From Today’s Lesson: Both You and Morgan Freeman are Wrong About Racism:

I believe racism is my problem. My problem. I claim it. It is not my problem because I am guilty. It is my problem because I am responsible. I didn’t create racism. It’s not my fault. But if I do nothing, I become a part of it. And it is not something I want to be a part of. I can make that decision. You can make that decision. We can all make that decision.

I know that it can be hard as a white person to read and talk about racism. It’s hard for everyone to read and talk about racism, because it is an ugly thing. When we confront racism, we commit to staring into the face of something both repellant and familiar. It’s hard for all of us, but what I know most about is what it’s like to be white and I can understand the temptation of defensiveness for us white folks. Of resentment. Of feeling accused. I understand the lure of clinging to all the ways in which you, too, don’t have it so good. I am more than familiar with the temptation to demonstrate your own oppression.

But it’s time to grow up. Children make excuses. Children engage in competitions to one-up each other. You’re not a child anymore. It’s time to do better.

One thought on “Today’s Lesson: Both You and Morgan Freeman are Wrong About Racism

  1. If you saw pictures of Trayvon on the ground and your first reaction wasn’t “That could be my child,” if you weren’t immediately and deeply horrified, you need to ask yourself why. Because there’s something missing in inside.
    We have failed to meet the promise of this country in so many ways. It is painful to me to see how easily we shirk the duty of citizens in a democracy. Americans talk about freedoms but how many understand the intent codified in the Constitution that restrains the majority from oppressing and disenfranchising the minority? We have allowed our racism to steal the vote from people of color. We have denied the poor the promise of America with unsafe neighborhoods and brutal cops and third rate schools. Republican governors have refused to expand medicaid to their poorest (and brownest) citizens.
    There is so much to be done in this country, so much left to be done that there is a job for everyone who is willing to take up the task. Our infrastructure is in collapse, our highways and bridges are crumbling. We have a backlog of schools that need replacing and upgrading. Special interests have driven our young people into exorbitant debt with no exit for struggling students, They have driven down real wages and are trying to roll back human rights hard won by women and minorities.
    It has ever been the case that to conquer people you must first defeat their spirits, you must teach them fear. We are not born distrusting and hating people who are different, we learn it. It is in the interests of people like Murdoch and the Koch brothers and the Bushes that we hate the others-those who are not “real Americans”. It is terrifying and therefore unimaginable, for most white Americans to contemplate the life they would live if they were treated the way minorities are in this country.I know the rage I would feel if I got pulled over for driving because of my skin color. If I was denied the vote because I was too poor to get the identity papers,to have the time and transportation necessary in order to secure documents I would have to produce I’d be thinking about violence. If the cops felt that they could harass me, could cite me over and over for minor infractions and bleed me dry financially, I’d hate and distrust them too.
    I love America. But right now I’m mad at a lot of my fellow Americans. I am a grandmother. I joke that my family is so white we’re transparent. My grandparents were racists as were many members of my family. I grew up hearing Blacks called the N word, Jews were despised and called terrible names. People of southern European extraction weren’t white enough for my grandfather and, well, Africans were “savages”. We can choose to feel fear or we can choose to feel love. We can base our self worth on our actions and beliefs or we can make ourselves feel superior at the expense of others. I have worked hard for decades to put down the burden of racism and fear and the heritage of white privilege. I know it’s a choice that we all must make. The arc of the universe may be long but it does bent to moral righteousness.
    When your descendants ask what you did to bring justice to the table how will you answer.

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