As a Black woman, I write about how it feels to be a victim of racism.
I suspect that some of my white readers are a little voyeuristic and enjoy reading about the painful situations I encounter. They get to walk in my shoes for four minutes and can return to the safety and comfort of their white lives. Some have the courage to comment. They tell me how sorry they are that these horrible things happen to me. They hit send, wash their hands of the problem and go about their lives.
Very few ask what they can actually do to drive anti-racism in their personal networks and communities. But these are the people who give me hope.
I can’t explain what lies behind human inaction on a topic as important as racism. I know it makes people feel uncomfortable, but is that a reason to ignore it, or even worse, not call out racism when you see it? Others are more concerned about saving a wide variety of fauna and flora than about actually working to dismantle racism which causes an inordinate amount of pain, trauma, and even death to a large portion of the human species. This begs the question:
Do Black lives really not matter in the slightest?
There also seems to be a sort of resignation, a laissez-faire attitude, and even acceptance of racism as an unalterable state that will never go away.
I often hear people say:
“It is what it is.”
“You need to toughen up.”
“The world is the way it is; there’s nothing we can do to change it.”
I refuse to accept these assumptions about racism. They make me feel like a prisoner condemned to a life sentence of racism without a chance of parole, and that is a rather bleak prospect. I need to believe that the world will evolve and that one day, racism will become extinct.
Black people can talk as long as we want about racism. But the only way we will make exponential progress is if white men become strong allies, advocates, leaders, and disciples in…