I saw a few posts in recent weeks from people wanting life to go back to normal. These comments are especially tone deaf in the middle of a global pandemic and national unrest because of the gross racial injustices in our country.
Things can’t go back to normal. We can only move forward. But we can’t move forward until we recognize systematic racism. We can’t heal until we admit that there are racial injustices and actively work to address and change those inequalities. There can’t be justice without accountability and we must address our shameful past to even begin to move forward from our divisive present.
We have to start with humility and empathy and understand that no matter how socially conscious or progressive we think we are, we have old bias regarding racial stereotypes and prejudice.
We have so much to learn, unlearn, and relearn.
I’ve been listening, learning, and checking my heart to figure out how to be a better ally.
I started with reading White Fragility. It’s a book by a white women for other white people about why it’s hard for white people to talk about racism without getting defensive. She highlights the biases white people have toward race while saying they don’t see color and think everyone is equal. It’s an important look at history and how bias are part of every day even if you’re “progressive” and “mean well.” Nice doesn’t mean not racist and racism doesn’t just come from mean/bad people.
I took a look at what I consume on social media platforms and made sure I’m following and amplifying black voices, artists, activists, content creators, authors, and more.
I’m diversifying my book stack and am reading more books by black authors. I recently finished The Water Dancer and just started Men We Reaped. Just Mercy, Rabbit, Stamped, Queenie, and Party of Two are also on my TBR list.
I’ve donated to organizations supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and had conversations with people about white privilege and how comments like all lives matter are not valid or appropriate. You cannot tell people how to mourn or how to feel about recent events. And offering up preferable reactions to someone else’s trauma is not only hurtful but it’s harmful. Being defensive, denying these injustices, and making tone deaf comments is not helpful.
“Interrupting the forces of racism is ongoing, lifelong work because the forces conditioning us into racist frameworks are always at play; our learning will never be finished. Yet our simplistic definition of racism -as intentional acts of racial discrimination committed by immoral individuals- engenders a confidence that we are not a part of the problem and that our learning is thus complete”- Robin Diangelo
I’m still learning and I’ll forever be learning. What I do know is that I won’t stay silent. I’ll put in the work to educate myself and continue to act and stand with the many people hurting right now.