14. The Certificate of Innocence

Sometimes we seek or expect from people of color some public or private recognition and appreciation for our anti‐racism. Other times we look for a “certificate of innocence” to tell us we are one of the good white people.

Reality Check and Consequence

If our ally commitment depends on positive reinforcement from people of color, we set ourselves up for sure failure. The first time a person of color is displeased with our actions, we could respond, “Well, if the people I’m doing all this for don’t want my help, then why bother? I quit.” Clearly, we’re challenging racism for “them” not for us. We have not identified our self interest, as white people, for fighting racism. Until we do, we cannot stay on this lifelong journey.

One of the detours from “Detour-Spotting for White Anti-Racists” by joan ollson