All posts by meanderer007

Discovery in the Woodridge Bog

 

On my recent trip to the Woodridge Bog Shortly I made an amazing discovery. I found a new form of a familiar flower. It is called Small round-leaved orchid (Amerorchis rotundifolia (Banks ex Pursh) Hultén (Galearis rotundifolia (Banks ex Pursh) R.M. Bateman). This flower now has a new scientific name as it has been placed in a different Genus, namely, Galearis, of which it is the only member in Manitoba. What really excited me though was when I found one plant with flowers with a very unusual colouring. Normally, the plant has purplish-pink petals together with the dorsal sepal that forms a distinctive hood over the column. The three-lobed lip is white with red to purple spots, but this one plant did not have spots, it had dashes or broad, longitudinal, reddish bars. I have never seen one of these before. I was eager to post this to my orchid colleagues to see what they said about it. Fortunately I got a response from Doris Ames my good friend and former President of Native Orchid Conservation Inc. She actually knows a thing or two about orchids. She is not just a wanna be like me. Actually she knows a lot about orchids.

 

 

On my recent trip to the Woodridge Bog Shortly I made an amazing discovery. I found a new form of a familiar flower. It is called Small round-leaved orchid (Amerorchis rotundifolia (Banks ex Pursh) Hultén (Galearis rotundifolia (Banks ex Pursh) R.M. Bateman). This flower now has a new scientific name as it has been placed in a different Genus, namely, Galearis, of which it is the only member in Manitoba. What really excited me though was when I found one plant with flowers with a very unusual colouring. Normally, the plant has purplish-pink petals together with the dorsal sepal that forms a distinctive hood over the column. The three-lobed lip is white with red to purple spots, but this one plant did not have spots, it had dashes or broad, longitudinal, reddish bars. I have never seen one of these before. I was eager to post this to my orchid colleagues to see what they said about it. Fortunately I got a response from Doris Ames my good friend and former President of Native Orchid Conservation Inc. She actually knows a thing or two about orchids. She is not just a wanna be like me. Actually she knows a lot about orchids.

She said this orchid is very rare and was called Amerorchis rotundifolia forma lineata but I suspect that its genus name has change as well to Galearis. She said it had been seen in Churchill. I checked the Native Orchid Conservation Inc. website and sure enough there was an article by my old friend Lorne Heshka who had discovered it in Churchill and he mentioned that someone had seen it in Swan River. Now I can add a third spot to that list in Manitoba, the Woodridge bog! For me that was a fantastic discovery. I found this very exciting.

This is what they normally look like:

 

This one had a lot of white and just a few spots.

They are gorgeous little flowers.

One last gem.

 

 

 

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Beauty in the Bog

I made my first botanical jaunt to the Woodridge Bog. I had to battle mosquitoes and wind, but it did not rain. It was cloudy so lighting conditions were good for photography. So I bravely ventured forth into the wild bog. For some reason I feared I might not find any orchids. There were no yellow lady’s slippers on the way in as I thought there would be. No such luck. Too early I guess. This is a weird year.

The first flower I saw was Goldthread a gorgeous little flower. I always think of them as diamonds in the bog. So I stopped to photograph this little flower. It was difficult to get a comfortable position in the bog as I had to kneel to get down low enough for this tiny little flower. Kneeling down in a bog is an experience.  I basically had to sit down on the wet bog. Eventually I managed to capture an image I was happy with. According to Mary Ferguson and Richard M. Saunders in their fine little book, Canadian Wildflowers this plant is often found in the shade of a tree from which “the white flowers shine out like stars.” I think that is the perfect description and I wish I had thought of it. In a similar vein, my friend Doris Ames, who actually knows a few things about wild flowers, unlike me, described it this way: “The flowering stem is 5-15cm tall and bears a single star-like flower.” In any case to come across this sparkling celestial light on the floor of a dark bog is a great delight. After I saw this it didn’t matter if I was unable to find any orchids. I was satisfied.

 

 

Shortly after that, I found Ram’s-head lady’s-slipper (Cypripedium arietinum R. Brown). This is Manitoba’s smallest lady’-slipper and one of the rarest orchids in Manitoba. When international orchid enthusiasts came to Manitoba for the North American Native Orchid Conference a couple of years ago some of us from our Manitoba group showed them around and they were all excited to see this little treasure. I was thrilled to find it for the first time this year and naturally stopped to take a number of photos. These are so small it is very difficult to find them in a bog. They can hide under a dime.

