I have been at a loss for words hearing about another death of a person of color by the hands of the police. The stories feel heartbreakingly painful to me even as I sit here holding the privilege of being a mama of two white daughters. I am free from explaining to them how to safely interact with a police officer, go for a run in our neighborhood or even sleep in their beds.
I have been silent these past few weeks because I have been mindful of how I want to share my thoughts. I am choosing to come from a place of love and compassion for all of us.
I want to say that I have much respect for police officers. I have dear friends are on the force. I honor them and their work in keeping us safe.
At the same time, a truth has been undeniably revealed in our country. We white folk have declared ourselves privileged over people of color. It is a truth that has been here since our country’s origin and is still here today both in subtle and not so subtle ways. We are unable to hide this truth anymore. Our culture supporting white privilege has been brought up for healing and the time is now.
The task can seem insurmountable. I know at times it has seemed that way for me. How can I change the huge systems in our country that continue to ignore the needs of people of color? How can I change the minds of others who believe that some of our lives are more valuable than others? My only answer is that I can start with myself.
The way we heal is for each of us to look inward– to listen to the words we speak and the claims we make, to feel the discomfort of making a mistake in our conversations with others, and to take action when feeling called to do so.
One way to get started is to read “White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism” by Robin DiAngelo. There are so many other resources out there to continue the conversation.
“Until white people understand that racism is embedded in everything, including our consciousness and socialization, then we cannot go forward.” Robin DiAngelo