I don’t always do a great job of having conversations on social media about race. Many times it’s because my emotions get in the way. But one thing I do well is sharing my experiences as I learn. It’s important to me because I am an ally for my Friends of Color and Students of Color. My world is better for the color they bring to it. Growing up the word “color blind” was popular. It meant we don’t see anyone’s color because we are all equal. It means we don’t judge people because they are a different color. And it also encouraged us not to talk about color.
But you see, if we don’t talk about color, which is very uncomfortable most times, we will never understand how our Friends of Color have very different perspectives on our American history. We will never understand that people are alive today who were born into segregation, and that we still have so much work to do to ensure that walls and barriers come down so we are truly equal in this dream that started in 1776.
Sometimes the most defensive of us are the ones who think we are part of the solution of helping unify us all. I’ll take a defensive white person over someone who refuses to acknowledge problems, any day. I know that I have been unfollowed or unfriended by a large portion of people in my life for the views I have, and I’m okay with that. I used to do this too when I was afraid of the truth or when I felt largely uncomfortable with the truth because I did not know how to stop feeling guilty for the generations before me. I did not understand that I was actually perpetuating racism myself by staying ignorant, or choosing not to reflect on my thought processes of bias and prejudice. In some ways, I’m reaping what I sowed, too.
Tonight, I’m trying to educate myself more on “structural racism” and how that has impacted everything in the daily lives for People of Color. It literally bleeds into our education system, our housing systems, prison systems, voting systems, and that’s just the part I understand.
So maybe learn with me. Let’s have some dialogue that looks at information as a seeker of truth rather than a defender of our current, failing systems. I have lots of passionate friends who truly want to be change makers, and I think we can definitely be just that. Together.