The raciast System

Some racism is worse than others. At least, I think that is true. We shudder at the racism of a white cop holding a hand-cuffed black man on the ground by placing his knee on the man’s neck. Or as happened in Winnipeg a few years ago an indigenous man left in an emergency waiting room for more than 24 hours before he died without being attended to. The staff just thought he is was sleeping it off.  If the cop does that because the man is black that is racism. Or the hospital staff neglects the man in the waiting room because he is indigenous that is also racism. In both cases, it is bad. The wickedness is easy to see. Because it is easy to see it is easier to address. Subtle racism is harder to see and therefore its effects can be more pernicious. That is why I think it is much more dangerous.

When a group in a position of power holds prejudicial views of another race and those views are supported by the power of legal authority and institutional control that racism can easily be transformed into a system of racism that might be difficult to discern, exactly because it is so common and so pervasive. The reason it is so powerful is that such racism does not require an intentional act on the part of the racist. It just happens. In such a system racial prejudice functions implicitly without anyone consciously deciding to act on the basis of the prejudice. People function independently of their intentions or their own self-image. They don’t realize they are acting out racism. When that stage is reached it is incredibly dangerous.

That is why J. Kēhaulani Kauanui said, “Racism is a structure not an event.” Institutional power by people of influence can transform prejudice and discrimination into what Robin DiAngelo calls “structures of oppression.” Such structures are so important because they can inflict harm without anyone doing it intentionally. And then, as if that is not enough, such structures are often invisible for exactly the same reason–one does not see anyone intentionally doing a bad thing. This is what I called invisible racism. It all seems so normal, so natural. What could be wrong with that? The answer, of course, is that everything is wrong with that. As DiAngelo said, “Everyone has prejudice and discriminates, but structures of oppression go well beyond individuals.” That is because institutions have so much capacity to inflict serious harm. Power converts minor havoc into irreparable harm.

An example might help explain this. A good friend of mine constantly and rightly that reminds me that women are guilty of discrimination too. Not just men. This is obviously true. But it is also a fact, that very few women have the ability to inflict as much harm as the institutional system that is controlled by men. Women cannot match that power. That usually makes discrimination by the system more effective and hence more heinous than the discrimination by women. Men have been able to deny women their human rights for a long time because men controlled the institutions.

That is why systemic racism is so powerful and leads to so much harm. That is why invisible racism is often so much worse than obvious racism. That is why what happened in Minneapolis, bad as it was, is actually not as bad as systemic racism.

A Hike down Cedar Bog Trail

I am a bog guy. By that I really mean wetland guy. There are many types of wetland, including  fens, swamps, marshes, bogs and others. Today I am lumping them all together as bogs. I like them all. And I know that is strange.

I drove to Birds Hill Provincial Park for a hike down the Cedar Bog Trail. I had not been there in years. It was great to return.  this is usually a very easy walk as by bog standards it is mighty tame. Today however, it was really boggy. I had not worn rubber boats because I thought I was safe without them on a park trail. I thought wrong. Again.

I stopped to photograph Yellow Lady’s-slippers and thought they were large yellow lady’s-slippers at first but then concluded that they were large Yellow Lady’s-slippers. It is difficult to tell them apart. I concluded it was likely Northern Small Yellow lady’s-slipper (Cypripedium parvi florum Salisbury var. makasin (Farwell) Sheviak). The origin of the name scientific name is from the Latin words parvi meaning “small” and florum meaning “flower”. The varietal name makasin is the Algonquin name for the shoe-shaped flowers. It is like a moccasin in other words, though not to be confused with Moccasin Lady’s-slipper. I also like the fact that the name “Sheviak” in the scientific name is likely named after Charles Sheviak a famous botanist that I had the pleasure of guiding in the Woodridge bog a few years ago. That is like carrying a glove for Mickey Mantle. My life was complete.

I was reasonably happy with the photographs I captured of this flower. Frankly, for some reason, I or my camera, I am not sure which, have a lot of trouble with yellow flowers. I have no idea why that is the case, but it is real. Usually my yellow flowers are either washed out or have highlight reflections that make parts of the flower look white. Not good to have white on a yellow flower. I wanted what Donovan called “electrical banana” in his goofy song “Mellow Yellow.” Quite rightly!

