With Black History Month now upon us, it is time to look inwards at ourselves and see how we are advocating for the end of racism or how we are ideally sitting by because that is where the problem with racism lies. Sure deranged white supremacists and neo-nazis are frightening with their tiki torches and costumes, but instead, what is more frightening is the perfectly stable and sane majority who stand quiet and passive or shift the blame off themselves or who fail to see the underlying message. We are what is frightening. So, how do I stop being a racist or, at least, less of one? Read below.
1) Realize that there are many different forms of racism. This article explains some of the ways racism manifests. Chances are that our actions will align with one of the examples. Figure out which one we are.
2) Become aware of the fact that most likely we got where we are not only from hard work but also because someone else wasn't given the opportunity that we were. Don't wallow in guilt. Give back.
3) Not all black people will like us. It's not reverse racism. Get over that. And if we feel as if someone pulls the "race card," let it be. It's on him. Accept the things we cannot change.
4) Do not expect praise from black people because we have now become a social justice warrior.
5) Quit always asking black people to help us understand them. Seek to understand them by educating ourselves.
6) Never begin a phrase with "I'm not trying to sound racist but..." Just don't.
7) Do become just as outraged over the segregation, poorly funded, and dangerously located schools for black CHILDREN in our public school system as we are for Colin Kaepernick taking a knee.
8) Do become just as outraged at the American prison system with minorities as we were when you saw Neo-Nazis and White Supremacists take to Charlottesville.
9) Do not avoid sending your children to a mostly black school because it is bad. Work to make it better. Someone has to go there.
10) Do not be afraid of black children coming into our schools and claim that is because of test scores and drugs. They deserve an equal education. They are CHILDREN!
11) Realize that when you say "nice neighborhood" and "bad neighborhood" you most likely (not always) mean "white neighborhood" and "black neighborhood." Language is powerful.
12) Every time we see or hear a rant about Colin Kaepernick make a donation to his foundation. Make someone else's lack of clarity your charity. We will actually be working together and the CHILDREN win!
13) Do not compare Black Lives Matter and White-Supremacy/Neo-Nazis. One wants to be superior. The other wants to be equal.
14) When you see groups of black people resorting to violence and destruction during protests, know that they are hurting. After you have been physically and metaphorically kicked around for so long, sometimes you just want to smash some things. And while you are at it, acknowledge that violence from alt-left groups stinks. But racism stinks more. Stop debating it. It's irrelevant
15) Be aware that our desire to live near a Trader's Joe and a Vegan Juice Bar might be hurting someone else. #gentrification
16) When we see a person who appears to be homeless out on the streets and it appears to be safe do not avert eye contact but instead look him or her in the eye and acknowledge his or her presence with a smile. Give him or her back some dignity. If he or she asks for money, politely decline or incline. Our choice.
17) Realize that our advocating for choice looks a lot differently for them than it does for us. Work to give them our choices.
18) Realize that our advocating for life looks a lot differently for them than it does for us. Work to give them our lives.
19) Quit saying, "I'm not to blame for the past." We're still benefiting from it.
20) Stop saying, "I'm tired for having to feel guilty because I'm white." That's on you. Build your endurance.
21) Listen when someone wants to change a team name or remove a mascot. Chances are it will have no bearing on our wellbeing.
22) When we see a group of black teenagers listening to loud music and wearing hoodies, do not approach them as if they have already done something wrong.
23) If someone calls us out, swallow it like a champ.
24) Having a black friend, a black spouse, or a black child doesn't let us off the hook.
25) Pray that we have the courage to change the things we can.
ann bauer on May 26, 2020:
We are never too old to learn.