If you don’t believe that a racial bias still exists in America today, you’re choosing to live in denial of the harsh realities your fellow Americans face day in and day out.
I cannot speak to the experiences of African-Americans, or Latinos, or really any other race than my own. Personally, I’ve never been discriminated against because of my race, but I can say that I have heard racism and I have witnessed racism. I can say that I have been judged based on my gender and if that feeling is even a sliver of what many minorities feel on a day to day basis – my heart breaks.
I’m often at a loss for how to help, but the one thing I know I can do is lend my voice. Even if my audience is just a few friends. Even if I’m not talking about it in the most eloquent way – maybe I’m missing the mark – but I will not choose to be silent. I will not be a bystander when so many others are suffering at the will of those – uneducated, ill-informed, and/or ignorant – who should not be representative of what America is today. Because we are so much more.
WHY SHOULD THIS MATTER TO WHITE PEOPLE?
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
Need I say more, really? Hopefully, you’re not racist. Hopefully, you want to help eradicate racism because it’s unfair, outdated, and ignorant. Because it creates systematic inequalities that put minorities at a disadvantage from the start. Because we’re all humans with real feelings, thoughts, and personalities. Because you don’t want to explain to your children why some people are treated differently based on how they look. Because we are all equals and should be treated as such.
But if you haven’t even made it that far – do it for your own rights. We’re walking on a slippery slope when we passively let the rights of others be trampled upon right in front of us. Who’s to say what’s next? What’s the next prejudice that will serve as an excuse for discrimination? Your religion? Your ethnicity? Your culture?
I’m not sure what the solution is, but I think it starts with a conversation. I think it starts with giving equality a voice. All of my friends are officially on notice. One day soon I’m going to make you talk about racism. Maybe I’ll make you uncomfortable. Maybe we’ll disagree. But we will talk and we will think. Ignoring the issue – being silent on this issue – whether it personally affects you or not – gives racism power. Ignorance is a choice. But we also have a choice to be part of the solution and that’s what I choose.
I’m still learning and I’d love to hear your thoughts or suggestions. I’d love to have a respectful dialogue. I’d love to know how I can help.