I’ve struggled to put in words all the things I’m thinking and feeling at this challenging, deeply troubling, and extraordinary time we are in. Quite the understatement. A worldwide pandemic, a recession, government failures, centuries of systemic racism exposed in the ugliest way possible, police brutality, and civil protest. Still with all that going on… I am hopeful. Why? Because I believe that needed systemic and positive change may at last be coming. That an “awakening” is occurring brought forth through people of color’s insistence, anger, pain, and hard, hard work.
What can I as one white person do to help? A critical path forward for me is to commit as an individual and also as a leader of a small company to work toward the eradication of the systemic racism against all people of color. How? It means listening intently to people different than myself and learning from them. It means unlearning previously held bias whether unconscious or not. It means study. It means supporting minority organizations and businesses through our purchasing power, contribution, and participation. It means actively considering people of color for employment. It means voting in November and volunteering to get people out to vote, and staying present and engaged about racial inequality.
There has been much written about recent events, so rather than adding further to the discourse (and this note) I thought I would turn to someone I view as an expert from his own lifetime of experience as a black American. I asked my dear friend Samuel Taylor, whom I respect, trust and admire, what he thinks the future holds. This is his answer below. Thank you Samuel.
“I think Trump and his administration have done a lot of permanent damage for racial relations and equality with their handling of Floyd’s killings, Federal and Supreme Court appointments, and racist policies. I’m not sure we can undo it. I’m glad white people are saddened by the killing of Floyd and Abrey, and the racial video encounter in NYC Central Park, but it’s important that they first acknowledge their white privileges, and then use this privilege to create changes through dialogue (especially with other white people) for legislative policies, career opportunities, and social equality for people of color. This can only be done by white people because they have the social and economic power.”
With great respect,
Some resources for action, inspiration and learning:
How I’m Trying to Process Things Right Now by David Baker
Dear White People by Dana Brownlee
White People Black Protests by Stacey Patton