I grew up in Atlanta, Georgia in an all white home with predominantly white friends from my predominantly white schools. I considered myself educated and far from racist. When I came to college, this all changed. I met some incredible friends who took the time to answer my ignorant questions and counter my ignorant statements. They woke me up. They showed me my bias. They taught me what it really means to care for people, all people, not just those who look like me. Now, in the aftermath of Charlottesville, others have also woken up to see the racism so clearly present, a plague for which we must find a cure. I have seen many white people ask what they can do to end this hatred. Here are a few things to get you started:
- Listen … I have seen in the white community a lot of confusion between not defining the minority experience vs. not burdening POC with educating us. In reality, they exist happily together. If something should be said about the minority experience especially in America, it should come from them. So often I see posts about racism no longer existing and what it’s actually like as a POC in this country, but they’re from white people...how would you know what a minority experiences if you’re not a minority? We need to shut our mouths and open our ears if we wish to learn anything about the reality of being a minority in this country, and then, if you still have questions, refer to number 2.
- Educate yourself … It should not be the job of our POC (person of color) friends and family to teach us why their lives matter; can you imagine having to do that yourself? Instead, take your questions to google, watch a documentary, take a class, or read a book to get you started. These are all great choices. If you still have questions that come from a good place of just wanting to understand and further your education on the matter, then go to your friends. ASK FIRST if they would be willing to hear a few questions or have a discussion before unloading all of it at once.
- Educate other white people … Tell your friend why dreads aren’t for them. Tell your friend why they can’t sing the N word, even if it’s their favorite song. Tell your friend why that girl is just pretty, not pretty ‘for a black girl’. Tell your friend that there’s no greater chance that the black man in the hoodie is anymore dangerous than the white man on the other side of the street. Tell your friend why Charlottesville is not ok, and that we cannot keep taking steps back.
It started with us, and now it must end with us.
Thank you to Jordan, Jered, Samii, Winston, Derrick, Fred, Brianna, Crystal, Tres,Ty, and all those who have taken the time to educate.