to my white friends

To my white friends: please listen closely to your inner voices. Please notice if you — even for a millisecond — have a flash of a thought of “they must’ve done something wrong/illegal” when you hear about the number of times people of color are hassled by the police.

Even the most open-hearted and progressive among us are influenced by the systems we live in.

You know the justice system is not just, but please notice if you have the little whisper of “they must’ve done wrong.”

I found that once I started noticing those nearly-imperceptible thoughts — for me, police = protection against criminals, so, therefore, police stopping someone must mean they are a criminal — I was able to learn more about myself. I began the process of ridding myself from the emotional obstacles that had been preventing me from actually participating in social change.

Despite decades of work on my own part in racism, I still have those thoughts! I saw that Philando Castile had been pulled over 49 times in 13 years and I thought, “wow, maybe he was a criminal?” The thought lasted fractions of a second, but I noticed it. I caught myself. I corrected the thought. I was reminded of how insidious racism is and it reminded me to refocus.

I’m not done being racist, and no matter how much inner or outer work I do, I probably won’t shed all of it. But I started getting better when I started getting really, really honest.

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2 Comments

Filed under activism, my life story, racism

2 responses to “to my white friends

  1. Jerome Richardson

    Another great, insightful post; please keep them coming.

    Like

  2. There is a bias in the media where criminality of blacks is more often portrayed than the same offenses for whites. Seeing more blacks arrested or sought for crimes strengthens out-group biases that blacks commit most crimes.

    It also works in reverse. Whenever there are people open carrying, I get nervous because I know that if they are going to start shooting, then I am the mostly likely threat. This out-group bias makes me look three inches taller and fifty pounds heavier and so much more dangerous.

    Like

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