Self-indulgent desire for relief

“Unsolicited confessions [from white people to Black people] inspired by a sense of guilt are often poured over Black bodies in search of their own relief,” says Austin Channing Brown in I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness. Brown experienced this “self-indulgent desire for relief” after an MLK Day celebration at church one day. People lined up to speak to her. “On and on the confessions went, but none was healing my soul,” she says. “Black women were bearing the brunt of these stories as white attenders sought relief from guilt over the ways they had participated in racism…I was expected to offer absolution. But I am not a priest for the white soul…White people really want this to be what reconciliation means: a Black person forgiving them for one racist sin. But just as I cannot make myself responsible for the transformation of white people, neither can I offer relief for their souls. 

From “Recovering Racists: Dismantling White Supremacy and Reclaiming Our Humanity” by Idelette McVicker