Hi! Just wanted to say it is super okay if talking about race makes you uncomfortable. We are socialized against it using all sorts of nice sounding things like “kids should be colorblind” and “I don’t see race.”
The next step for all of us is acknowledging that those remarks would only be helpful in a society where race was not a determinant factor in health outcomes (more Black women die in childbirth than their white counterparts), police outcomes (a Black male child of 15-19 is 21x more likely to be killed by police), socioeconomic outcomes (Black college graduates are unemployed at 2x the rates of their white counterparts), etc. BUT because race IS a determinant factor (even when we control for socioeconomic and other factors), we must acknowledge that we do NOT live in a colorblind society.
Racism does not require you to be unkind. In fact, systemic racism is BUILT to oppress and mistreat completely regardless of your personal niceness. Right now, protestors are not telling you you’re mean, you’re a moral failure, etc. Anti-racism calling on the goodness required to speak up when we see injustice. We as, as white people (myself as a passing white Latina) have got to get comfortable with the discomfort of acknowledging white supremacy.
Our ancestors were responsible for building the systems that purposefully, maliciously and cleverly kept Black people from opportunity. Now, our boardrooms and courts and police forces are filled with white people upholding those systems even when we can see the outcome is the continued marginalization of Black and minority communities. Because white people are the majority decision makers, our inaction as the controllers of the system enables and perpetuates systemic racism.
Our job now is to listen to Black people crying out from their lived experiences and believe them when they say they know how to help their communities. Our job is to accept correction when we enable and act out racism. Our job is to deal with the discomfort of our late arrival to this reality and to educate ourselves using resources Black activists, researchers and educators have been creating for years. Our job is to use the privilege of our whiteness to speak to other white people and help them on the journey of unlearning racism.
I am on this journey, too. I have been blind and weak, callous and at times purposefully kept from seeing the truth. I have dropped all of my other work right now to educate myself on how to be anti-racist (my ability to do this is another aspect of my privilege).
Our apologies and our solidarity are MEANINGLESS if we don’t do the work of changing the system that has caused the violence and poverty in the first place. I beg the good people in my life to see that we have work to do, roll up our sleeves, and get to it.
I will be going back into this post and updating with sources and links for everyone. Thank you for reading!