urgency, defensiveness, paternalism, either/or thinking, fear of open conflict, individualism, right to comfort, and more.

I don’t consider urgency or individualism harmful in themselves. There are times for urgency, and there is a streak of individualism in our country and the people who settled it. It’s part of our national character, not just in white people. Both can be taken too far. Individualism has to be balanced with a commitment to the good of the whole community. Without urgency things don’t get done. It’s a neutral term.

I also don’t think urgency, defensiveness, either/or thinking, fear (or dislike of) open conflict, individualism are strictly white characteristics. Many cultures that made up the melting pot of American society were and are conflict avoidant. Anyone can be defensive if they are the ones most often held up for criticism.

If I am called out for something (whether as a white person or for any other reason) I think carefully about whether the criticism is valid. If it is I admit it, to the other people and more importantly, to myself.

Linguist, philosopher, lover of history, wordhound, 21 year New Yorker, searching for meaning in the universe

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