I have been struggling to come up with a topic for this week’s email. Given the fact that protests are happening in cities around the country in response to the brutal police killing of George Floyd on the backdrop of over 100,000 deaths from the coronavirus, writing a post about decluttering tips right now seems both unnecessary and insensitive. There are simply more important issues at hand at this moment in time.
Racial inequality is an uncomfortable topic for us to talk about. And by us, I mean myself and my white friends reading this email. (If you are a person of color (POC) you're welcome to skip the rest of this email. I’m thinking of you and hoping you find some moments of peace. I want you to know that I am here to listen and be educated if you want to respond, but I am also here to educate myself and do the work.)
As a white woman who has lived a life of privilege, I feel that I am unqualified to speak up about this because I might say the wrong thing. As a business owner I typically avoid posting about politics for fear of offending my audience and/or potential clients.
The events of this past week have shown me I need to get over myself. Staying silent is being complicit. Taking a stand for basic human rights for all is not a political position, it is simply the right thing to do. Ibram X. Kendi, in his book How to Be an Antiracist, says:
“The opposite of racist isn't 'not racist.' It is 'anti-racist.’ ...One either allows racial inequities to persevere, as a racist, or confronts racial inequities, as an anti-racist. There is no in-between safe space of 'not racist.'”
I do not have a large platform, but I do have one. We all do. Each of us has a social circle where we can step up to speak out against racial injustice and police brutality. We all have the power to hold our elected officials accountable for policies that allow institutional racism to continue. As white people we need to do more.
One action we can take is to stop normalizing racist attitudes when we encounter them. We all have family members or friends on social media who say insensitive things either out of ignorance or deeply-held beliefs. Do you speak up when you hear those things or see their posts? I will admit I usually don’t. I want to be nice and preserve social harmony. But the time is long overdue to start having difficult conversations with other white people. Even if you don’t change someone’s mind you will let them know you disagree, and this can empower others to speak out as well. What else can we do? Here’s one of many lists circulating online with actions we can take:
We can donate to community bail funds, mutual aid funds, and racial justice organizations. Here’s a link that makes it easy:
We can support local black-owned businesses. Here’s a directory of ones in the Syracuse area:
We can also listen to people of color and help to share and amplify their voices. Here are some that have informed my thinking in the past week:
Trevor Noah on George Floyd, Minneapolis Protests, Ahmaud Arbery & Amy Cooper
How Violent Protests Change Politics - The New Yorker
Editorial: A Letter to Friends Who Really Want to End Racism - Good Black News
My sincere hope is that we take this terrible moment in history and make it a turning point toward a better future.
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Make it fab!