So, for me, I have always been open minded. But with that being said, I have my prejudices like everyone. But anti-black hasn’t been one of them. I grew up in Ga and half of our class was white and half was black in most of our classes. So if someone was racist either against black people or white people, they were pretty much screwed.
I had more black friends than white in high school. My school was kind of like white people were “preps” or rednecks. I was neither. And I was in band and a lot of clarinet players were black and I enjoyed their company. I spent a lot of time with them on bus trips and football games and we became really good friends .
In the 80s in the south, people thought it odd, so they made up rumors about me. Some saying I was sleeping with black guys or I was “trying to be black”. It was all so silly and just plain ignorant. I had white friends too. I was just me and didn’t base friendship on skin color nor did I feel the need to explain myself.
I also had a gay best friend, but that is another story. Needless to say, I was a bit of a rebel. But I liked who I liked and was just being authentically me. I was completely happy and felt so beyond the stupidity and lack of vision many of my high school peers of both races had.
So caring about lives of black people is not new to me. I don’t need an organization that I am not sure about tell me to do the right thing. I still have some of the same friends from high school and have kept in touch through social media. My friend circle today is about equally black and white and includes people from different countries. All people are flawed, and all people at the end of the day are people at least in my view.
I also have a bi-racial kid, so there’s that. The best and most important man in my life is black. I am no phony social justice warrior nor do I try to act differently than the white blonde female that I am. I treat people as people and get annoyed with anyone of any hue who are rude or act like jerks. I treat my friends of color normally but allow them to be who they are and not get butt hurt if they are pro-black in their speech or lifestyles. I don’t blame them. I would do the same.
I think the reason that so many white people are seen as posers or inauthentic is because they talk the talk but have not one person in their social circle that is non-white. And it isn’t a political party thing. My cousin is very conservative and adopted a black teen son and my best friend from high school adopted a black son as well and she is a southern Baptist. They are walking the walk and not pretending.
It is easy for folks to post all of these things on social media and act as if they care because it is popular. It should not be an obligation thing. It should be something that comes from the heart. My kid went to a protest and I felt cheesy doing so. So I did what felt comfortable for me. I posted black authors to support and black owned businesses to go to in D.C., etc.
As a white person, one feels kind of stuck as to what to do. It is not like poor little white person, but if not doing enough there is guilt and doing too much feels phony. My advice is to do what your intuition leads you to. Things that truly help bridge the racism gap. This goes for anyone who seeks to understand other races and learn more about other cultures.
1. Speak truthfully about race to peers in a non-judgmental manner. We can gain so much from honest dialogue.
2. Spend dollars on programs that benefit black people directly. Do your research.
3. Expand your friends (organically). Join a club in what interests you. Meet friends outside of your race (no matter your race), it is rewarding and valuable.
4. Do your part to make the world better regarding equality. Whether you write a poem, sign a petition or say prayers, do something.
We are so far from being okay in this country as evidenced by recent events. But staying silent or doing nothing and pretending that the issues don’t exist is harmful. We need to stand up anytime another human is wronged. Just like we stand up for abused animals and give to save the whales, we need to stop being desensitized to struggles of people of color constantly face no matter their socioeconomic status.
Time to make a change and that starts today and within ourselves. Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” comes to mind…