I think it’s fair to say that the last few weeks have been eye-opening for a lot of people. A lot of white people. Myself included. While I understood that racism still exists in our country, I don’t think I truly understood how embedded it is in all aspects of society or the role I have played in it. Shit, I married a Black man, my sister married a Black man, my brother married a Japanese woman, I have mixed race nieces and nephews…we obviously “fixed” racism, right? No. Not even close.
I’m saddened to say that I’ve only recently (in the last few years) realized my white privilege. I know I’ve always seen racism in others, but avoided or was oblivious to seeing it in myself. Talking about race makes me very uncomfortable and it’s a lot easier to say that it’s someone else’s issue. It’s also easier to avoid it altogether by not watching videos of police brutality or not reading statistics that so clearly identify the oppression of Blacks in our society (out of sight, out of mind). Well, it’s time for me to grow up and finally face it because avoiding it is not going to protect the people I love so much and no one should have to explain to a seven year old why some people are more likely to be killed solely based on the color of their skin.
Because I’ve avoided these issues for so long, I’m starting with my own education. I’m listening to podcasts (like 1619), watching interviews, reading books like White Fragility and How to be an Antiracist, and I’m also taking an online course on race and cultural diversity – all things I’ve avoided since I was in school. I’m trying to get comfortable with the idea that I will sometimes say the wrong thing and that it’s okay. It’s better than being silent. I want to learn. I want to be better.