Last night I went to an educational performance by the Curious Theater Company. My work has set up what we call EdTalks (get it?!), to look at and discuss racial inequalities in our school district and how to improve and they partnered with Curious to put on a show. When I learned that this one was going to be a performance and not just someone talking, I knew I should go, plus, it was free!
I met up with one of my teammates and we watched a performance called Black. It was quite good and on par with what one of my networks has been discussing in their monthly meetings. It was even more impressive when the director informed us that the author of the play is an 18 year old young lady. Afterward the audience asked questions and shared their thoughts on the play and race in general.
As a white person, I struggle with not always recognizing and fixing my racist tendencies or thoughts when I have them. Nor am I always aware of or acknowledge the privilege that I have solely because of my skin color. Talking about race and how other races live and are treated can be very uncomfortable for me but it’s something that I believe is extremely important if we as a country, and as a world, are ever going to be able to truly treat one another equally. I believe it is important for white people to acknowledge the privilege that we have and use it to uplift and help other races who do not have that privilege. As many audience members said last night, the purpose of talking about race and how black people live and are treated is not about making white people feel guilty. It’s about stepping into another’s shoes, it’s about empathy, and it’s about recognizing that people are treated differently because of something they have no control over – skin color.
I am grateful that my work is trying to start conversations and bring about change. I’ll be honest, I struggle (what white person doesn’t?).Throughout the show I thought about myself and wondered how the black audience members felt about me being there and I had to keep reminding myself – this isn’t about me. This is about black people and how they feel and how I can support them.
Although I do not plan on joining the Black Lives Matter movement or joining a discussion group, I do plan on being more intentional in catching myself in those racist thoughts and reworking my brain to be more aware and less racist. This is a process, it’s going to take time, but it’s worth it if it means I treat all humans as humans and I help others do the same.