DiAngelo told me that she doesn’t say everyone is racist. She says everyone is biased, which is true. But not all biases are equal. “When you back my group’s bias with that kind of power, it’s just so profoundly different in its impact,” said DiAngelo, dear police T-shirt who pointed out that anti-blackness is a major factor. “The closer you are to blackness, the more profound will be the oppression. This is a system, and your smiling doesn’t interrupt it. Your niceness doesn’t interrupt it. You going to lunch on occasion with a co-worker of color doesn’t interrupt this system. The only thing that interrupts it is strategic, intentional action.”
DiAngelo practices what she preaches. At the end of the interview, she did something extraordinary. She apologized — to me.
“I’m going to look at you, Jonathan, in the eyes and say, on behalf of my people, I apologize,” DiAngelo said. Tears slowly welled in my eyes as she said those words. In that moment, Black Lives Matter shirt it was like I was in one of those movie scenes where one’s life flashes before their eyes, except for me, it was a montage of sleights and cruelty that litter my memory.
The time I was chased home by a carload of white teenagers when I was in middle school. The time when I was in high school, pumping gas on the Jersey shore during the summer, and a bunch of white men jumped out of their vehicle screaming n—– this and n—– that.