I’ve written this blog for five years. You’re reading the 82nd entry. Some have garnered a great deal of interest. Others, not so much.
“Why would anyone care what I’m experiencing or what I think? Is anyone reading this stuff?” I’ve often wondered.
And, on particularly hard days, I think, “Is focusing so much on racism making me feel sad and angry?” Life can be swayed by too many negative emotions.
In those moments, I decide it’s time to quit.
“Five years is a good endpoint,” I tell myself, firmly decided.
Then I pause and reflect. The news, not historical documentaries, the daily evening news, along with 24,7 streamed headlines, thrusts me back into current reality. That’s when I know. I must keep at it.
Racial bullying continues. Governors and school superintendents don’t want the complete history of our country taught. Inaccuracy is preferred, at least, preferred by some. And, structures are still in place providing preferential treatment to white people. There’s a lot of misinformation and ignorance about race, racism, and what it means to be Black in America.
It was 2017 when I started writing this monthly blog. At first, it was connected to my book by the same name. All the early posts related to the decades-long, racially underpinned experiences I’d had along with my female friends, the “daughters” of the dream. I was simply sharing glimpses of our racial reality.
Over time, the posts have evolved. While my friends are featured periodically and sometimes, I focus on our youthful experiences in Richmond, Virginia, it is more about my reflections as an adult, as a Black woman in America.
Based on interactions with white friends, acquaintances, and colleagues, I know, for example, many think my experience is the same as theirs. This seems to be particularly true if they think we share a similar educational background, financial means, and professional status or because we’re both women. I can understand why they might think that, but it’s not true. None of those factors makes a difference.
No one knows, or perhaps cares (or should care), about my education, finances, or profession when they see me on the street or in a store. What they absolutely know for sure is that I’m Black. From that one piece of information, certain assumptions are made, assumptions that are often founded in untruths.
There continues to be an invisibility to racism, a lack of understanding of the depth, breadth and impact of structural racism and implicit bias and, basically, a lack of understanding of what it means to be Black in America. This is what keeps me writing. Maybe one person will have an aha moment that leads them to open the mind of someone else and then someone else.
While I know that some choose to be uninformed or to believe in a skewed, untrue sense of America’s racial reality, I believe that others haven’t been exposed and that if educated, they would be on the side of justice, racial justice. I hope to be a part of that education.
So, here’s my goal. I want to help non-Black people see the America that I experience every day. I want to prompt reflections on what may be a new insight, to promote reading and learning about race and racism, and to urge more people to be a part of the push for racial justice. I’m not Pollyanna. I don’t think of myself as naive. This process won’t be easy and it certainly hasn’t been quick, but I choose to be hopeful. I believe that information matters, that knowledge can lead to individual behavior change and, ultimately to societal transformation. I’m just one, small part of that ongoing, necessary swirl of information about race and racial justice.
If you think it’s worth a 4-minute read once a month (or so), become a follower (maybe even read some of the earlier posts), pass it on to a friend, a family member, or a co-worker and encourage them to learn more. We all have so much to learn — and to unlearn — as we work in 2023 — and beyond — for a racially just America.
Happy New Year.
27 Replies to “A Milestone: Time to Reflect”
Absolutely continue! I’m 71 and still educating on a daily basis. Holding on to firmly entrenched tribal views, present difficult but not impossible challenges. We have many examples in history where perseverance pays off. Happy New Year Tamara!
Don’t stop keeping us informed. I look forward to your letter.
I’m very glad you have decided to continue writing your blog, Tamara, for all the reasons you stated. Happy New Year and here’s to a better and more just 2023!
Your posts are thought provoking as well informative through a lens which many times presses a pause button.
Excellent piece, Tamara. The line “What they absolutely know for sure is that I’m Black.” stopped me in my tracks. You captured it so succinctly! I’m certainly glad you are continuing to write. The work is far from done, and some of us need a guide to help us continue it.
Thanks, Denise. Please pass it on to someone else who you think might benefit from the message.
A blog is like a sermon, once you put your thoughts to paper it becomes an inspiration and like a sermon, it is meant for someone specific and all of us in general. your writing is blessing people that you are unaware of, keep writing.
Thanks Tamara, as always so well said–you have such a knack for zeroing in on the key heart of the matter. Happy New Year my friend!