The colours on the Marsh marigold (Caltha palustris) stood out today. Perhaps, because they were located deep in a boggy woods that contrasted magnificently with their yellow. This is a brilliant flower, but rarely have I captured it. I think this is my best shot of it  ever. Sometimes in a deep bog I have encountered some water, like a small slough or pond ringed by these yellow gems and it makes for a glorious sight. It is like a golden outline of the water. John Boroughs described it as “a golden lining to many a dark, marshy place in the leafless April woods or [mark] a little water course through a greening meadow with a broad line of new gold.” What a great description. According to Jack Sanders in his wonderful book The Secrets of Wildflowers, “to some Indian tribes, the plant was called by a name that translates almost poetically as ‘opens the swamps’.  My only quarrel with that suggestion is the word “almost” which surely could be dropped.

Sanders also commented on the fact that some call it “Cowslips.” I refuse to call it that because at least in North America so many flowers are given that name that it makes no sense to use it. As Sanders said, “A flower so early, common, and bright is bound to be well known and consequently picks up many names. Among people here and in Europe—it is native to both continents as well as to Asia—the plant has been known as King cups, water blobs, May blobs, molly blobs, horse blobs, bull’s eyes, leopard’s foot, water gowan, meadow gowan, Marybuds, verrucaria, solsequia, water dragon, capers, cowlily, cowbloom, soldier buttons, palsywort, great bitterflower, meadow bouts, crazy bet, gools, water crowfoot, and meadow buttercups.  That is about as impressive a collection of names for one flower that I have ever encountered!

The last flower I found I believe was Nodding chickweed (Cerastium nutans). I asked my friends at Manitoba Wildflowers for comments  about whether I was right or wrong when I suggested this name. Since no one posted I am claiming it as a definite Nodding chickweed. See how easy this plant identification is? Shakespeare called them Marbuds when he said said, “Winking Marybuds begin to ope their golden eyes.”

Discrimination

 

Discrimination is not the same as prejudice. For example, Racial prejudice is not prohibited by our Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Discrimination in some cases is prohibited. There is a good reason for that. Robin DiAngelo makes the distinction clear in her thought-provoking book White Fragility: Why it’s so hard for White People to talk about Racism. “ Discrimination is action based on prejudice,” she says.

That’s why discrimination is not tolerated and prejudice is. It is an acknowledgement that we all unavoidably have prejudices, but we ought not to base our actions on prejudices. We have a duty to avoid such actions, even if we can’t stop such attitudes.

Examples of actions based on prejudices that amount to discrimination include the following: excluding, threatening, ignoring, ridiculing, slandering, maligning, and causing violence.

Sometimes the acts are clear-cut and obvious. When a police officer restrains a black man without any evidence that the man has committed a crime, based on a feeling that he might be guilty and wrestles him to the ground and places a knee on his neck just because he is black that is clearly bad. The officer will have discriminated against the black person if he would not have treated a white person in the same situation the same way. We will all have no trouble agreeing to that. Such a form of discrimination is easy to recognize. We are not entitled to feel great satisfaction in noticing that this is wrong.

The much more interesting discrimination is the subtle kinds. Many of us feel slight discomfort in the presence of people from certain groups. This is particularly true if we are in the minority. I suggest such a feeling is fairly natural even if it is not deserved and is based on prejudice. That is not discrimination. But if one acts on the basis of this irrational feeling, that is discrimination.

We ought to be aware that prejudice often manifests itself in action. The way each of us sees the world and people in it drives how we react to those people in the world. Here we must be careful. As DiAngelo says, “Everyone has prejudice, and everyone discriminates.” I suspect that is true. But we have to be careful to avoid this. Discrimination is always bad because it is always irrational. It is always based on a decision made before the evidence is given, or even contrary to the evidence. And if it is racial discrimination, it might be illegal as well as it might be contrary to the provincial Human Rights Code or Charter of Rights and Freedoms. But more importantly it is wrong. We ought not to racially discriminate.

 

Spring Wild Flowers of the Sandilands

 

After I found my Calypso orchids in the Sandilands bog near Hadashville, on the way out of the boggy forest, I stopped to photograph Fringed milkwort or gaywings (Polygala paucifolia). The flowers are a deep pink to rose colour. I admit I am a sucker for pink flowers. These flowers are so pretty that my friend Doris Ames says they should really be admitted into the orchid family. It is called  “Gaywings” because of its gorgeous brilliantly coloured flowers that look a bit like wings.  The Iroquois used the leaves of this plant as a wash or poultice to treat abscesses, boils and sores. I have no idea if that helps but I suspect it did. Natives of North America have valuable traditional knowledge gained over millennia of living with nature. The common name, “milkwort” is derived from the genus name. Polys is Greek for “many” or “much” and “gala” is Greek for “milk.” At one time it was believed by ranchers that cattle eating this plant would produce a lot of milk.

