Robert Jensen : The Color of the Race Problem is White (Video)

The Color of the Race Problem is White
By Robert Jensen / The Rag Blog

“The Color of the Race Problem Is White” was a lecture by Professor Robert Jensen, recorded at the University of Texas at Austin on March 30, 2009. The lecture itself is 28 minutes and also includes 24 minutes of discussion. Jensen is the author of The Heart of Whiteness: Confronting Race, Racism, and White Privilege.

In The Souls of Black Folk, W.E.B. DuBois suggested that the question white people so often want to ask black people is, “How does it feel to be a problem?” This program turns the tables and recognizes some simple facts: Race problems have their roots in a system of white supremacy. White people invented white supremacy. Therefore, the color of the race problem is white. White people are the problem. White people have to ask ourselves: How does it feel to be a problem?

Following the ideas in his book The Heart of Whiteness, Jensen argues that — even decades after the significant achievements of the civil rights movement and with an African-American president — it is still appropriate to describe the United States as a white-supremacist society, in terms of how we think and how we live.

Through an analysis of contemporary racial ideology, Jensen presents a framework for critiquing the naturalizing of power and privilege in other arenas of our lives (gender, class, nationality, and ecology). How have we come to accept so easily systems of domination and subordination? How did we become resigned to hierarchy? How can we challenge the unjust and unsustainable nature of the systems in which we live?

[Robert Jensen is a journalism professor at the University of Texas at Austin and board member of the Third Coast Activist Resource Center. Among his books is The Heart of Whiteness: Confronting Race, Racism and White Privilege (City Lights, 2005) Jensen is also co-producer of the documentary filmAbe Osheroff: One Foot in the Grave, the Other Still Dancing, which chronicles the life and philosophy of the longtime radical activist. Jensen can be reached at and his articles can be found online here.]

The Rag Blog / Posted July 14, 2009

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3 Responses to Robert Jensen : The Color of the Race Problem is White (Video)

  1. Anonymous says:

    Ahh, yes Jensen – keep the white man down and riddle him with guilt (the same guilt that drives you). It’s been 150 years since slavery and we’re still putting the old guilt trip on the white man. No one in today’s society has ever experienced condoned slavery in our country, no ones parent ever did, no ones grand parent ever did. When do we grow up and move on.

    The principal flaw in Jensen’s argument exists in reality. Look at the illegitimate birth rate, unemployment rate, education achievement rate, incarceration rate and access of welfare by Blacks. Sorry Bobbo, the facts speak for themselves. But of course this is all a result of a conspiracy by whites, jews, asians and others who have ‘rigged’ the game. Funny, in public schools with the same school, cirricula and teachers, blacks drop out more and make lower grades – why is that? Truth hurts – sorry.

    Jensen claims our society is ‘unjust’ – unjust because whites don’t give up what they worked for (as if they don’t pay the majority of taxes that fund welfare and education) stop feeling proud about their achievements and bow down at the great alter of black justice.

    Jensen claims blacks fail in public school because of property tax rich districts. ‘Robin Hood’ leveled this playing field years ago, so, by Jensen’s logic blacks should have improved achievement. Again those pesky facts get in the way of Jensen’s argument – black achievement has gotten worse.

    Let’s get the truth out here: JENSEN IS THE RACIST. He is also biased against those who have accumulated wealth (note to Jensen – this is the American dream) decrying is as evil and wrong. This country used to be based on freedom and people having opportunity. Through that opportunity, hard work, better ideas and inititive people earn their lot in life. Along comes Jensen saying NO – you need to take from the productive and give to the losers.

    Jensen drums up all the same old lame excuses and white conspiracy nonsense that has been ‘gospel’ in the black community (i.e.driving while black – look at the statistics Mr. Jensen to see just who is committing crime, and before you blame it on a conspiracy, statistics show most police calls against blacks are made by blacks.)

    Let’s stop the guilt and blame – we cannot have equality until this is done. Let’s stop the hyphenated race labels, until this is done we cannot have unity.

    JENSEN IS A TROUBLEMAKER WEENIE who advocates taking from those who have achieved and give it to those who have done nothing. If you want power and resources, you have to EARN it. No one alive holds any blame (or as you state ‘accountability’ for slavery in this country, stop feeding this unrest – give it a rest.

    A JUST WORLD! In who’s eyes? Those of a WHITE professor who makes a six figure income?

  2. Anonymous says:

    More drivel from BOBBO THE CLOWN.

    Just ignore him and hope he will go away.

  3. perri says:

    I love him. He gets it.

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