Episode 286: White Supremacy Culture – “Right to Comfort.”

I know many people in my city who tell me they will intentionally change their commute to work to “avoid sketchy neighborhoods”… often times lengthening their commute in order to do so. Other people who live outside the city in the surrounding bedroom communities will tell me that they may not want to drive into the city because “it might not be safe.” Most of these people have never had a traumatic experience either in the city, or in certain neighborhoods, but nevertheless hold to these beliefs. When asked, “What do you think makes a neighborhood sketchy?” or “What concerns you about the city?”, many people talk about the fact that some of the locations in the city “make them uncomfortable.” When asked what kinds of people live in the areas where they “feel uncomfortable”, there often is a racial characteristic to places they feel most uncomfortable in. This is quickly followed by statements like, “But I’m not racist.” or “It isn’t race, it’s poverty that makes me uncomfortable.” There is a deep discomfort with reminders of racial inequity, so much so that we avoid neighborhoods, cities and even conversations about it. This is one of the most deeply entrenched aspects of white supremacy culture: the right to comfort.

So today we are going to talk about the right to comfort, and its play cousins fear of open conflict and power hoarding – traits that are endemic to white supremacy culture. We are using the online document White Supremacy Culture – Still Here, a link to which is found in the show notes for this episode.