Step 6. Recognising violence

“Structural violence is one way of describing social arrangements that put individuals and populations in harm’s way… The arrangements are structural because they are embedded in the political and economic organization of our social world; they are violent because they cause injury to people … neither culture nor pure individual will is at fault; rather, historically given (and often economically driven) processes and forces conspire to constrain individual agency. Structural violence is visited upon all those whose social status denies them access to the fruits of scientific and social progress.”

What white people have built is a system that values white lives, and white bodies and white culture above all others. White people belong to and feed that system. No one individual white person can be made responsible for that system, we are born into it but this is not an excuse to throw our hands in the air and walk away.

We profit, we live this. And we need to recognise how we are complicit in this system. We need to not only acknowledge this but to actually begin deconstructing all the ways we continue to benefit from unearned privilege.

Exercise: Begin to analyse how each of us contributes to structural inequality in our unconscious and conscious actions. Begin to see how we reinforce unequal relations and then start refusing or turning down offers of racial privilege.