization, Raul Yzaguirre, in her speech, according to USA Today

"Raul helped build this organization with the understanding that the diversity of this community, as distinct as the bodegas of the Bronx, as beautiful as the blossoms of Miami and as unique as the breakfast tacos here in San Antonio, is your strength," Biden said. 

In her efforts to pay homage to their beautiful culture, she reduced an entire community to a stereotype. 

The National Association of Hispanic Journalists responded in a statement. “Using breakfast tacos to try to demonstrate the uniqueness of Latinos in San Antonio demonstrates a lack of cultural knowledge and sensitivity to the diversity of Latinos in the region,” the organization wrote. 

Many white liberals will say, with full confidence, they are not racist. Whether it is true or not, it is important to remember that being a liberal does not make you immune to being racist. 

The behavior of white liberals can extend into more dangerous territory, such as valuing property and possessions over the needs of people with lesser privilege. This can lead to opposition of integration between low income and high income neighborhoods or engaging in the gentrification of low income communities. 

In Howard County, Maryland, during the summer of 2020, white parents from a progressive neighborhood banded together to try to stop an integration plan for the school systems. The plan would involve transporting students from predominantly Black and Brown neighborhoods with low socioeconomic status to more affluent, whiter schools. 

Matthew Delmont, author of  “Why Busing Failed: Race, Media, and the National Resistance to School Desegregation,” spoke on the reason why incidents like this happen, and what white people must be willing to do for change. 

White parents will protect what they believe to be a good school district and proper resources for their own children before considering how something like integration could positively affect communities, Delmont said. They must be willing to make changes close to them, such as affordable housing in their neighborhood. 

Even when you disregard extreme examples, ignorant behavior from white liberals can be seen on a daily basis, ranging from writing an article about a fling with a Proud Boy to buying property in gentrified neighborhoods. In both cases, people fail to acknowledge their privilege while utilizing it to put down already-marginalized groups. 

The most important thing a white person can do for a social movement is be willing to use their privilege to give up all resources necessary. Educating yourself and being anti-racist is important, but it only carries meaning when you are open to complete disruption in the name of change. 

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