As you can tell from some of my previous post, I believe racism is one of the biggest issues facing our nation. Of course the issue of racism is not new to America. I believe it is one of the original sins of our nation. I could share a lot of data to support that statement, but I would rather share some practical steps white people can take to help improve race relations in America. Wait a second Todd. Why are you directing this towards white people? I am glad you asked. I believe for too long, we (white folks) have been afraid to have conversations about racism. We do not want to say the wrong thing and be accused of being a racist. I get it. I have been there. But we must have these tough conversations. I would like to share a few simple steps I think we (white folks) can take to help fight everyday racism. I have found them helpful in my journey to help end racism.
Listen to People of Color. To often when our brothers and sisters of color are discussing racism, we want to jump in and try to fix things. Or worse we discount what they are saying. We just cannot believe they would still encounter such blatant racism in 2019. They do! So the next time you have the opportunity to discuss racism with a person of color, just listen as they share the pain they face daily.
Educate Yourself. Take time to learn about All of America History. Not just the white history most of us learned in school. There are plenty of books, museums, websites and articles to help you become more informed.
Stand Up to Racism. Don’t walk away when that family member or coworker tells a racist joke. Confront them on their behavior. Call out the business owner who follows a person of color around the store. Stop and educate someone when they say racism is not that bad in America. It is! I know this might be difficult for some of you, but we cannot stay silent.
Ask Questions. Take time to asked people of color plenty of questions. It’s okay to admit you don’t know everything. I have no idea what its like to be a person of color in America or anywhere else. So the only way I can learn is by asking questions and listen. Remember to always listen.
What Happens If I Make A Mistake? If you happen to say or do the wrong thing, ask a friend of color how you can fix it. Apologize if needed.
Friends of Color. Okay none of this works, if you do not have any friends of color. No, the person of color you say hello to in passing at work or church does not count. Take the time to get out of your comfortable “white bubble” and engage with people of color. That might mean changing where you hang out or what church you attend. But I guarantee it will be worth it.
I know these six steps will not end racism by themselves, but I believe there a good start. Do not think you have to do them all in one day. That would be overwhelming. But I encourage you to start with one today. ~OC