In light of recent events in our country that have exposed an undeniable pattern of systemic racism and legally enforced oppression, I find it necessary to address that here. I made a video (above) imploring friends and family to empower their children to help them find ways to help become a part of this movement. It's important to recognize that what we're experiencing now is due to a history of "white rage"; systemic racism is but a symptom. All of this is part of a larger tradition of injustice that has yet to be authentically addressed. Historian and African Studies Professor Carol Anderson explains this concept eloquently when she says:
"White rage is not violent. We often think of rage as this visible thing, but white rage is...subtle. It is corrosive. It operates through the state legislatures, through congress, through the judiciary, through school boards. It cloaks itself in legalities. Because it’s so quiet, so subtle, I set out to blow graphite onto that fingerprint to be able to trace white rage throughout time. It became clear to me as I was trying to see how white rage works, that black people are not the trigger for white rage. No. It is the presence of black people with ambition, the presence of black people with drive, the presence of black people with aspirations, the presence of black people who achieve, the presence of black people who refuse to accept their subjugation, the presence of black people who DEMAND their rights. That’s the trigger for white rage and this society has therefore punished black resilience and black resolve."
That being said I'm left to think about how to rid our country of the prejudice and "-isms" that have created the dry rot of systemic oppression, weakening our country's foundation. In my reflections, I'm reminded of what award winning actress and social activist Anne Hathaway once said at the Human Rights Campaign's 22nd annual National Dinner when she was honored with the National Equality Award for her work in advocacy and awareness:
"I realized that with the exception of being a cisgender male, everything about how I was born put me at the current center of a very damaging and widely accepted myth. That myth is that gayness orbits around straightness; transgender orbits around cisgender; and that all races orbit around whiteness. This myth is WRONG, but it's too real for too many. [...] Authentic equality doesn’t prioritize sexual orientation. It doesn’t put any one gender or race at the center. It doesn’t erase our identities, either. What is DOES do is centralize LOVE. And when love is fully centralized, every door opens for EVERYbody. I know that there are very real obstacles block the door to equality, and I know that removing them is easier said than done. But I also know that myths are destroyed by the same thing that creates them: A COMMUNITY."
This is a time of high emotions, introspection, courageous conversations, rebuilding trust, and ultimately reconciling to help one another find peace and healing. I believe that we need to address racism on all levels, starting with us as individuals and then working as a community to change the narrative and destory the very damaging myth that a group of people always has to be "less than" in order for others to feel worthy. We have to do the work to erradicate or at the very least CHECK our privilege (for those possessing it) as well as our implicit and explicit biases. Now's the time. I hope that our legislators will work together to effectively address the national crisis of black lives at high risk across the country and that we as citizens do everything WE can to hold them accountable in the right direction.