“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.“ -Desmond Tutu ⠀
I’ve been using my instagram stories to post and share about this, but I also want to leave this here on my blog. Yes I will often say the wrong thing, but then I will listen and I will learn. Usually I choose to repost the words of Black people I respect doing the work, but today I will share some of my own. It is important not to center whiteness, but it is also important not to stay silent. ⠀
I’ve been posting mostly to my stories about the murders and systematic racism that continues to happen in the US. But I’ve also been taking what action I can for most of my life to use my privilege to help dismantle the systems of racism I see in my world and the world at large. None of this is new and none of this is shocking. If you are shocked dig in and do some research. Please don’t ask you black friends (or Black educators on Instagram) what you should do right now. Please only ask them if they are ok, listen to them. Please don’t talk about why the protests and property destruction are wrong, don’t say that violence isn’t the answer. I’ve been going to protests since I was in high school and guess what sometimes there is violence. The violence that our country has committed on Black bodies is what caused this. Get angry about that. Be angry that the fear you have in talking about racism and injustice is nothing compared to the fear and pain that your Black brothers and sisters have every day. They have a very real fear just in walking out the door every day to live their lives. Be angry that they don’t get to live with ease and joy every day. Be angry that they can’t just look away. ⠀
Then use that anger and sadness because they are so intertwined and take steps to change this world. That might look like donating to bail funds, lawyer fees, and non profits fighting for Black lives. That might also look like showing up at a protest and using your whiteness as a shield. Maybe it's having conversations with your white family about what white supremacy and white privilege look like in our lives.
There are loads of resource lists and articles out there so dig in to a few. Here are a few books that have helped me understand my privilege and part in these systems.
So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
Me and White Supremacy by Layla F Saad
The Sun Does Shine by Anthony Ray Hinton
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehesi Coates
Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
Chokehold by Paul Butler
Skill in Action by Michelle Johnson
How to be an Antiracist by Ibram X Kendi
My Grandmother's Hands by Resmaa Menakem
Justin Michael Williams