Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.
Racism is a system not an event.
BLACK LIVES MATTER.
White people it’s time to be responsive and hold ourselves accountable to the work.
We must ask ourselves how are we listening and learning from black narratives?
How will we listen and learn and use our own voices in our spheres of influence?
How will we hold ourselves accountable to educate ourselves about the systems in place in our country that continuously exude social injustices?
White people our learning journey will never end and it shouldn’t. White people we have a responsibility to do the work. Sustained focus and study is imperative to inform dialogue about racism and action for change.
White people we have a personal responsibility to listen, learn and lead through action.
Be responsible for where you are on this journey, step out of your white comfort, and start the work now.
Merriam-Webster's first definition of racism is “a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.”
The definition of racism is getting updated in Merriam Webster dictionary. Kennedy Mitchum who contacted staff at the organization stated the need for an updated definition.
"I kept having to tell them that definition is not representative of what is actually happening in the world," she told CNN. "The way that racism occurs in real life is not just prejudice it's the systemic racism that is happening for a lot of black Americans."
Many people will dismiss any conversations about systemic racism by stating they don’t feel that way about people of color.
As a white woman, I am working through my own journey to listen, learn and lead through action.
Everyday I learn that I need to learn more and once I know what I know, I better do better.
One area I have learned more about during listening sessions with black and white colleagues over the past two weeks is white fragility. Robin DiAngelo who is a sociologist wrote the book White Fragility: Why it’s so Hard for White People to talk about Racism.
I believe I am a well-intended white person who is open-minded yet cannot answer the question DiAngelo asks, “What does it mean to be white?” The well-intended white person can still create harm by falling into white comfort.
What is white fragility?
DiAngelo shares in Teaching Tolerance,
“ Well, when I coined that term, the fragility part was meant to capture how little it takes to upset white people racially. For a lot of white people, the mere suggestion that being white has meaning will cause great umbrage. Certainly generalizing about white people will. Right now, me saying “white people,” as if our race had meaning, and as if I could know anything about somebody just because they’re white, will cause a lot of white people to erupt in defensiveness. And I think of it as a kind of weaponized defensiveness. Weaponized tears. Weaponized hurt feelings. And in that way, I think white fragility actually functions as a kind of white racial bullying.
We white people make it so difficult for people of color to talk to us about our inevitable—but often unaware—racist patterns and assumptions that, most of the time, they don’t. People of color working and living in primarily white environments take home way more daily indignities and slights and microaggressions than they bother talking to us about because their experience consistently is that it’s not going to go well. In fact, they’re going to risk more punishment, not less. They’re going to now have to take care of the white person’s upset feelings. They’re going to be seen as a troublemaker. The white person is going to withdraw, defend, explain, insist it had to have been a misunderstanding.”
There is much to be done and the work will continue, however, we would be ignorant and negligent to state that nothing will ever change and that this is not a systemic problem in our society.
As a privileged white woman, I am committed to the work.
Listen, learn and lead through action.
BLACK LIVES MATTER!
Change how you understand what it means to be racist, and then act on that understanding. Because if you change your understanding, but you don’t do anything different, then you’re colluding.