I read something from someone today that said "Racism was in the '60s. What we see today isn't racism but people who don't know how to act in the world." I wanted to cry, I want to scream at them. Then something inside me makes me just go quiet. Tell me, Dear World, is there any way, at all, to talk to people who think that? Or should I just give up?
Heartbroken, Angry, Should I Just Stay Silent
Dear Dear Dear One:
I could begin with asking you how old you are, but that doesn't matter. You feel frustration, and frustration can be felt in someone as young as a few hours old or as old as 112. How do we get others to look at themselves? Your manner of interaction is all up to you. And no one would blame you if you did scream until you went hoarse. To feel what you feel is called being just. It's seeing inequality and ugly disparity and not being able to simply turn away. Being this way, to the degree that makes you question action, isn't easy. You know what's easy?
Not looking at truth, denying statistics, that's easy to do.
What's hard is asking ourselves the honest state of our reaction to people of color. This is painstaking work. It is impossible to not know things about yourself, your secrets, like distrust of a race, thoughts about people with skin that is black, brown, or your way of stiffening around those who are different from you. Believe me, we are no strangers to ourselves.
To wonder whether or not it matters that you say something, that considering staying silent while we live among others who are not treated equally, well... how would you answer that?
I can't think of anything more important to societal change than honest examination of self.
What is born from there could be action. Louder, and braver, an evolution into taking part and standing against human inequality. This takes voice, in the form of our hands, our conscience, our time, our marching feet, our typing fingers, our standing firm in the belief that our country needs to be for all the people - with opportunity and equal justice. Even if it isn't that right now.
There is work to do from everyone. The natural draw to become defensive, and then hopeless, is a ceaseless danger. You wonder if you should just give up with someone who says that if everyone acted the way they're *supposed* to, they'd have no trouble in this world. To that, I say invite them to learn more. But you'll miss that chance, if you decide to never break your silence.
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Is Racism Real?