“To my horror, I soon began to realize that the racism I abhorred in others also lurked within me, planted in my unconscious by years of living in a society that systematically devalued the abilities and accomplishments of African-Americans. One day when Ruthie [the author’s African-American then-girlfriend] was out shopping, I found a paper that she had written for an English course and started reading it. To my surprise, and great relief, it was written in clear, grammatically perfect prose and was filled with sharp and original comments. But why had I been surprised that Ruthie was an excellent student? … I had seen her through the lens of an insidious racial stereotype - that blacks were slower, less academically gifted, less suited for abstract thinking than whites. Seeing beyond these stereotypes, I realized, would take tremendous effort. As Malcolm X had recently observed in his Autobiography, racial injustice could not be ended merely by changing racist laws. White supremacy lived in the conscious and unconscious mind of every American, white and black. Uprooting it might take centuries of sustained effort.”
Except from Mark Naison’s excellent memoir, ‘White Boy’, which I recommend people to read. Naison is a great example, as one of the few white male academics who recognises the depth of white privilege, white supremacy and eurocentrism, and who is committed to the long struggle against them.