Credit for art above is Danielle Coke, @ohhappydani on Instagram.
Housekeeping note: I originally posted this message above my weekly distractions, but it didn’t feel right, so I’ve separated them into two posts.
Hey y’all—if you’ve been reading here for a while, you know that I started my Monday distractions series as a way to share the things I was loving and doing during quarantine; but we should not be distracted from the very important conversations we’ve all been having about race in this country over the weekend and into this week.
I outraged over the murder of George Flyod and am heartbroken for his and the countless other families mourning irreplaceable losses; being Black in America should not be a death sentence. I’ve had some tough conversations, with myself and those around me, about my white privilege—especially after watching this video that shows Black parents teaching their children how to deal with the police, a conversation I never once had with my parents growing up. There is so much more I can be doing to be a better ally to people of color, and working to dismantle and root out racism.
I do not have all the answers, and I’m afraid of saying the wrong things. But I’d rather say something and have the opportunity to learn than not say anything at all. I wanted to share this excerpt from A Cup of Jo on becoming anti-racist—you can read her full post here.
In the words of Angela Davis, “it is not enough to be not racist, you must actively be anti-racist.” We have to actively recognize our privilege and confront racism, as well as learning and listening as much as we can. It’s not enough to just be neutral and live your life; we have to actually do the work.
One of the first steps is to realize that even people with the best intentions can be racist in some ways. We all have unconscious biases — views we’ve absorbed from society and may not even realize we hold — and we need to recognize these before we can do the work of dismantling them. “It’s not: either you’re racist or you’re not. It’s to what degree are you prejudiced, against whom, and why?” says Padma Lakshmi. “To be socially conscious, we must unlearn toxic attitudes and behavior that have been passed down to us over generations in our communities or even in our families. We all need to question our biases, educate ourselves and commit to bettering ourselves.”
“The beauty of anti-racism is that you don’t have to pretend to be free of racism to be an antiracist,” says writer Ijeoma Oluo. “Anti-racism is the commitment to fight racism wherever you find it, including in yourself. And it’s the only way forward.”
In addition to working to better educate myself, I also want to take action.
If you’re in DC, here is a list of Black-owned restaurants open in DC and Maryland open during the COVID-19 pandemic. And regardless of where you live, here’s a list of Black-owned businesses you can shop online.
And, of course, a lot of the ways I plan to take action are offline: talking to my friends and family about these issues, calling out racism when I see it, and working to educate myself by listening to Black voices.
Black lives matter.