Brene Brown has made vulnerability cool so here it goes. I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I don’t feel like I know nearly enough about the racial inequities in this country or the community I live in. I have studied, in awe, the greatness of MLK, Rosa Parks and Harriet Tubman. I watched Oprah every afternoon in high school and continue to worship the ground she walks on. I have looked up to black artists, athletes, and authors for as long as I can remember. I was never prouder of the progress our country had made than when the Obama family took office.
I remembered seeing the coverage of Rodney King on tv when I was 12 years old but there was no discussion in our home, our school, or our church about the injustices. For me, life as a white girl in a white school in a white town continued without a care in the world. I guess I naively wanted to believe that time had miraculously healed the hatred. And then Trump came along and surfaced so much of what has been there all along.
I cannot and will not deny the biases that come with white privilege. I am often ashamed that I am the very definition of white privilege. While I can’t change where I came from, I can change how I choose to understand the world now. And most importantly, I can change the lens my kids look through.
Last summer I began a concerted effort to re-educate myself on all things race, class, and the impact they have on society, especially the inequities that others face as a result. I researched books the whole family read together. Stamped by Ibram X. Kendi and Born a Crime by Trevor Noah are particular favorites. I walked hand-in-hand with my girls every afternoon (in our very white, very safe neighborhood) and discussed how it’s not fair that black people get pulled over by cops more than white people and that black people are often assumed to be suspicious in seemingly any situation. We talked about how things that I said all the time growing up (or until a matter of months ago) like “master bedroom”, “cakewalk”, or how I “slaved away” on something are not appropriate and have now been “blocklisted” vs “blacklisted” from my vocabulary (spell check has yet to catch up).
We talked about Trump and how he thinks it’s ok to treat people of color poorly and consequently set a horrible example for Americans. Elle pointed out that he treated everyone poorly. Most importantly, we talked about how we could leverage our place of privilege to help others who have it a lot tougher than we do. Despite our best efforts, sometimes it’s hard to know where to start. I’m of the mindset that it’s better to start small than not at all.
It’s time to turn the talking into action. I’m very excited to collaborate with Kiran Gaind, Parenting Coach and Found of Raising Reslience for an eye-opening conversation about Race, class, opportunity, possibility, and change. I invite you to join us. Wed 2/23, 6:15 pm. Together we can make a difference.