I don't think I should buy that shirt. I made my own.
My wife is from Peru and we have two biracial daughters.
My phone contact list and my Facebook profile are proof of how many brown-skinned people are among my friends and acquaintances. I have lots of Black friends!!!!
I LOVE the Daily Show, I HATE Fox News!!!
I speak Spanish and have many relationships with people in Spanish.
I took West African dance in college and it really taught me how to move!!!
I have traveled to countries like India, Bangladesh, and even lived for 2 months with a host family in Guatemala.
I have been through so many eye-opening experiences that have shown me, time and time again, that racism is an idiotic waste of time, energy, and human potential. I have devoted myself to facing racism head-on and learning how to overcome it.
And I am NOT over racism. Racism lives, breathes, and manifests itself from inside me every day.
On her blog, "Black Girl Dangerous," Mia McKenzie reminds me that as a person with White privilege, there is no such thing as me "being" a White ally. It is not an achievement that I can attain and then receive a medal. Allyship is a never-ending practice of education, action, and reflection.
As a White liberal in the 21st century, I have learned to see everyday racism in American society. Jon Stewart's wildly popular bit on Ferguson practically made me shout "THANK YOU!" I know racism is real. I've always been taught that racism is terrible. I've seen the police brutality videos and read a lot of books and been in close relationships with people who are subjected to direct racism on a daily basis and I have devoted myself to becoming a fully-conscious White person.
But I'm not over racism. Not by a long shot.
It started coming out clearly when I was young. At the same time that I was in a leader of the "World of Difference" diversity education group, I remember sitting in our school cafeteria, looking over at the one table with most of the Black students, and saying “Why are the Black kids always sitting together?” I said this without irony, because I didn't notice that all of the White kids were sitting together. Our whole school was set up as the “White table,” and yet I couldn't see Whiteness. All I could see were the few Black kids, sticking together, and I had absolutely no idea why. I am deeply ashamed to say that I even joked about it sometimes, referring to the “Black, Loud, and Proud table” in conversation with my fellow White friends. I feel terrible about this, but that doesn't erase it from my history.
And I wish I could tell you that my relationship with my racism is just history. But it's not...it's today, it's right now. It's every day. Every day for me is shot through with a thousand moments in which I choose to either breathe life into my own racism or allow it to wither. It's happening now, as I type these words. Way down in the gut, it's there, as usual, grunting, slobbering, pleading for breath, for food, for life, and much more often than I'd like to admit, I give my racism the sustenance it wants. It takes shape, forms into hard angles, muscles contracting as it rears up, chuckling, stronger and inflating by the second, seeking a way out, a hole out of which to discharge itself.
My racism is alive right now, as I type these words, which, I am aware, add up to a kind of begging, a desperate attempt to buy myself into some kind of anti-racist salvation.
My racism comes out when I read an article by a Black writer and I find myself recoiling from the writer's "anger."
My racism comes out when I am relieved to see that the people walking behind me on the street are White, not Black.
My racism comes out when I realize that the four students I have labeled "difficult" in one of my classes are the only four Black students in the class.
When I see a name that "sounds Black" and I internally roll my eyes.
When I feel like I am being silenced because I am White.
When I feel like I have the potential to "save" people (especially people of color).
When I read a list of common racist behaviors and begin scrambling to defend myself.
No, I'm not over racism. Instead, I'm trying to learn how to be with racism.
As a White person learning how to practice being an ally to people of color, I begin by publicly embracing the racism that lives inside me. Contrary to what my deep-seated fears tell me, I don't believe there's much risk by doing this. Since people of color are subjected to racism all the time in America, I think most of them wouldn't be surprised to learn that a White person like me has racism inside. The only surprise will be me owning it.
My Own Racism Manifesto
Here is my own racism. It is no one else's. I fully own my racism and I commit to learning how to counter racism in my thoughts, words, and actions. Beyond my internal work, I commit to using my White privilege to speak out about racism in spaces where White supremacy reigns unchecked. My fight against racism in the outside world must happen in tandem with the fight against my #ownracism.