Why We Need To Talk About Racism

I can hear it now. OC is talking about racism again. Can I be honest with you? I really do not like talking about racism. I know that is hard for some of you to believe, based on all my post about racism. But truly, I wish I never had to talk about racism again. Really, I do. So OC, why do you keep talking and writing about racism? Good question. I am glad you asked.

As a white man in America, I have a lot of privileges. I did not asked for these privileges. I did nothing to earn these privileges. I just happened to be born white in America. But as a white man in America, I have been bestowed these privileges for simply being born white. Here are some examples of my white privilege in America.

*I can walk down the street and no one is going to clutch their bag a little tighter. My brothers and sisters of color do not have that same privilege.

*I can hail a cab with no problems. My brothers and sisters of color do not have that same privilege.

*I can walk through any store and not be followed by security. My brothers and sisters of color do not have that same privilege.

*I can drive in any neighborhood and not fear being pulled over by the police for simply driving. My brothers and sisters of color do not have that same privilege.

I wonder how many people stopped reading when I mentioned white privilege.? I hope you stayed with me and take some time to really think about the examples above. Those are not made up examples. Those things plus a lot more happen everyday in America. That is why I will continue to talk and write about racism in America. I believe with everything going on in our nation, we can no longer make excuses for not talking about racism. Only by discussing the issue of racism, can we hope to end one of the original sins of America. ~OC

Just a White Guy Fighting Racism

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

Silence Is No Longer An Option

This past week, has been a tough one in America. For the last few years, I have kept fairly silent about the things going on in Washington and around our country. I have spent my time praying for this nation and her leaders. I have spoken with some close friends about the issues facing our country. I made the choice not to share my thoughts in a public way. Then the President of the United States decided to comment that four women of color should go back to their country because they have some different beliefs than he does. Then he stood silent at a political rally, while his supporters chanted “Send Her Back.” These comments were directed to four American citizens. Regardless of what you think about their political views, they are American citizens. As Americans, they have the right to their views and should not have to deal with racist comments from the leader of the free world and his supporters. Yes, the comments from the President and the chants of his supporters were racist. A lot of people will disagree with me on this subject, but in my opinion there is no debate.

As I spoke with some of my friends of color this week, they shared that on more than one occasion they have been told to “go back to their country.” Their home country is the United States of America. My friends shared how hurtful these comments made them feel. As a white man in America, no one has ever told me to “Go back to your country.” I do not believe I have ever heard that comment directed towards a white person. That is why I feel the comments by the President and his supporters were racist.

I may not agree with everything the four Congresswomen stand for, but I do stand for their right to say it. That is what America was built on. The freedom of speech and to express your opinions. These four women are elected leaders. If their constituents disagree with their views, they can vote them out. But in America, we should never tell fellow Americans they should go back to their country. They are already living in their country.

I will continue to pray for America and her leaders. I am thankful to live in this beautiful country. With that said, I can no longer stay silent, when I need to speak out. I encourage everyone to pray for this country and our leaders. I also encourage everyone to speak up when needed. I still believe better days are ahead for America. Let us stand together with all of our fellow citizens and demand more from our political leaders. And more importantly, demand more from ourselves. ~OC

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