Ask the White Guy: 'I Have Black Friends' Doesn't Mean You Aren't Racist

Question:


Why is it whenever white people defend their racism, the first thing they default to is “I’m not a bigot” and the second thing is “I have friends who are black” I could scream.

Answer:

It’s disorienting for white people who think they really aren’t biased to be confronted with a reality they have not considered. You’ll also hear things such as “Oh, I guess we have to be politically correct” as opposed to something more accurate like “I guess I can’t manhandle your self-esteem anymore.”

Considering most interracial conversations happen at the workplace (Americans are socially very segregated), these common phrases of denial demonstrate how diversity training is crucial to productivity and engagement.

Luke Visconti’s Ask the White Guy column is a top draw onDiversityInc.com. Visconti, the founder and CEO of DiversityInc, is a nationally recognized leader indiversity management. In his popular column, readers who ask Visconti tough questions about race/culture, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability and age can expect smart, direct and disarmingly frank answers.

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