The Usual Statements
Also known as “What people of color never want to hear again” from white people engaging in discussions about racism. The following are just a few statements commonly heard during anti-racism trainings. This list is not exhaustive but is meant to be used as a guideline for ‘what not to say’ for white
people who are sincerely working on their white privilege.
1. I can’t hear you if you are angry.
2. You’re too sensitive.
3. I feel (unsafe, judged, attacked, abused, etc.)
4. I will only talk if everyone is respectful.
5. I’m a person of color too. Isn’t ‘white’ a color?
6. I just see people, not skin color.
7. Why is there a caucus just for people of color? Isn’t that separatism?
8. What about MY class/gender/religious/sexual orientation oppression as a white person?
9. Conversations about race are so divisive.
10. Talking about racism takes the focus off of (women’s issues, the environment, classism, etc.)
11. When are we going to stop talking about racism and get to the real work?
12. I can’t possible be racist because I am dating a person of color (or, because I
adopted a transracial baby.)
13. That other person of color isn’t offended, so why should you be?
14. Aren’t you just so articulate!
15. We can’t find any qualified women of color to join our workplace.
16. I come from the East Coast where people are much more inclusive.
17. I marched with Martin Luther King.
©Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence (SPAN) –Anti-Racism Education 2007
835 North Street – Boulder, CO – 80304 – 303-449-8623 – www.safehousealliance.org