 

I also photographed a violet also in the ditch. I am not sure if it was Early Violet or Bog Violet. They look very similar. Early blue violet (Viola adunca) is as the name would suggest one of the earliest spring violets in Manitoba, but Bog Violet Viola nephrophylla  is also early. According to Doris Ames Early violet is smaller than Bog violet. Early violet is also paler in colour than Bog violet. Now the violet I saw had a very large flower but it was pale. So which is it? I confess I don’t know. It could have either one of them. So I just call it violet. That can’t be wrong.

 

As well I saw Wild Strawberry (Fragaria virginiana). These plants had a lot of uses by indigenous people including medicinal tea that could cure insanity, as an ingredient for treating skin sores like eczema, which I wished my mother had known about. Apparently I had it so bad that my great aunt when she met me for the first time, was dumbstruck and she was so nice she could not say a bad word so she just muttered, “What an…….interesting looking baby.”

I also  saw some Hoary Puccoon (Lithospermum canescens). Some people call this flower cowslip, but there are many other flowers that are also called cowslip so I avoid that name. It is also sometimes called Indian paint. This plant has bright orange-yellow flowers that are so saturated with colour that it looks like it has been dripped in wet paint. It flowers for a long time.

With the calypso orchids I reported on earlier, I thought it was a pretty good day of botanizing.

Prejudice

 

Racism is the big subject in the wake of the recent incident in Minneapolis where a police officer kneeled on the neck of a black man lying on t he ground with his hands handcuffed behind his back for nearly 9 minutes during which time he died. Understandably, people around the world have been enraged.

I think it is helpful to start our discussion of issues surrounding racism by considering what some of the basic concepts mean. To begin with, what is prejudice? To answer that we should first consider prejudice and racism. They are related concepts but they are not identical. They are siblings.

A prejudice is a pre-judgment about another person based on factors other than evidence or facts. It is a judgment that we make when we have a thought, or feeling, or belief about another person based on the group to which that person belongs, rather than the behaviour of that person. For example, the belief that black people or indigenous people are dangerous. Prejudice includes thoughts or feelings such as accepting stereotypes or profiles of groups that are based on generalizations about the group rather than basing such feelings on evidence presented. That is why a prejudice is always irrational. By definition it is not based on evidence and reasoning.

 

As Nathan Rutstein said, “Prejudice is an emotional committment to ignorance.”

As soon as one thinks about it one realizes that such prejudgments are not rational. They can’t be. Rational judgments are those that are based on evidence and are not made before seeing the evidence! It is very common for prejudices to be shared within a group. As Robin DiAngelo said in her book White Fragility, “Our prejudices tend to be shared because we swim in the same cultural water and absorb the same messages.”

Yet it is impossible not to have prejudices. As DiAngelo said,

“All humans have prejudices; we cannot avoid it. If I am aware a social group exists, I will have gained information about that group from society around me. This information helps me to make sense of the group from my cultural framework. People who claim not to have prejudices are demonstrating a profound lack of self-awareness. Ironically, they are also demonstrating the power of socialization–we have all been taught in schools, through movies, and from family members, teachers, and clergy that it is important not to be prejudiced. Unfortunately, the prevailing belief that prejudice is bad causes us to deny its unavoidable reality.”

 

No one wants to be considered bad. So we can’t be bad. That does not mean we should succumb to prejudice. On the contrary, we must fight it relentlessly because prejudice is so irrational and so pervasive, and so powerful. We must recognize that to the extent we make any decision or harbour any belief that is based on prejudice we are acting irrationally and could be poisoning someone else to follow our prejudice or harming someone who is the object of the prejudice. That is why we should constantly be on the lookout for prejudices and constantly try to minimize them and to deny their ability to affect us. As philosophers say, we should always try, to be an ideal observer—that is one who is thinking rationally and impartially about what is observed even when that is hard. We will never achieve the ideal of course, but we should always be trying to move in that direction of the ideal observer. If we do that we will improve our chances of finding the truth, but it is no guarantee that we will find it.

