Like millions of others, we spent last week digesting the news out of Minneapolis with absolute horror. During one of our many conversations about the current state of affairs, I said something that highlighted my privilege – “I just wish things would return to normal.” Clay was quick to agree and then almost immediately, we both cocked our heads and looked at each other – perfectly and shamefully aware of how that seemingly off-handed statement dismissed over 300 years of injustice and inequality while diminishing the pain associated with systemic racism that is as much woven into our society as the colors of our flag.
The past few days I’ve found myself looking for guidance on how I, a white woman married to a white man with white children, can best contribute to the breaking down of racial divisions, intolerance, and discrimination because it’s painfully obvious that self-identifying as a non-racist isn’t enough. I need to do more. I loved the piece that Barack Obama wrote today – I want to be a part of the turning point for real and meaningful change. Below are some of the resources I’ve used to jump start my journey:
A common theme on social media this past week has been that the fight against racism begins at home. While it will take much more to eliminate both the tangible and invisible barriers non-whites face on a daily basis, it’s impossible to ignore the impact that growing up in a racial intolerant (or even indifferent) environment has on a child. Our children are cognizant that racism – at least as an abstract concept – is bad. While visiting Monticello last year we took them on the Slavery Tour, which didn’t hold back on how poorly Thomas Jefferson treated the slaves whose blood, sweat, and tears maintained his vast expansive property. All four of us walked away from our visit to Charlottesville very conflicted about the legacy of our third president. So while we’re not sugarcoating our history, I know we can have more meaningful conversations about race with our children that aren’t centered around a historical event. The following are some resources I’ve found useful thus far:
- ‘Talking About Race’
- Black History Movies That Tackle Racism
- Why Are All of the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?
I am learning that being disgusted, angered, and heartbroken about the murder of George Floyd isn’t enough. And doing nothing except wishing for life to ‘return to normal’ is nothing short of passive racism. I am learning that I need to educate myself more about the everyday experiences that make life more difficult than it has to be for people without my skin color and that I need to do everything in my power to speak up. I am here. I am listening. And I am learning.