Starting this book with the recent lynching of a Ahmaud Arbery is sobering. I ran this morning as part of the #runwithahmaud movement and reflected on my privilege of not having to worry too much about being confronted by racism, but instead being hit by a distracted driver.
I am here for the conversation to learn. I am here to listen. I am here to be an ally and stand with those who are daily impacted by racist ideas and people.
I take my responsibility seriously.
Wanting to be a good human being and a good neighbor.
As a father of two young ladies who are Black and Native.
As a father very White little boy.
As an educator, decolonizing my curriculum and learning from all perspectives and not centering the White voice.
Chapter 1 - Is it really about race?
I have experienced this type of conversation before when talking about race. In Chapter 1 Oluo states, "Disadvantaged white people are not erased by discussions of disadvantages facing people of color, just as brain cancer is not erased by talking about breast cancer. They are two different issues with two different treatments, and they require two different conversations" (18). Having a discussion about how race impacts each event matters and not take away the humanness of others at the same time.
I believe my life experiences are valid and meaningful as a white person, I have no right to invalidate the life experiences of a person of color because I do not understand or experienced what they have. Every experience matters and I need to listen and learn.
Chapter 2 - What is racism?
Definition: Racism is any prejudice against someone because of their race, when those views are reinforced by systems of power.
Ending systems of oppression is far more important than trying to win the hearts and minds of individuals.
"We have to remember that racism was designed to support an economic and social system for those at the very top. This was never motivated by hatred of people of color, and the goal was never in and of itself simply the subjugation of people of color. The ultimate goal of racism was the profit and comfort of the white race, specifically, of rich white men. The oppression of people of color was an easy way to get this wealth and power, and racism was a good way to justify it. This is not about sentiment beyond the ways in which our sentiment is manipulated to maintain an unjust system of power."
I am reading this to playing in a role in ending the systems that continue to oppress Black and Brown people.
I learned from this reading that tying racism to the systemic causes and effects will allow for learning and change to take place.
I want to reflect on my thoughts and actions to continue my work of being an antiracist.
I am very excited to be reading this book along with my 12 year-old daughter, Trinity. I will be adding her reflections to these posts as we learn together.
Why is it so hard to admit that we’re wrong?
Why do we try to act like we’ve never been racist before?
Why is it so hard to talk about race and why does it make us feel so uncomfortable?
Why do we try to deny what we said or did was wrong even though we know that it was wrong or hurtful?
We all have different brains, thoughts, and ideas but we all have feelings, so why should the color of mine or your skin get to decide what or how we get to feel our feelings that belong to us?
We all have the right to decide what we say and do, so you can’t defend yourself by saying “ well, I wasn’t try to” or “it wasn’t what I was trying to do”, because even if it wasn’t on purpose you still said it and you can’t deny it.
Why is it our nature to try to be better than everybody else if it’s money, fame, or anything else we feel the need to be better than the rest?
I connected to and with her when she said “personally, my blackness is a history of strength, beauty, and creativity that I draw on every day” because I love to experience and express my history and it’s culture and beauty of it all.
I like how she compared how if you say something to a white person it doesn’t have the same effect if you said something to a Black person. I believe you can’t be racist to a White person because if a Black person if pulled over by the cops and you see it you tell their boss or principal they’ll be labeled for life. If you do the exact same thing to a White person it will likely mean nothing and you'll probably end up joking about it instead of getting fired. Also less likely the white person will be label "suspicious" or a "threat" to anyone.
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Mr. Dylan Wince