No one likes to be accused of being prejudiced. If we are we must admit we are to that extent irrational. This is particularly important when it comes to racial prejudice because this is considered such a serious character defect in modern society. If we admit we are racially prejudiced we are admitting that we are bad and ought to be ashamed of ourselves. That is never a comfortable thing to admit.

And that is why people will go to great lengths to convince us that they are not prejudiced. This is an important idea which I got from DiAngelo. I do not think she has all the answers, as I will get to, but this, I think is a fundamental concept that makes a lot of sense. Prejudice is a prejudgment that is ultimately irrational. And that is why we should try to avoid prejudices. But we are not hopeless just because we have a prejudice it just makes us human.

Invisible Racism

 

The world was shocked by the recent death in Minneapolis of George Floyd as a result of a police officer holding him down in a prone position even though he was handcuffed, on the ground with a knee on his neck. He was begging to be allowed to stand up and repeatedly eeked out the words, “I can’t breath.” 3 other officers stood by and did nothing to help Mr. Floyd. Disturbingly, the police officer seemed nonchalant with one of his hands was in his pocket. As if this was not big deal. This was in broad daylight with people standing around. People in the vicinity were taping the incident on their smart phones. Around the United States and around the world people erupted in protest after seeing the videos. This is in turn led to rioting in many cities, even Fargo North Dakota and Steinbach Manitoba.

 

All of this is a product of the unfortunate entrenchment of racial superiority in North America. Racism is a problem not just in the United States but Canada as well. Once entrenched racism is very difficult to eradicate. Frankly, it takes a dramatic killing or a race riot for people to even take notice. The incident in Minneapolis has attracted a lot of attention.

Yet, I would submit that there is more important racism than that created by dramatic events. The reason is that most racism is invisible. People don’t notice it. The reason racism is so hard to notice is that it is so common. Racism lives everywhere. But people don’t see it. And that is a big problem.

It is easy to look at the police officer that killed Floyd as a bad person. Racists are bad. But glaring racists, like that police officer are not the big problem. The bigger problem is invisible racism, or systemic racism, or implicit racism. It is much more difficult to fight an invisible enemy than an ugly one.

There is plenty of evidence that we live in a society that subjugates non-white races in favor of the white race and those who enjoy the benefits of that oppression don’t see the subjugation because that would be contrary to their own interests. People in power never see their own power as anything other than a blessing. Anything that would erode that power is seen by the powerful as irrational or even insane. That is why whites have to work hard just to see the privileges they enjoy. They don’t look like privileges; they look like earned benefits. But we must learn to see that privilege and not just blindly accept it.

We can see an unconcerned white cop with his hands in his pocket and his knee on the neck of a hand-cuffed and prone black man and we can see that this is wrong. That is plain to see. That is a bad cop! But we are blind to the system that is all around us that privileges us while it subjugates people of other races. We are blind to the system that privileges us and our children and our friends while it disadvantages black people and indigenous people and others.

 

Invisible racism is invisible because we, the privileged, are blinded by our own privilege. We don’t see it because it’s natural. It’s the water in which we swim. That is what makes it worse than kneeling on the neck of a helpless black man. That evil is clearly visible. And it is clearly nasty. We don’t see our own privilege because that would undermine a system that benefits us. We don’t want to see or think about it. We are good people. We would never put a knee on the neck of a helpless black man.

If we don’t object to the system that invisibly benefits us, we are complicit in that system. We are then part of the problem rather than the solution. That is why to some extent even the dramatic incident in Minneapolis actually helps to blind us to the real problem. If we quietly allow a racist system to continue without openly dissenting there is no chance that system will ever be interrupted by us. Does that make us racist?

Black lives Matter even in Steinbach

 

 

Steinbach has a reputation for being extremely conservative when it comes to social issues. As a result I was very interested in how a Black Lives Matter rally and march would proceed. I went last night (June 8, 2020) The first people I saw were a group of very conservative Mennonites. They are probably from the most conservative group in the area. I wondered what their point of view would be. To my pleasant surprise they were obviously supportive of the cause and consented graciously to me photographing them. I thought they might object to photographs, but they did not. In fact later I noticed they had their own photographer. I guess they are not as conservative as I presumed. Presumptions are bad as I have been preaching. Me bad (again).

 

I also noticed a black family who were comfortably seated with their signs. They also eagerly agreed to let me photograph them. There were quite a few black people at the rally. I did not know we had that many black families in town. Once more, I was sadly ignorant. But at least I was here to learn. I wanted to learn and support.

