In Allan Johnson’s chapter 8 “Getting Off the Hook: Denial and Resistance,” his thesis is “No one likes to see themselves as connected to someone else’s misery, no matter how remote the link. Usually their first response is to find a way to get themselves off the hook, and , as I’ll show below, there are all kinds of ways to do that” (108). His main point is that everyone is apart of the problem whether they want to be or not.
According to Johnson one of the easiest ways of getting off the hook is denying everything. An example he uses is, “Racism and sexism used to be problems, but they aren’t anymore.” This is saying that racism and sexism has disappeared in the current society and everyone knows that it hasn’t. Denial also promotes describing an experience for another person. An example used is a child falls down and is crying. The adult says it does not hurt that bad, which in fact the adult has no idea how bad it hurts (109). Another way of getting off the hook is to blame someone else. One example is “Whites can say things such as, “If blacks were smarter or worked harder or got an education, they’d be okay” and expect most other whites to go along” (110). This is saying that whites are blaming blacks for not getting better jobs. The whites do not want to take blame for making it harder for blacks to get jobs or saying racism is the reason why blacks are not getting better opportunities. Calling the problem something else is one more way to get off the hook. “Avoiding the trouble by renaming it is most prevalent in matters of gender inequality” (112). An additional way it saying it is better off this way. Johnson uses the example of whites saying black people would prefer to live among other black families (112). “Research has proven though that blacks would much rather prefer to live integrated neighborhoods” (112). This is saying just because whites would rather have blacks live among other blacks does not mean the blacks want to do that. The whites are trying to put it nicely that they do not want blacks to live around them or in their neighborhood. One more way is saying you are sick and tired of hearing about something. “When you are annoyed by something, it can seem as thought it is everywhere as if there is no escaping it” (121). This happens because you are always thinking about it. So every little instance of the thing that is annoying you is reminded by everything.
Why doesn’t anyone ever want to take responsibility for what they say or what they feel? I feel no one wants to take blame because they are scared the way society is going to feel about them. They want to please everyone and not stick up for what they believe in. Also people want to stay out of trouble by some of the comments they make with having harassment or offending someone because of their race.
I completely agreed with everything in this chapter. People do not want to take claim for most of the comments they make and are willing to get out of it however they can.