Please don’t give up on those of us who may never fully understand all the nuances of structural racism and implicit bias or what it means to be Black in America. We can start by simply acknowledging that these inequities continue to exist and vow to share truth and factual information about race and racial justice among our families and acquaintances. Please keep sharing your insights.
I’m not giving up, Dede. I was just wondering if my posts were being read or were making a difference. I will keep writing because the need for education continues to exist and I believe that education leads to knowledge, to understanding and ultimately to change. I hope you will share the blog with someone who is on that learning journey.
You reference unconscious bias in this writing sometimes I’m not so sure unconscious
Yes, please continue your writings, Tamara. I will never truly know what it means to be Black in the U.S. but your words remind me always that we have so much “work” to do for justice & equality. When I was in the 7th grade, we moved from Ohio to South Carolina – during the time of “colored” bathrooms & water fountains. I don’t remember exactly how the conversation began, but at lunch one day I shared that one of the most popular girls in my Newark, Ohio school was black….the reaction of every single girl at the lunch table was angry, horrified & shocking. I’ve never forgotten that experience….
Happy New Year, Tamara. Keep ’em coming.
Keep going, Tamara! I look forward to your blog every month. I didn’t read this latest post until today, because my email was spotty on my ride on Amtrak. At one point on that long ride back home, my travel companion had gotten up to check on something. This was when we picked up many new people at the current station stop. A young Black man saw the empty seat next to me and asked if he could sit there. I was sorry to tell him that the seat was already taken, but I also felt a lightening of my spirit that he had asked to sit next to me. (There were several seats available with other passengers.) I guess I looked like a friendly soul to him. Who knows if we would have struck up a conversation that would have led to some better understandings of each other? I am sorry that I didn’t have that opportunity. I will, however, follow your advice to create opportunities where I can for discussions about racial disparity in our country and the need to end this.
Joyce, thanks for sharing that encounter. What do you think made you even notice?
Don’t stop, Tamara! I always read your blogs even though I don’t often respond or comment. I always reflect on what you’ve written and learn. If you’ve written about something I may have learned before, I appreciate being reminded so I don’t become complacent in trying to put your suggestions into action. Please continue
I’d like to add:
Yes to…” I believe that information matters, that knowledge can lead to individual behavior change and, ultimately to societal transformation. ”
Yet we know all too well that are those whose comfort level requires denial of information and knowledge.
Nothing good comes from ignorance.
Breaking down That door is work, frustrating, focused, work…on-going
Tamara, I, for one, love these posts. Keep writing, I feel that they do bring awareness to those who never think of racism in that way. I consider them a eye opener.
I’m glad you keep writing. I learn something new from each of your blogs. All one has to do is read the speech that ron desantis made at his inauguration this week to understand why we need to keep learning. As he has risen in the ranks of Republicans who may possibly enter the presidential race, it is essential that we aren’t lulled into complacency because he seems more “normal” than the other Floridian.
“We reject this woke ideology,” De-Santis said. “We seek normalcy, not philosophical lunacy. We will not allow reality, facts and truth to become optional. We will never surrender to the woke mob.”
He uses “woke” as if it’s a negative thing. And he also goes after Disney World, Dr. Fauci, vaccines etc.
Tamara, these posts have been very educational and thought-provoking for me. Although I don’t always comment, I think about them and try to absorb them and incorporate them into my life in a meaningful way. I’m grateful for them.
So glad you’re continuing, Tamara. Your voice is important.
good for you and us Tamara . we all need to expand our thoughts and visions about a truly open and equal society and our role in achieving same. your book and subsequent posts are born of reality and that we arent even close to Dr King’s Dream and what should be a real equal 21st century society. dont throw in the towel.
Wow! This was a powerful message that really resonates with me. Please keep sharing your thoughts and perspective. It definitely shapes my perspective and hopefully has an impact on how I read and view the events around me.
Keep up the “fight” and keep educating the rest of us as to your experience and perspective. Live your truth and tell the story .
Rest assured Tamara, your blogs often cause me to think and ponder. I worry about the violence in our country, but your post concerning the daily, deep heart pain that Black women feel hit home for me.
Thanks, Connie. I hope the blogs prompt reflection and action. Even when we don’t know what to do, just sharing that sentiment with a friend or a family member is an action. Maybe they hadn’t given the situation any thought. Now you’ve prompted them to think about it.
I think your articles are very enlightening