This is a post that is coming from the depths of my heart. I’m trying to not overthink things. I’ve sat pondering what to say, with fear of saying the wrong thing, or making an offensive mistake. But, yet, I don’t want to be silent either.
The sympathetic, empathetic part of my heart, the part that always wants to be inclusive of everyone led me down the wrong path for more years than I like to admit. Years ago, when I first heard of Black Lives Matter, I wondered why they didn’t want to be inclusive. Like, don’t all lives matter? That was my thought process. I didn’t want to exclude anyone and make them feel left out. But in the process of trying to be “kind to everyone” I didn’t realize the deep pain, the suffering, the injustice, the horrific crimes being done against black people. I didn’t understand it. And I’m ashamed to say, I didn’t try to find out more. I didn’t want black people killed on the street just because they were wearing a hoodie, or because they were in the “wrong” neighborhood at the wrong time. I never wished death on them, but my inaction, my lack of understanding led me to being unintentionally racist.
Another thing I used to say was, “I don’t see color. God created us all the same. We all bleed red.” But with that sentence, I was discounting and dismissing the pain and struggle that black people experience every day. I wasn’t seeing their color, so I wasn’t seeing their struggle. God began to work on my heart and reminded me He created color and wanted diversity and how beautiful it is. He wants me to see color and love it in all its glory and beauty. He wants me to see my black brothers and sisters, recognize their pain and struggle and fight for justice.
I can’t apologize enough for being that way. My heart is utterly broken for my inaction and my lack of recognizing my white privilege. It wasn’t until George Floyd died that I suddenly made the connection in my brain that the reason I never did further research and learned from black people, and listened to their stories, is because my white privilege allowed me to do so. From the bottom of my heart, I am so, so sorry.
Because I have realized my wrongs, I am changing how I think, how I act and what I do. Here are some things I am doing personally to change my actions to create space for their voices, for their stories and for revolution to come.
- I realized my Instagram was full of people who look like me. I didn’t do it on purpose, but I realized wasn’t doing enough to follow people who could share their stories, give wisdom and insight on how best to help, and so on. So I am actively searching out people that do those things. My Instagram will no longer be full of white privilege. I will aline myself with people who are beautifully different than me, so I can learn from them and listen to them.
- I am actively reading/ordering books that have been suggested by reputable sources. I am ordering books to read to my children too. I am actively searching for books that are diverse for my children to read. One of the websites that has a pretty comprehensive list of those many have suggested is listed here. https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/life/entertainment/g32745719/best-books-about-anti-racism/
- I am talking to my children about what is going on in the world. I am teaching them black history and asking them how they think they can change the course of history, and helping them understand ways that will help. I am teaching them to see color, to fight for justice, and to love everyone. I found a link to an article that has several of the books that have been suggested by prominent Black Lives Matter leaders. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/02/parenting/kids-books-racism-protest.html
This is by no means a comprehensive list on things I am doing, or going to do. I am learning. I am listening. I am leaning in to do better. I am speaking up. I am using whatever I have, even if it’s small, even if I say something wrong, to learn, ask forgiveness, and to get up and fight for equality and justice.
Because, BLACK LIVES MATTER.