“It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.” James Baldwin
My oldest granddaughter posted on Marco Polo. She expressed gratitude that as a family we recognize the most recent travesty in the United States – at least the most publicized one.
The murder of George Floyd has been in the forefront of family conversation. Yesterday I received a soulful text from another granddaughter who is taking part in the peaceful protests in Denver. A grandson in NELA sent photos of his march. From Vermont to Oregon to Southern California to the Bay Area to Colorado and everywhere in between we are trying to determine what is the best way to express outrage while being respectful of the grief and loss in a huge segment of our population. Is it our job to speak out? Is it being visible? Is it sending money?
All of the above.
And also allowing the voices of our black communities to be heard. They know what is at stake. They live with it from birth.
I realize the difference. I understand that all I have face is fear of leaving the house without an mask. The white members of our family assume our ability to protect ourselves and be protected as the norm. Fair treatment is an expectation. This is not the case for many people of color. Just going outside on any day can be an inherent danger to black people across the country. The frustration and demoralization of unfair treatment has continued for generations. Nothing is guaranteed to protect. The threat is just for being who they are.
So what is our job as a family? There are many paths to fighting institutional racism in our country and the world. I don’t know or understand all of them. I believe we must continue to educate ourselves. We must examine ourselves over and over and understand White Fragility as described by Robin Diangelo.
On advice from you, my daughters, I am following some young black women who are activists on social media. I know a lot of you family members are doing the same. I appreciate hearing from them and admire their courage. I don’t want follow a lot of comments but I would imagine they get a lot of flak.
These women can teach us what not to say, too. KATYKATIKATE has help for us here on her blog.
My dear family, I know this is a hodgepodge of thoughts and information. And I know I am preaching to the choir. But, I also know how ingrained institutional racism is in our country.
It was hard for me to decide how to declare myself to my group of friends. Should I offer a statement of position? Should I challenge things as they come up? Probably both. (And ask for the same challenge in return.) I may lose friends because I am not practiced in saying it right. I will continue to work on my delivery and will beg forgiveness for insensitivity from all of you and all of them.
I believe the change begins in us as individuals. And I believe George’s Floyd’s murder Is a pivotal event in the history of racism.
We stand together and (those who can) march to the future.