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.