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which links very closely to what Martie Sirois says in her Blog-post ‘The Kind of Racism You Don’t Even Know You Have <~~~ (I don't know why it doesn't look like one, but this is a link. Perhaps its just my monitor.)

which links very closely to what Martie Sirois says in her Blog-post ‘The Kind of Racism You Don’t Even Know You Have

which links very closely to what Martie Sirois says in her Blog-post ‘The Kind of Racism You Don’t Even Know You Have <~~~ (I don't know why it doesn't look like one, but this is a link. Perhaps its just my monitor.)

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You already have a good handle on what it is you want to do. You want to firmly and effectively close down conversations with people who are either uninformed or close-minded on issues of race, without taking on responsibility for enlightening them or being cast as the unhelpful person with a chip on their shoulder.

You’ve kind of already answered your own question through various comments and revisions of your original post. I don’t aim to put words in your mouth, but you already know that:

  • Mostly those people raising race issues with you know little about them never having had to know much about them.
  • Learning about them is going to make them feel a range of emotions which could include any or all of:

    • Surprise/horror/disappointment (at themselves, history, the world at large)
    • Disbelief, defensiveness and denial, or feeling accused, leading to a desire to rationalise it all away,
    • guilt, sadness, anger, anxiety or general discombobulation,
    • fear of loss of privilege

    • with understanding and rational acceptance being a long ways down the line for some people, and taking time to get to.

You don’t have the emotional resources or inclination to hand-hold them through that roller-coaster or be their emotional punch bag, and frankly I don’t blame you a jot.

What you have mentioned in comments is that you aren’t willing to engage

until they have demonstrated that they are aware of the thorny nature of the subject, and they are prepared to be uncomfortable

which links very closely to what Martie Sirois says in her Blog-post ‘The Kind of Racism You Don’t Even Know You Have

It is not the responsibility of minorities (people of color, gay, trans, etc.) to educate you or to forgive you every time you have another, and another, and another lapse. It is your responsibility to take the initiative to do better on your own. How? Read black (or gay, or trans, or feminist) writers. Listen to their voices. When they are talking, do not knee-jerk and say something defensive in response. Just. Listen. The only time it’s acceptable to say something in response is if you’re going to take what you learned from that marginalized community or person, and use it to further the conversation and help educate other white people (or heterosexual people, or cisgender people).

So your answer lies there, and much of it in your own words already. You don’t want to put people off learning about issues around race, but you can’t do it for them. So sugar the pill a little with a compliment before you tell them what you have told us, unequivocally, and then stick to your position, perhaps something like this, or something paraphrased from the Sirois’s blog:

It’s cool that you’re interested, more people should be. But if you really want to know about this stuff there’s a road you have to travel and I can’t be your short cut. You’ve got to do some reading, listening and thinking about what you read and hear. You’re probably going to feel uncomfortable with some of it and need to take time coming to terms with some of what you find before you get to where talking to me will help either of us.

If they push, you need to hold to that:

It doesn’t help either of us to start from here

What you will then need to decide is how you will respond if people go away and do just enough reading to come back and complain that white privilege never did a thing for them….