But what are the fears of liberals?

The passages below are from an article by Robert Jensen in Yes! Magazine, Spring 2010.  Jensen is the author of The Heart of Whiteness:  Confronting Race, Racism and White Privilege (2005), and, in 2010, of All My Bones Shake:  Seeking a Progressive Path to the Prophetic Voice. He concludes:  “I can rest comfortably in the privileges that come with being white, or I can struggle to be fully human.  But I can’t do both.  Though the work is difficult, the choice for those of us who are white should be easy.”

“But what are the fears of liberals?  White liberals might reject the very idea that they are afraid, citing their support for diversity and multiculturalism.  But my experience suggests that while white liberals reject assertions of white supremacy, many fear the loss of white centrality.  They are willing to renounce the idea that white people are superior, as long as they are allowed to live comfortably in a world where white is the norm.


“I observe all this not from some arrogant high ground, but as someone stuck in the same dynamic, struggling to get out.  I know that for all my writing and political work on racial justice, I still feel most comfortable in settings where my understanding of the world defines the interaction, no matter the racial composition of the group.  Rather than pretend otherwise, I start with that reality and search for ways to move forward.”

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