White People Don’t Know They’re White


Jo McDermott

Before I Explain What I Mean

First, let me tell you why I’m writing about this.  This is a post about people not knowing what they don’t know.  When you don’t know what you don’t know, it really gets in the way of being effective.  If you are completely unaware of something, then you are missing out on a whole world.  If you are basing your understanding of the world on the assumption that everyone thinks like you, you CANNOT communicate effectively because you are starting from the wrong place.

Now Let Me Explain

I have to be careful how I explain this.  I told a close friend that white people don’t know that they’re white–several times–and  years later a conversation made it obvious that not only did she not understand what I meant, she didn’t believe me either.  I have always thought I was pretty aware of the issues…

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2 responses to “White People Don’t Know They’re White

  1. Good post Jo. I am reading Jim Wallis’s new book Americas Original Sin and have joined a discussion group in our Diocese that is trying to come to grips with racism and what we can do about it. Right off the bat it was clear how this bunch of suburban white (mostly) women really don’t understand what racism is. We had the predictable argument about why saying “all lives matters” rankles the BLM community. Got another week or two to go… we will see where this takes us.

  2. I saw your earlier post about this book. I’ve read the article and will read the book. The work you guys are doing will help over the long term. Changing the way we all think is hard and will take a long time. I’m not sure that we have the time. thanks for the comment.

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