I’ll admit, I’m not good at blogging or blogging tools, but here I am. I’m not a writer. I’m nothing special. My voice is not different from many other, clearer voices, and I don’t intend to spend a ton of time editing or even thinking. This is a journal essentially, but I’m putting it on the web because maybe someone out there wants to call me on something I think/type or maybe I will need a public shaming to really get certain things. Maybe others will join me and we can figure some things out. I’m desperate. This blog is an act of desperation.
I’d like to add my white face to the many-faceted chorus of others who have had enough of this nonsense. What do I mean by “nonsense?” I mean white people/groups/news channels/politicians who insist racism is over, or that dead black people are just some sort of cover-up for black crime (discussion of that,) or the sickening sight of people marching around with their inane Battle Flags. (I’d include a link, but the current top links are “show your confederate pride” types. Not gonna add to the clickbait.)
While I’m admitting things, I’ll add — I fail sometimes/probably often at being a white “anti-racist”. I’m not even really sure that’s a real thing. Everyone has implicit bias, including me. I try to check my white privilege as constantly as possible. “Is that reasonable?”, I ask myself. Well, sure, because I didn’t say 24/7/365. And therein lies the issue.
I am white. Despite certain people I shall not list (maybe another day we’ll take on cultural appropriation,) that is a fact that cannot change. I was raised in this skin, so my perspective is different. I’m sitting in my living room pretty certain that I can go out and not be shot by the police, even if I committed a crime. My neighborhood is pretty safe. My food store is within a short enough distance and has fresh veggies and fruit. I got a good education. I have access to resources, and while I’ve experienced racism, it was never about me but rather about the people I was with.
Facts are important, but so is action. Writing a bunch of blog posts probably isn’t going to change a thing, since the internet (like the news, like society in general) seems to be a self-selecting sort of place. And I have said to myself for years that I don’t believe in “facebook activism” or “twitter activism.” Hitting “retweet” is not activism, and it’s hardly even action. But it can’t hurt, so I do it. “It doesn’t fix anything”, I think every time I do it, and that’s how I’m feeling about this blog too. But here I am, in desperation, in confusion, in a state of near panic, thinking “I hope it doesn’t hurt.”
As a Baltimorean there are a lot of things I can do, and this is where I intend to just keep a bunch of words to remind myself to do them. I’m going to keep trying and doing. I’m going to show up, and I’m going to follow Black activists doing whatever they need. I keep a little journal in my phone regarding moments of white privilege. I’m sure I miss a lot. I’d love to ask a black friend to help me, but that act in itself seems pretty selfishly privileged.
One thing I’d love to do is start a bunch of small groups to talk about just this issue. A mixed group where honesty is valued above all — where black people, like Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle, or a similar group could come and be safe calling out white people about our shit.
In reality, white people should start by talking to other white people. I haven’t spoken to my mother in a long while for many reasons, but one of the biggest things that’s always stood between us is the fact that she is a racist and thinks she isn’t (see Fox News.) I asked her to stop saying things (like “just use your uncle’s Mexicans” to move house,) decades and decades ago, later I told her to stop it, then I threatened to cut her off, and finally I did.
But she’s still a racist who thinks she isn’t because she somehow knows some black people and may have eaten with them or something. Do I go back to her and listen to her and try again, or do I simply cut her off forever? I doubt my nearly 80 year old mother will ever really get it, but should I keep trying until she dies or gets it? She’s sort of my responsibility, but might my time be better spent talking to more receptive and younger white people? Do I start with the old-ish lady across the hall? She knows she’s a racist and doesn’t seem terribly troubled by it. My sharp criticism brings a slammed door until the next time we bump into each other. And so it goes. I’d move, but I can’t afford to do that right now.
So that’s why I’m typing away: because I’m tired of crying alone. While I can’t stop white supremacy, I can try to do whatever I can to change things while I’m on this earth. I’m sad but I am not going to stay shuttered inside wondering why things don’t change. And with that, I’m pretty much done here for today.
I tried to add a widget to make a list of links, but I can’t see it, so here are a few to start off with:
- Video Series on Systemic Racism
- White Terrorism Is as Old as America
- White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack
- Understanding the Charleston Shooting from a Sociological Perspective
- The Charleston Shooter Has Plenty of Company on the Internet
- Of Rachel Dolezal and Other Confused White People
- Baltimore Rising, Baltimore Healing
- Warnings and Instructions
- Test Your Own Implicit Bias (on a variety of topics) and here’s my (rather self-serving, but I planned the link before I did the test) result