This is a scary time, and I hope that you’re safe. I know I talked about having self-awareness previously, and that message is still important, but seeing self awareness through the lens of the Black Lives Matter movement is far more urgent.
I am the definition of White privilege. I have had every opportunity to excel in my life, and sure, I’ve made the most of it, but that’s not where the conversation should end. Something that has been on my mind lately is that Youtube Video that involves the race for the $100 bill. Kids were asked to take steps forward if they had their college paid for, parents that were together, and a bunch of other inherited privileges. Then they were asked to race to the end, winner gets $100. The truth here is that the kids who never took a step forward, many of them being Black, didn’t even have a chance to win because the odds were stacked so far against them. That’s our society in America, and we need to address it.
It’s important to acknowledge how you might have received some of those steps that others didn’t. Yes, your family worked hard to provide that for you, but they also started a few steps ahead themselves. And that comes from the racial bias integrated into the very systems that determine achievement and opportunity.
The fact that Black people in America aren’t safe, especially in the hands of police officers and those responsible for protecting them, is devastating. But, Black Lives Matter is not only about safety. That safety is being threatened by the systems in place, which is taught at a very young age, to change the way white people perceive Black people. I am the problem. I have strong racial biases, because I grew up in a system that I never questioned. Consciously, I choose to love everyone regardless of who they are. But, unconsciously I have biases that affect me in ways that are only now coming to light.
The thesis here is have self-awareness. Because from awareness comes choice, and your choices matter more than ever. I have been ignorant on the issue for far too long, and I can’t fix it. However, I can find ways to play my role in being a part of the solution.