White Denial and the Demand for Solutions

In Part 1 of a series for the Huffington Post, David J. Leonard responds to those who want an easy fix for racial injustice by suggesting that reparations and prison reform could be the beginning.

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In Part 1 of a series for the Huffington Post, David J. Leonard responds to those who want an easy fix for racial injustice by suggesting that reparations and prison reform could be the beginning.

One of the common responses to discussions about racism and other forms of injustice is the demand for solutions. The commonplace entry into public and private discussions about racism, the efforts to take over comment sections, to silence those who work to highlight inequality with responses like "what's the solution" does not engender solutions but rather works to derail the conversation. Usually deployed alongside the descriptor of wining and complaining, this disingenuous demand (as opposed to a desire to figure out the path toward justice) for solutions illustrates the manner that white male privilege operates. In my many years of teaching and writing, the majority of those who felt entitled to have answers NOW and remedies yesterday were white men. The "shut up ... stop complaining ... give me solutions" reframe is the embodiment of privilege.

Recognizing our forms of denial and challenging our social and racial myopia is the solution. Refusing to accept the lies and distortions, the misinformation and stereotypes is a remedy. However, for those who are desperate for solutions, who feel disappointed with our collective failure to provide a road map toward justice you don't have to look any further, I got you.

Read David J. Leonard's entire piece at the Huffington Post.

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David J. Leonard is an associate professor in the department of critical culture, gender and race studies at Washington State University, Pullman.

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