On race

I’m feeling some kind of way about all of the news about dead black people and murderers going unpunished. I can’t quite describe it. Anger, disappointment, fear, despair. They’re all rolled up together right now. My heart aches for the tragic loss of yet another young black man who was taken in a manner that further shakes confidence in an already severely broken system of justice. The media is doing everyone involved a disservice in how they’re portraying what’s happening in Ferguson, NYC, Cleveland, Arizona, etc. But television is about entertainment, not education.
I cringe, knowing that the randomness of being born with white skin is an unfair privilege that protects you and your family and families like yours from ever having to fear a similar fate in a country that is supposed to protect us all equally. On days like this, I’m so glad Parker was born a girl because the lives of black boys and men seem to have no value at all.

I don’t agree with the looting and violence in response to the grand jury’s decision but I completely understand where it comes from. More than 200 years of oppression fuel their feelings of rage and despair. The idea that, no matter how much progress is made or how hard one works to get ahead in this life, we’ll never be seen as equal and worthy of justice. Black people are dead and the people who killed them aren’t even going to stand trial, much less see any kind of punishment. This scenario – killing without consequence – happens too often to simply be “justice at work."

The path to fixing this will require all of us to confront our true selves and our real beliefs about race and culture, class, and economic disparity. In my experience, white people don’t want to have those REAL, honest conversations because of anger, guilt, ignorance, intolerance for change, etc. And so long as that persists, our humanity will never find a way forward.

Colorblindness is actually detrimental and damaging to society as it disregards and ignores the history of racially biased initiatives, legal ramifications, systematic oppression, etc. It essentially perceives race as irrelevant when, unfortunately, race (although a social construct) is a reality countless people have to face. Biologically, humans, are hard-wired to notice differences between their peers (though they do not necessarily identify this is "race”). Colorblindness only benefits a society in which race is not tied to class, education, and resources. Unfortunately, America is not one of those societies.

An interesting piece from the BBC includes this truth:

The audacity of whiteness and anti-black racism is condemning black bodies for their own deaths, while seeking understanding for white criminals. No matter the situation or circumstance, throughout US history the devaluing of black life can be seen in the failure to prosecute police officers, lynch mobs, freelance vigilantes, and others empowered to protect white supremacy because the deaths of their black victims were seen as self-inflicted.
How can we teach Parker what any of this means without instilling fear and anger within her? How can we raise an ethnically ambiguous citizen of the word in a community that will want to put her in one box or another?

I’m married to white man, have a bi-racial baby and live in relative comfort in a very white city that has its own racist history. I am not typically the “angry black woman” but I’m definitely getting there.


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