My Guy, my Life Partner is black. My Girl, my Platonic Wife, she’s half black. I look like the quintessential Arian with my blond hair, blue eyes and high cheekbones.
What used to strike me as odd is that racism is a dominant conversation and point of interest for me – far more than it is for my partners who are both people of color. Why is this?
Because racism is something they’ve always lived with. It’s a fact of life.
I grew up in a white family, in a white neighborhood with mostly white friends. Homeschooling was a beautiful experience but it meant that I didn’t get to socialize with many people of color and my education on racism, slavery etc was from the limited worldview of my rather sheltered mom.
8 years ago my mom and I found ourselves in a little independent study on racism. This was initially instigated by us reading The Help together (long before Oprah, Emma Stone or Viola Davis discovered it). Judge if you want, but I’ll take perspective shifts wherever I can find them, including cute stories. Mom and I then read historical accounts of the civil rights movement, watched any documentary we could get our hands on, eventually taking a road trip through Memphis and Mississippi to experience some of the significant locations for ourselves.
Since then I have slowly, consistently explored the topic of racism, white privilege and what I can do to help ensure the civil rights movement lives on. And it makes sense that this conversation is louder for me than for my partners of color, because it’s newer for me than for them. Because I am on the outside, whereas they’ve been forced to be on the inside their whole lives.
Okay. So, I know I experience privilege as a white woman.
I desperately want to understand as much as I can and be an ally to people of color. Yet I’ve often been left wondering, how? And often people of color respond with, it’s not my job to teach you.
Fair enough. And. How do I learn?
This has left me to listen, a lot, to things around me, to podcasts, to books. I read a lot. I ask lots of questions and really listen to the answers. I took a road trip and spent several months of my life exploring different cultures and perspectives around racism, sexism, and politics.
Over time I will share what I learned on my road trip and about my experiences and fun stories. For now though, there is a lot swirling in my head and heart about racism and consent.
I want to share with you a series of articles written by Layla Saad. I truly appreciate that she, a woman of color, took the time to write this series. I can’t actually articulate the gratitude I feel toward her for this.
I challenge all of my white friends to read this. BUT.
Read them when you have time to really read them. Read them with an open mind, with the mindset of being open to understanding the author’s perspective as *her* truth. It may not be your truth, but that doesn’t change how true it is for her. Read them looking to be educated and gain access to a different perspective.
I don’t care who you voted for or how you identify politically. The point of this series is not to change your political leanings or to convince you to believe differently. Rather the series is a beautiful opportunity to gain access to someone else’s worldview.
At the end of Part 2 Layla offers a fantastic list of resources that I am still slowly working my way through.
As a human, I want to know that I’m doing everything I can to be sure that all humans feel respected, loved and safe. I want to live in a world where the diversity of my family is something to celebrate rather than something to hide or be afraid of.
As a white woman, I want to be sure that I use this privilege I haven’t earned to do as much good as possible. Usually through tiny little actions – like sharing this article series with my dominantly white followers in hopes of widening your perspective just a tad more.
I would love to know what you think, we can discuss in the comments here or privately via email.