Last weekend, I realized that I’m part of the problem. Not because of my beliefs or my point of view or my actions…instead it’s because I honestly didn’t realize that simply being anti-racist wasn’t enough to be part of the solution. The national outcry over the wrongful death of Mr. George Floyd gave me pause to think critically about what I’ve been doing to be an active part of the end to racism.
I’m white. Raised in a white family with white relatives in a white neighborhood in predominantly white schools. Growing up like I did, it was actually quite difficult to be around anyone who was black. I remember 1 black peer in grade school (she was adopted by white parents) and 1 in high school. Even our vacations were, well, mostly white. My parents didn’t have black friends. From what I could tell, neither did my extended family. It never occurred to me that life for anyone else could be any different than mine.
Simply being anti-racist isn’t enough.
I never saw examples injustice or intolerance. I never learned how to ask questions about other cultures and races. I learned growing up that there’s nothing to talk about and nothing to question, because, there was nothing going on around me to talk about and question when it came to racism. I don’t know how to openly and effectively talk about the issues surrounding racism experienced by black lives, and how we can ALL change our society so that anti-racism is the norm. I have developed many friendships and worked with many black lives in adulthood. I need to do more to stand beside them, every single day, even when I’m not physically next to them.
Simply being anti-racist isn’t enough. I haven’t done what I need to do. I know it now, and in writing this post, I pledge that my proactive contribution to end racism starts right now.
Sometimes, using your leader voice means asking for guidance, and that’s exactly what I’m doing now. I’ve identified several books from the suggestions of friends to dive into my education on racism and white privilege. I’m reviewing several websites also to help me understand how to apply what I’ve learned in my interactions with others. How did you learn your way to become part of the solution? What books, blogs, sites, or resources helped you reach out and be an active part of the solution?
Thank you everyone, be safe, stay well, and lead on.