As a white person of privilege, it is my duty to acknowledge and address the racism that is happening in my country right now and that has been happening in my country for our entire history. I am privileged solely because of my skin color. I have opportunities that black people and people of color do not have solely because of skin color. That makes me feel ashamed and sad. The racism in my country makes me feel overwhelmed and at times, hopeless. I don’t quite know what to do. I want to be a white ally and I want to contribute to reducing racism. So I’m starting here. I’m starting with acknowledging that racism is an issue and is a problem in my country and it stems from racist laws and from individual people, myself included, having biases, both conscious and unconscious.
I can make a difference by speaking out when those around me make racist remarks. I can make a difference by listening to people of color, supporting their businesses, reading books about race, and donating money to Black Lives Matter causes when I have the funds. I can watch media created by black people and watch media about the black experience. I can support bills and laws that promote equity. And I can acknowledge that I have biases that contribute to racism and actively work on finding and reducing those biases. If you haven’t seen this list of actions white people can do for racial justice I encourage you to skim through it. Each and every one of us has a part to play.
This is a tough conversation. I don’t want to see myself as racist or contributing to racism. It’s a very uncomfortable place to be. But those of us in privilege need to be uncomfortable because black people and people of color live in that place every day of their lives. They live in worse. They live in fear for their lives and the lives of their loved ones. That is not okay.
I can’t keep writing my blogs about the wonderful life I lead when I know that not everyone is as lucky as I am. So I’m committing this one post to the Black Lives Matter movement. I can commit one post to admitting how fucked up my country is. It is wrong that a person’s skin color determines the treatment they will receive from others and the opportunities they will be given. It is wrong that police kill black people without cause. The culture of hatred and fear that I belong to makes me feel angry and sad.
So I say now, I am willing to have a conversation about race. I am willing to listen to others’ thoughts about racism and their experiences. I am willing to stretch myself, to step out of my comfort zone, and to learn. Improving the lives of black people starts with me admitting there’s a problem, being open, being uncomfortable, and educating myself. We’re not going to fix racism in a day or even a year. But we can improve it every moment we’re aware, and I’m going to do my best to do my part.