I want to preface this post with a statement:
I do not consider myself to be any kind of expert on the subject of race relations. I have not studied it extensively and, living where I do, I am rarely confronted with race issues. Also, I do not presume to speak on behalf of anyone other than myself.
Now that I’ve put that out there, I want to say that I’ve been thinking about race relations quite a bit lately. My consciousness, if you will, has been raised because of things I have read and seen and heard and today I want to share three of those things with you.
First, something I have read. Actually it’s two somethings, both written by Ta-Nehisi Coates. We Were Eight Years in Power and also Between the World and Me. Both can be difficult to read, at times, but both are so very very important. Powerful and eloquent, they opened my eyes in a profound way. Do I agree with every point Coates makes? No. But do I have a new understanding of race relations as they are now after reading this books? Absolutely.
Second, something I have heard. The most recent podcast from This American Life called Three Miles. Here is their description of this episode: There’s a program that brings together kids from two schools. One school is public and in the country’s poorest congressional district. The other is private and costs $43,000/year. They are three miles apart. The hope is that kids connect, but some of the public school kids just can’t get over the divide. We hear what happens when you get to see the other side and it looks a lot better. It’s about an hour long and I was captivated for the entire time.
Third, something I have watched. It’s less than 5 minutes long and I hope you will indulge me and watch it. It moves me to tears every time I see it and it explains, in a very powerful way, the concept of privilege.
So. Those are three things that I think help illustrate racism, white privilege, and oppression. I don’t know how we fix this but I do know that talking about it without getting defensive and listening to each other without being dismissive is a good place to start. I’m sure that I’ve said or done things in the past that could be considered racist but I truly believe this: when you know better, you do better. So whether I’m reading, listening or watching, I’m really just seeking out a way to know better so that I can do better.
Be kind in the comments, my friends.
If you wrote a post for today please include your link below.
Thank you, Carole, for sharing – that video is amazing! …and I love the verse at the end. Truth and deed!
I just heard Joe Arpaio on NPR, so boy, do I ever need to believe that it’s possible for people to know better and do better. Thanks for helping all of us to do that.
gale zucker (she shoots sheep shots) says
That might be the best Three Things ever, one that’’s about thinking outward instead of retreating .( not that we can’t do both!)
i love that you offered three ways to engage with the subject, with decreasing degrees time
Thank you for posting it.
I saw that video a few weeks ago. It’s a great visual explanation. I’m white, grew up poor enough to eat burnt toast for breakfast, but with open minded upwardly mobile parents who were teachers. It still dumbfounds me to hear things people say about poor or impoverished people being lazy. Or anyone with less status in the world. It’s not that you have unearned privilege, it’s what you do with it.
BRAVO, Carole. We can’t begin to address this most important topic if we don’t just . . . put it out there and begin.
Mary K. in Rockport says
Amen. Thank you.
I like Bonny, hard Arpaio on NPR and was sickened to my very core. I think that video is powerful and so true, and if you didn’t get anything from it, you are indeed a fool.
May there be less fools and more understanding at the challenges that so many people face every single day that most of us have no idea about.
I think you did a nice job on this post, my friend.
Wow – that was a powerful video. I may have to share it. I don’t like what is happening in regards to race in our country.
Wow! Very powerful and nicely done. Thank you!
Thanks. Powerful, and nicely done.
Thank-you. Lord knows I can do better.
Thank you for sharing three very powerful and very good things and for reminding us that we can always learn and do better.
powerful message Carole. Every day we need to think more about this and find ways to bridge the gap. imagine if each of us did one small thing what we could overcome.
Thanks, Carole. The book (8 years) is on my request list from the library; Kid1 has it in hardcover but I read easier in kindle (while knitting).
Podcast is next up in my phone for the gym; I love This American Life.
And the video was great!
Oh my– what a powerful video. Thank you so much for sharing!!
This post is excellent for it opens so many doors for each of us to examine ourselves, actions, thoughts, attitudes. Thank you for focusing our attention and sharing those three excellent links. I hope this nation will engage in dialogue and positive action…we are so into a “slipping down life*”now…
*Title of an Anne Tyler novel
Yes, yes, YES!! Thank you, Carole! Best 3T EVER! I love you.
Thanks for sharing! I hadn’t seen that video yet and I did tear up. My Itunes podcasts are so backed up as I listen at work and some days don’t get to listen at all but I’m going to move this one up the list. The books have been added to my Goodreads list.
Thank you for sharing this. I am going to find a way to watch This American Life episode and the short video snippet. I grew up in Lynn and our high school was next to the projects before my family moved a little further north, so I saw some of this up close… there truly is such a huge divide. You have given us good things to think about.
Debbie Kuppusamy says
Thank you Carol. We have to be mindful. I’m a nurse, you can only imagine the stories I can tell. Perhaps we can spread kindness a little at a time in this awful period in our country.
Carole, this was a wonderful post. We all need to take the opportunity to focus on things that create an environment of bigotry and ignorance and be mindful of the struggles of our fellow citizens. I hope the upside of the current political environment will be a raising of consciousness and a powerful backlash against those who wish to continue this as the status quo.
Lydia S says
A great way to put it-when you know better-you do better. If you don’t you really have no excuse. This can be applied to so many things all that could make the world a better place.