I am not perfect. I am learning what it means to be part of this great thing called humanity.
Yesterday I was deeply saddened and troubled by the amount of white privilege that appeared on my FB news feed regarding Obama’s poignant and honest comments. However, the fact white privilege was used to diminish and dismiss Obama’s heartfelt comments on race in America did not shock me. While upset, I was reminded of the importance of antiracist work and my commitment to continuing this much-needed antiracism dialogue in the classroom and in everyday life.
Even so, I couldn’t sleep. Then about 3am I found this article (posted by Nadine Equality Smith) from the NYTimes. The article is well written but that is not what I wish to draw your attention. I would like you to review the comments. Within the comments section I discovered a sense of humanity missing from many posts in my news feed and new hope for honest conversations about race in America. It is my belief that we are all personally responsible and must hold ourselves accountable to do our own antiracist work within our lives and our communities. Change begins within.
These comments are how we begin a conversation toward change. Honest. Not perfect. Missteps along the way. Willing.
Racism is a White issue. White people benefit from racism and therefore are the ones responsible for challenging the systems and institutions that maintain America’s racist ideologies. We cannot expect to agree with what each person will add to the conversation. We can and should expect that each person be respectful, open, and honest. Having conversations about what it means to be white or black in America is difficult work (more on this for a later post). It is not new work. Confronting racism is going to be uncomfortable, painful and emotional work.
Here are a few excerpts. I hope you read more. And I encourage you to think about your own role in our culture and how it works to perpetuate racism in America.