Most white people don’t even realize that they’re biased and or inherently racist. You see racism isn’t only about victimizing people because of the color of their skin. Racism isn’t only about not calling black people nigger. Racism isn’t only about discriminating against someone because of the color of their skin. Most people don’t do this. But they do turn a blind eye.
For my white readers today, I have ten questions for you:
- How many true black friends do you have?
- How many black friends do your children have?
- Has a black person ever entered your home?
- If you’ve ever been tasked with hiring a black person did you seek qualifications outside of the listed recommendations that you didn’t apply to white applicants? Ie (education, experience, location)
- When at work, do you go out of your way to have a real conversation with your black coworkers?
- When you see a group of black teenagers hanging out, do you cross the street, clutch your bag or get nervous?
- While watching the news what thoughts are running through your head as it pertains to the black protesters?
- Was the death of George Floyd shocking to you and if so why?
- What did you think of the death of Tamir Rice?
- What do you think about the racial makeup currently existing in your neighborhood and schools?
My point is that in order to change how you view others it takes you stepping outside of yourself and trying to get to truly know black people. I once had a coworker tell me she had lots of black friends. Those friends were me and another coworker. I had never been to this woman’s home. I had never met anyone in her family. I had never gone out to eat with her and I never had a conversation with her. I only knew her as someone I shuffled paperwork to. But ok, we friends…. You can’t say you understand when you never try to get to know people who don’t look like you.
The number of examples, and scenarios that I can lay out to explain how easy it is to be racially biased and to be a contributing factor to racism is insurmountable. To truly want to be different takes effort. Watching the news, posting an MLK quote, saying “it’s sad” or just being silent isn’t putting in the work. The next time you decide to have people over at your house for a pool party or a barbecue ask yourself why am I inviting these particular friends or coworkers and not those? The next time your kids have a playdate, ask yourself am I doing enough to diversify their friend group? The next time you go out for a drink with the girls ask yourself why them? The next time you call me your friend, ask yourself what makes us friends?