I haven’t posted in a while because the world is in turmoil, and I needed some time to adjust. I’m sure the same can be said for anyone else reading this! I wanted to take my time before posting about the Black Lives Matter movement, George Floyd, the protests, and racism in general. These are serious topics that require thought, soul-searching, and real action, not just a quick acknowledgment while it’s trending on social media.
I want to be totally clear. I completely support Black Lives Matter. This blog is a safe space for people of all colors, all genders, all religions, all sexualities, all economic and educational backgrounds, and all bodies. I stand against the oppression of people’s equal rights to live, to love, and to pursue their own unique spiritual path. I don’t lose any of my rights by allowing others to have the same. And If I don’t help others with the privilege I have, then what am I doing?
Facing My Own Racist Upbringing
I learned when I was 12 that my parents were racists. This was horrifying to me. I became very critical of everything my parents said from then on and started to examine my upbringing. Their racism was insidious because they claimed to be against racism, but would actively contribute to a racist culture with jokes, language, and their actions. I was ashamed and did what I could to unlearn what they had taught me, with the help of some patient friends who would call me out when I needed it.
I thought that was enough. I thought that by changing myself, I was doing my part in ending racism. In all fairness, this was no small feat, and I’m not finished. I recognize that this is something I will have to actively work on for the rest of my life. George Floyd’s murder and the protests that came from it have shown that systemic racism is truly real and cannot, will not be ignored any longer. It is painfully clear that racism is not just about the intentional hateful words and actions, but about a system that perpetuates some people’s oppression for the benefit of others. And by “others,” I mean White People. White people benefit from the oppression of others.
As a white person, I benefit from this system, whether or not I want to be a part of it. Right now, there’s nothing I can do to escape this fact. It doesn’t necessarily make me an automatic “racist.” Still, it does implicate me in a racist system, and I hate that. It feels gross. It hurts. But, if I’m to do anything about it, I have to accept it because denying it changes nothing. I don’t consider myself a racist person, but if I mean that, I have to recognize my part in a racist system. We all do. Only then can we dismantle it.
Learning How to be a Real Ally
I’ve taken it upon myself, now more than ever, to step up my own self-awareness when it comes to racism. I’m reading “White Fragility” and will move on to other books. I’ve been pouring through articles and videos trying to learn how to use my privilege to help people, and not keep it all for myself. I was able to donate money, which is awesome. What I feel is more important is that I’ve become much more outwardly visible in my support of black lives.
It isn’t enough to bring my visibility to protests. I wear my Black Lives Matter shirt to the grocery store in my comfortable, very white town. I live in a place where it would be easy for people to act like these issues are far away from them and don’t affect them. But this affects all of us. We are all in this together. I am unapologetically the most visible and outspoken around other white people. If it makes them uncomfortable to be confronted with thoughts of systemic racism while they’re running their errands in their safe neighborhoods, GOOD! We need to understand that some of us (white people) can go about our days with little thought to our personal safety. While others are in danger for their lives whenever they walk into a store. This is unacceptable.
I will be writing more on this topic. I can’t stay silent. This is part of my spiritual practice and service, and for me to be an ally, I have to step up even more now. I hope to be able to approach this with a transcendental mindset, but we’re all struggling, and I don’t have all the answers. Still, I’m committed to trying, and I hope you will be with me. <3
To donate to Black Lives Matter, or to find other ways to help, go here: https://blacklivesmatter.com