This post comes from an insecure kid who, at the age of 51, still finds herself seeking attention, approval, and acknowledgement from her family and friends. She wants everyone to agree with her, encourage her, and see her as doing the right thing. And when they don’t, she feels like a disregarded child.
This post comes from the same 51 year old woman who, simultaneously, is tired of having her insecurities prevent her from taking a stand, especially when she knows the stand is on the right side of history.
This post comes from a 51 year old who is worried about how her family will respond, worried about the division it will create, and worried about missing out on things, because she is deliberately choosing this path.
This 51 year old is me, and I am taking a stand on racism. I am on a journey to become an anti-racist. I am moving forward. And I acknowledge that my stance may tarnish some relationships.
I’m working through the book Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad. In Part 1 of the book “Welcome to the work” (pertaining to combating racism), Layla states, “You will feel unrewarded because there will be nobody rushing to thank you for doing this work.”
To be clear, I don’t think any white person should be thanked for doing this work. We whites created the reason the work needs to be done in the first place. It’s our fault. We shouldn’t be thanked for cleaning up our own mess.
But what Layla doesn’t state is that in addition to folks not rushing to thank you, you will feel unrewarded because you will get the sense folks are rushing away from you. And, what she doesn’t state is that you risk missing out on things, because you may no longer be invited to or welcomed at gatherings. And, what she doesn’t state is that you may miss out on these things because you deliberately chose this path. (And that, my white friends, is an excellent example of white privilege; whites can choose – Blacks and other people of color cannot.)
Activism and attempting to bring people together can leave one feeling isolated and alone, and working to unite people can further divide people. When you choose to stand up, it’s scary and uncomfortable, but you can’t let that fear and discomfort prevent you from doing what is right.
I’m no longer comfortable having private conversations about racism in my head, thinking to myself that it’s good enough to just be aware of racism. I’m no longer comfortable having safe and easy conversations with others about racism and allowing myself to think that, just by having these safe and easy conversations, I am making a difference and bringing about change. I’m no longer comfortable pretending.
It’s taken over 50 years to get to this point. I’m here now, and I am am ready to actively and publicly cry out, stand up, and fight for Blacks and other people of color. And you know what? That’s shameful. It should not have taken me so long.
Now please excuse me. I need to make up for lost time, and I have some serious catching up to do.
Black Lives Matter.
5 thoughts on “Confronting the Fear and Discomfort and Moving Forward”
I think we are all looking for ways to handle this subject. We have racism here quite obviously, but until now we have not been called upon to stand up and be counted. I recently had a conversation with a ’good’ friend when she was objecting to the government money being directed towards Maori (our indigenous people). When I stood up for equal rights for all, even though we tell ourselves this is part of our culture even while recognising that it really isn’t, she became quite upset with me. I haven’t heard from ber since.
Hello Judith. I agree with you. I think everyone is looking for ways to handle this subject. Well, I *hope* everyone is looking for ways. Sometimes I think there are those that refuse to think about it at all.
I am so sorry to hear about your friend, and I am sorry she was upset with you. Perhaps you planted a seed within her, and she will do some soul searching. I hope she connects with you again more enlightened.
Stay safe. Thank you for visiting!
Hugs and kudos to you Diane! I can feel, through your words, how agonizing it must have been for you to write these words and then to hit the “publish” button. But you did it. Brave Lenore. And this, right here: And, what she doesn’t state is that you may miss out on these things because you deliberately chose this path. (And that, my white friends, is an excellent example of white privilege; whites can choose – Blacks and other people of color cannot.) is SO right on the money. I applaud your first step of taking a stand.
I am reading (after having listened to the audible version) “So you want to talk about race?” by Ijeoma Oluo. She brings a great perspective to understanding how differently things resonate depending upon one’s skin color. Her mother is white. Her father is black. She has had to point out to her own mother, her racists and privileged perceptions. We all have a lot of work to do. Even those of us who never perceived ourselves to be racist.
Linda, I read that book. Did I mention it in the blog? I don’t think so. But, I actually had a book club, of sorts. I got some folks together, and we met for 10 Mondays to discuss Ijeoma’s book. The group was awesome, and we had some seriously good discussions.
I started listening to her book, too – but I had to get the hard copy, because I kept wanting to go back, make notes, etc.
And I think you hit the nail on the head – we all have a lot of work to do “even those of us who never perceived ourselves to be racist”.
Thanks for visiting.
It’s lovely to meet someone who shares that realistic and honest perception. There are not enough of us.