This has been a shameful week to be a white American. I don’t know about the rest of you but along with anger, “shame” has been the most prominent emotion I’ve felt. I learned how naive I was to think that the one thing the world could collectively agree upon was the condemnation of Nazis (and the KKK). Despite everything that we’ve learned about America the past 8 months (to a year) I was still flabbergasted by 45, and so many others, defending white supremacists, and that showed me the extent of my ignorance.
SHAME // 2.5.17
The toxic pit
deep inside, the hole
of my stomach.
Sudden self repulsion.
Thick coat of sludge
on pickled skin.
Chills build to fever.
drooping visage reflects,
Earlier this week, I had a very visceral nightmare where I quite literally, ripped off my skin. It was gruesome and the image has stuck with me all week.
I am very lucky to have had parents that raised me to celebrate different types of people and cultures but there are many things I have since discovered I am ignorant about…stereotypes and unconscious biases I learned from the media and entertainment (most likely). There was never any justification for racism to me. It just seemed like (what it is) hatred without legitimate reason. Of course, there are “bad people” in this world, but OBVIOUSLY “evil” could never be reserved for one color, creed or status. But in America systemic racism is so very real and has been poisoning this country for hundreds of years. It’s a HUGE toxic hole we have a responsibility to dig out of.
I have come to a point where I fully recognize my privilege as a white person but it’s more than that. I need to do better, white people in general, who claim not to be racist, need to do better. PROVE IT. I have called out a few friends, family members and strangers when they’ve said something that isn’t cool, but I haven’t done it every time I’ve heard it. It’s awkward and uncomfortable and most likely will completely change the tone of the room, but it’s the only way and it’s now or never.
The only way for me to alleviate my shame is to get loud. It’s my responsibility, as a white person, to educate other white people. Our unconscious biases have been taught, so they can be unlearned. Obviously, there is a lot of work to do but I’m hoping I’m not the only one who’s feeling motivated by shame (and anger and love and humanity).
To all people of color, I am with you, I’m sorry for when I’ve failed you in the past but I have never been more ready to fight!!!
[You are not alone.]