It should be noted that being an international student, it is rather difficult to relate to the true experiences of American people to the fullest degree. Nevertheless, I am knowledgeable about US history and the critical issues that exist at present. However, having read the book, I was able to realize that many ideas in my head should be questioned, and the validity of my representations has been impugned.
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Michael Eric Dyson stressed that many people do not understand the significance of history and its relation to the hurdles experienced by the African-American population. To be more precise, he stated that people prefer to disregard or distort it since this form of ignorance enables them to feel less guilty and support the existing representations of the superiority of the white race.
One of the points that I did not realize before reading the book is that race is not something that a person gets in his or her genes. Importantly, it is a form of social inheritance, which signifies that a person belongs to a particular group and this distinction has been imposed on people. Nonetheless, many individuals do not comprehend the criticality of such representations, and it allows discrimination to continue. This manifestation involuntarily hurts both the black and the white population.
Notably, Tyson mentioned that people tend to observe their culture through the distorted prism without realizing it. That is to say, white people frequently perceive and treat black people with white condescension. Therefore, he strives for addressing the white population and persuades them to reject passive complicity, which makes no positive impact on the setting but the reverse – continues the vicious circle. After reading the piece of text dwelling upon this complex reality, I was able to conclude that individuals are perpetuating this form of injustice through their passivity.
One of the most crucial points made by the author is the idea that in many American people, their whiteness coincides with the national identity, which is a wrongful attitude in the first place. Also, the author places a particular emphasis on the two notions, which are individual and institutional racism. He stresses that it is hardly possible to combat forces or institutions that pose misbalance and inequality and support it at such a level that is unreachable for a single person or even a group of individuals, which is a devastating statement indeed. One of the points that I could not comprehend myself was that racial hierarchy was preserved by the entire system, and it affects not only certain individuals but also the social construct.
Nonetheless, after finishing the reading, I concluded that there are certain aspects that I need to know. I need to comprehend the ways people can help resolve such an immense issue without exhibiting the savior complex. That is to say, the motivation should not be based on the feeling of guilt but on the true desire to accomplish social justice. According to the author, it is not significant to have the correct opinion about race, but it is essential to reject the illusion of whiteness. Tyson suggested that educating ourselves is one of the solutions to the problem, but it is rather difficult to achieve the right motivation without further supporting the feeling of inferiority in other people. Therefore, I need to know how I can contribute to making a change in society by simultaneously working on myself.