“One is attempting to save an entire country, and that means an entire civilization, and the price for that is high. The price for that is to understand oneself. The price for that, for example, is to recognize that most of us, white and black, have arrived at a point where we do not know what to tell our children. Most of us have arrived at a point where we still believe and insist on and act on the principle, which is no longer valid, that this is such and such an optimum, that our choice is the lesser of two evils, and this is no longer true.”
Why are we so defensive when the topic turns to race? Why do we even look at race from the right or the left? Why do we not acknowledge the environment that we are living in which discriminates against and holds back economically. It is everywhere. We live in an environment where “flesh colored bandaids” are for white people. When I buy shampoo it is in the hair care aisle not the section labeled “ethnic hair care products.”
If we cannot be honest about where we are, we cannot move forward. When we can be truly honest about where we are and how we (you and I) contributed to how we got here (and how we continue to fuel the fire), only then we can listen to those who should be at the table (the ones who have suffered the consequences of our actions) to talk about how we can begin to come up with a solution.
The time has come to recognize the environment. To ask the hard questions. To think think about the part you (and most definitely I) played to get us to this place and to stifle progress.
Whose name could you not remember? Who did you not recognize?
Who did you diminish, fail to make eye contact with or smile towards?
Who did you not give the benefit of the doubt?
Who did you effortlessly plagiarise and replace?
To whom did you retort “All lives matter”?
For whom did you fail to make room? Who did you accuse of taking up too much room?
Who prompted you to clutch your purse and walk a little faster?
Who did you find insufficiently deferential?
Who did you describe as divisive? Who did you think needed to see the bigger picture?
To whom did you counsel civility in the face of injustice?
Who did you ask where they were from, from?
Whose hair did you touch?
Who did you not even see?
Whose lives didn’t matter to you?
Whose lives still do not matter to you?
When we own our part in creating the environment today it can lead to empathy. Owning our part also help us take personal responsibility.
Understanding the role we play can help us acknowledge personal accountability. We can even begin to be compassionate and care.
“And where there is the conviction of a decision there might be the will to act.”
We (you and I) ALL had a part to play in creating the problem and we ALL have a part to play in creating the solution.
-This post was inspired and also quoted from James Baldwin Another County and Stacy-Marie Ishmael