I recently bought Ibrahim X. Kendi’s book How to Be an Antiracist.
I haven’t read very far. And yet, only a few pages in, I’m so grateful to have–thanks to Kendi–added the word “antiracist” to my vocabulary.
For years, I fumbled for words to explain to some white friends that their being quietly “color-blind” wasn’t really a kindness to people of color. The closest I could come, over and over again, was saying variations of, “You can’t be neutral on a moving train. Being quietly ‘color-blind’ doesn’t stop that hurtful train from rolling right over people.”
So many conversations. So many hours. So many words.
Finding the word “antiracist” brought me a sigh of relief: Silence is a vote for racism, while speaking up, with a passion for justice for all, is its opposite, antiracism.
Having the word “antiracist” helped me troubleshoot a related flaw in my own thinking elsewhere recently.
I got to thinking about how it’s obviously obvious to anyone who meets me for even three seconds that I wholeheartedly support equal rights for LGBTQI people–doesn’t almost everyone by now?!–when I caught myself mid-thought, flashed to Kendi, and went, Continue reading “with passion for liberation”→
My ten-year-old, Li’l D, and I have many times discussed the difference between “knowing” and “knowing-about.”
As human beings, it can be far too easy to confuse knowing-about with deep knowing, as I first demonstrated to Li’l D—years ago!—with elephants.
While I can’t recall how that conversation started, it began with Li’l D being confident in his elephant expertise. He remained confident until I started asking him nuanced questions about elephants: Continue reading “keep on asking!”→
In 2009, I was shocked to discover racism was still a “thing” in the United States. Yes, even in Los Angeles.
By 2013, I was no longer confused about the existence of racism here and now. Even so, it would be another couple years before I began really grasping how absolutely lethal is this racism in its many systemic forms.
Which is to say: In 2013, I hadn’t yet lost my sense of humor. I hadn’t yet begun to despair at my utter inability to help restructure systems to be less lethal. I could write a post like this one.
And the point here is: We all can learn, when we choose to listen. 🙂
Race & the willingness to see, or: “Don’t be Bob”
Originally posted on TMiYC
July 19, 2013
“Racism is dead, folks. Move on!”
“Why are we still talking about race? I’ve never once seen an act of racism. It’s only people in backwater Arkansas who still think like that.”
“I don’t see color, and neither does anyone else these days. I don’t see why some people still want to live in the 1950s when racism was actually a problem.”
I’ve seen dozens of variations on these words in the past few days. I’d look for direct quotes, but honestly, I’d get so grumpy scanning through comments for the verbatim gems I’d end up devouring a gallon of Ben & Jerry’s instead of writing this blog. (And I don’t even eat dairy! Or added sugar!)
Aren’t I pasty white person? Yes, indeedy! But as the pasty white mama of a lovely mocha-colored cub, I’ve been inspired to research race and racism in a way I wasn’t before, back when I thought it didn’t exist save in backwater Arkansas.
Some months ago, I sent an email it was very, very hard to send.
Today, I am glad I sent it.
In a large-team meeting, a new leader moved their PowerPoint deck one slide forward. When I saw the content of that new slide, I froze. That’s to say, between fight, flight, and freeze, my body chose “freeze.” Continue reading “The Beginning!”→
Yesterday afternoon, I stood near my dining room table and proclaimed, “I can’t find my Tumblr!”
“You have a Tumblr?!” my husband replied. “I didn’t know that.”
“Not really. I posted, like, one original post there a few years back. I’m trying to find that post.”
Soon afterward, I found that Tumblr, and I found that January 2018 post. “That post” was the last one I shared on Tumblr.
I read it and let its core sink, again, into my bones. And I wondered:
How had I forgotten what had once lived so deeply in my bones?
Looking at my Twitter profile yesterday, I saw too. many. images of police brutality not hidden under sensitive-content warnings.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad these images are being captured. I’m glad this history is being documented and made accessible. I’m especially glad attorney T. Greg Doucette is aggregating these incidents into one Twitter thread; in one single week of protests against racism and police brutality, his documented incident ticker is up to 334. Continue reading “TO LIFE”→