Complacence in the Classroom

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my own racism. In class discussions of explicit versus implicit racism, I realized that although I am not an overt racist, I do (like many other White people in today’s society) exhibit implicitly racist tendencies. Over my education both in previous courses and this class of Contemporary Racism, I have become increasingly more aware of these tendencies and am actively making every effort to combat them. For example, a couple years ago in Multicultural Psychology, I learned the problematic nature of adopting a color-blind ideology. This semester, I learned about aversive racism and how one can believe themselves to have egalitarian values and yet also maintain implicitly racist behaviors and thoughts. Despite the tremendous strides that I feel I have made, I can’t help but think that my progress has almost become stagnant.

Admitting that I am racist was probably the most difficult challenge to overcome. But now that I have done so, I feel that I have become too comfortable with being able to admit that I am racist. At some point, comfort itself becomes problematic. It feels as though I am no longer working to discover my implicit racism and that I have become complacent with accepting racism as a fundamental cornerstone of society. When I feel uncomfortable in various situations, I recognize that it is because I am grappling with comprehending the academic concepts/terminology or that I am trying to understand the oppressive realities and injustices that people of color face every day. When I get accustomed to knowing those realities exist, I tend to take a step back and say “Well, I get it now so I’ve done my part. I’m now educated on the topic.” And the work seems to stop there.

But the work should not stop there. Racism obviously still occurs and as a self-proclaimed ally/partner in fighting racism, I recognize that there must be more that I can do. At this point in the semester, I am wondering where I can go next in my own development. If complacence and comfort can become problematic, how do I continue to push myself to challenge my own beliefs and behaviors?

1 thought on “Complacence in the Classroom”

  1. It seems like what you have realized and learned has all been in a very academic setting. Learning about racism in the classroom, talking about it in the classroom, and seeing your racism in the classroom. I think that this is an amazing thing but it can also build a certain reliance on a certain space to see racism and your own hand in it. Building that awareness outside of the classroom creates a sense of awareness and a metareflection that is always on rather than sometimes on.

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