Black Lives Matter.
I want to openly admit how racist I am, and what I am doing about it.
This might surprise you to hear that I am racist, because I am, without a doubt, also anti-racism.
I am a kind, accepting, open, loving white woman.
I believe and vote for equal rights for all people.
My neighbors are black.
My best friends are black.
I am from a white family, in a white town.
I went to a white college.
I grew up in a very nice, loving, accepting white family who believes and votes for equal rights for all people.
How could I be racist?
Because I grew up in a racist society with massive inequality.
I don't know what I don't know.
A few years ago, a young blonde girl was shooting a skunk in our local park in broad daylight.
I was scared and taken back at first, but when I saw who it was, I was relieved.
If that was a black man or a black teen, I might have been scared and called the police.
When I recognized that within myself, I called bullshit.
I have noticed it other times too.
When I am walking down a city street alone at night and a black man passes me, I secretly pull my purse closer to me.
When a white man in a business suit passes me, I don’t.
That’s me being racist.
That’s me being afraid of things I don’t know.
That’s me making negative assumptions about people I don’t know.
I read books by white authors.
I follow white instagram accounts.
I surrounded myself with white people, like me.
Birds of a feather, stick together.
My heart has always been broken by inequality.
I got my degree in social work to try to change the unequal world we live in.
I am outraged by black people getting murdered.
They are not murdered because they are black.
They are murdered because we are white racists.
The problem is not being black.
The problem is being racist.
But being outraged is not enough.
I am part of a society that contributes to the senseless murders of black people.
So being a nice and kind white woman is not enough for me.
Having a broken heart in my white world is not helping enough to make change.
I can and will do more.
I can’t stay over here in my white world and wave to the black community and send my thoughts and prayers.
I need to cross the road and give the black community my hand and have them lead me to where they can best use me and my white privilege to demand action.
I need to unlearn what I have unintentionally been taught.
I need to educate myself.
I must read books by black authors, follow black Instagram accounts, and shop in stores owned by black people.
I need to learn from people that know how to teach me and that is the black community.
As a white woman, I am afraid to speak up because I am afraid to say the wrong thing.
I wrote a whole blog about my experience in Africa.
The whole blog is so racist, without intending to be.
I knew that when I wrote it.
I had to write it anyway.
I wanted to write my honest thoughts.
It was a starting point for me.
No surprise, I got some feedback.
A well intentioned white woman, told me how I could write it better.
What I should have said, what I should not have said.
Has this person been to Africa? No.
Has this person ever written anything for others to read? No.
But this person wanted to tell me what I did wrong.
This person thought she was more culturally sensitive than me, because she follows a black instagram account.
This person is ironically, exactly the kind of person that perpetuates racism.
We have to be allowed to speak, write, and share.
We have to put ourselves out there to be wrong.
We have to be open to education, correction, and apology.
Maya Angelou said herself “when we know better we do better.”
I want to know better, so I can do better.
I can start by doing it wrong, and learning as I go.
Trying and failing is better than not trying at all.
I am open to criticism from the black community and others that are trying and failing and can share lessons learned.
I am not open to criticism from people that are not trying and are only criticizing.
If you feel helpless, especially if you are like me, a white suburban woman and wondering what you can do.
Here’s a start.
Can you challenge yourself to your own racist thinking? Racism is not an event, it’s a system we live in.
Where are your fears?
How have you contributed to a system that benefits white people and keeps black people down?
How have you passed these beliefs to your kids?
How can you work and speak to being less racist in your own life?
Can you listen and learn?
Check your book list, your movie list, your shopping list, the art around your home, your social media accounts.
Are you supporting the black community?
Are you hiring black employees?
Are you learning from others that might be different than you?
Are you putting yourself in a black mother’s shoes?
Can you add your name to a petition?
Can you text FLOYD to 55156?
Can you send money to Color of Change?
Can you follow Rachel Cargle, and watch her Public Address on Revolution Now https://linktr.ee/1thatgotawayy
Can you admit you might be a well intentioned person that can do better?
How will you demand change?