A number of the speakers were young people. In fact almost all the speakers were young people. Some of them gave very emotional speeches that made it clear, as if it was not clear before, that racism lives in Steinbach.

I did not notice any of our political leaders. Our Mayor, our Member of Parliament, and our member of the Legislative Assembly were all not in attendance (as far as I could tell). If I  am wrong and one of them was in attendance I hope someone corrects me. All 3 were eagerly in attendance at a grand opening of a fast food chicken restaurant a week or so ago where they participated without benefit of social distancing. Somehow the opening of a fast food restaurant was more important than a rally in support of racial justice.

 

I did not participate in the march because the crowd which had been fairly well spread out during the speech was bunching up for the march. It did not look safe to me so I went home. After all, I am an old man who lives with an old woman. So I have to be careful I don’t bring home any diseases. It might be our last.

All in all I was pleased with the event and the fairly large crowd that attended. Perhaps Steinbach is not as conservatives as I thought. As Bob Dylan, sang, ‘The times they are a-changing.’ Even in Steinbach, black lives matter.

White Fragility

 

 

After the recent incident in Minneapolis where a white police officer killed a black by kneeling on his neck for nearly 9 minutes even though he was lying on his back with his handcuffed behind him and he was clearly having great difficulty breathing. That incident has energized  and enraged people around the world including Canada.

I was already thinking about the issue of racism because I had recently read a fascinating book called White Fragility: Why it’s so hard for White People to Talk About Racism, written by Robin DiAngelo. The book was given to me for Christmas by my half-indigenous daughter-in-law. I wonder what she was trying to tell me?   But I have learned a lot from that book. I recommend that everyone read it. It is worth the read. I also heard DiAngelo on PBS’s Amanpour & Company.

I have never met anyone who admits to being a racist. None. There may be some out there who admit that they are racists, but they would be extremely rare. That does not mean, of course, that there are no racists. There are many.

No one likes being called a racist. It is generally considered one of the worst things you can say about someone, even people who are clearly racists.

Even many progressive or liberal thinking people however are racists. They just don’t know it. That does not mean they are racists about everything. It does mean that they exhibit racism. They express racism.

When white people are questioned about racism, even without a deliberate accusation of racism, people are very quick to respond viscerally ‘I am not a racist.’ The problem is things are not that simple. Robin DiAngelo, in her  book,  argues that there is an unconscious bias even among the most progressive of white people, including herself.

What does she mean by the expression ‘white fragility’? She puts it this way, “The expression ‘white fragility’ is meant to capture how little it takes to set white people off into defensiveness. For many white people the mere suggestion that whiteness has meaning is enough to cause us to erupt in defensiveness.” Many white people object to any such generalizations. “Individualism is a really precious ideology for white people and we don’t like to be generalized about.”

DiAngelo responds to such objections a sociologist. She is comfortable about generalizing about people. Social life is observable in patterned ways. But, she adds, “I am also a member of a social group and we all have to be willing to grapple with collective messages we are all receiving because we live in a shared culture.”

She is a professor of sociology but she came to her current beliefs through experience. She got a job in the 1990s as a diversity trainer. She felt confident she could lead discussion on such topics because of course, she was above racism. After all, as she said, “I was a vegetarian how could I be a racist?” Yet she exhibited all the classic liberal symptoms of racism and when she worked with people of colour some of them challenged her. And those challenges were uncomfortable. She had to learn to handle accusations of racism openly and with grace and honesty. That was not easy at first.

Until then, when she was in her thirties, she had never had her racial world-view challenged. She did not believe she had a racial world-view. As a white person she saw herself as “just human.” As she said, “Most white people have an unracialized identity.”

When she went to workplaces they were overwhelming filled with white people who were mandated to have such discussions. As a result she was met with deep hostility. After all none of them were racists. At one company seminar where there were 40 people and 38 of them were white, one white man pounded the table screaming that white people can’t get jobs. According to DiAngelo this position is a kind of delusion. As some people have said, ‘when you are used to 100% 98% feels oppressive.’

DiAngelo tries in her book to explain why whites feel uncomfortable about discussing race with non-whites. It is worth thinking about. I intend to blog more about what I learned from reading her book and others, as well as some personal experiences.  All of us should think about racism. Even if it’s uncomfortable. Maybe, especially if it’s uncomfortable.