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.
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