Not so much.
Ta-Nehisi Coates has identified what he sees as the "machinery of racism." To understand, you'll need a bit of the back story. A few days ago Coates identified Melissa Harris-Perry as "America's foremost public intellectual." Dylan Byers suggested that in doing so, Coates wasn't just wrong, but that he undermined his own intellectual credibility. When asked to name his own alternatives, Byers came up with five white guys. I'll let Coates take it from there.
Dylan Byers knows nothing of your work, and therefore your work must not exist.WOW!!!
Here is the machinery of racism—the privilege of being oblivious to questions, of never having to grapple with the everywhere; the right of false naming; the right to claim that the lakes, trees, and mountains of our world do not exist; the right to insult our intelligence with your ignorance. The machinery of racism requires no bigotry from Dylan Byers. It merely requires that Dylan Byers sit still.
Let me give you a very simple example from my own experience that might help illuminate that. Years ago I would hear black people talk about police harassment and the perils of 'driving while black/brown." As long as I "sat still" and didn't venture out of my own comfort zone, I considered that whole proposition to be meaningless because it never happened to me or anyone I knew. My dismissal was an insult to the basic intelligence of almost every black and brown person in this country. But if anyone had called that racist, I likely would have assumed they were the one's playing the "race card" and gotten defensive.
Then I made friends with someone who was harassed almost daily simply for being brown. All of the sudden I started paying attention and was ashamed at how blind I'd allowed myself to be.
Since then, every time my eyes have opened further to my own racism, its been because I decided to stop standing still. Either I put myself into situations where I came in contact with the lived experience of people of color or I simply opened my ears to hear what they had to say.
The very nature of white privilege is that we can sit still in our own comfort zone and not notice. But given the demographic changes happening in this country, those days are numbered. Having a black POTUS and family living in the White House makes it all increasingly impossible to ignore.
At some point, we're all going to have to wrestle with the choice of either being socially immobilized as we continue to sit still - or take the risk of admitting our ignorance and ask some questions. Every time we chose the latter, we begin to unwind the machinery of racism.