I’ve read and watched the news as much as I can emotionally handle. It has been both distressing to see the rioting and destruction, and inspiring to see peaceful non-violent protests by those who are demanding change, while being cognizant that violence and destruction only begets more of the same.
I am deeply disturbed to learn that a good part of the instigation of violence has come from outside infiltrators, many not black. Who could be so evil as to focus concerted effort on stirring up more dissension and unrest during these already chaotic and challenging times? How do we deal with this hidden malevolence?
I am old enough to remember the Civil Rights Movement. I remember the pride I felt when I saw whites and blacks marching in unity for the rights of black to simply drink from a water fountain, go to a decent school, sit at a lunch counter without fear of retribution. I thought our country was moving out of the darkness of racism and bigotry to the favored status of equality. I was inspired to volunteer for Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) requesting to be sent to the inner city to do my part. Unfortunately, it was during the race riots of 1968. Instead I was shipped off to an Indian Reservation in Minnesota. Though, I have to say, for a naïve suburbanite that was still an eye-opening, life changing experience!
Through the years I’ve maintained my interest and concern in equality and justice for all. I’ve kept informed about the injustices to blacks: the higher than normal rates of blacks in prison, the lower life expectancy of blacks compared to other races, the lower academic standards and achievements for blacks, the damage to black families without their male fathers, sons, uncles and brothers, etc.
I’ve been distressed by this information, but like all too many whites, I have been guilty of being complacent in my white privilege. I haven’t taken a stronger stand. Now I feel shame for not doing more; for enjoying my privileges while not speaking up more for the rights of my fellow African Americans. I wish I knew what to say, because “Sorry” just doesn’t seem good enough.
I’m not out protesting because, regrettably, I have physical limitations that make it difficult and painful to be on my feet for long periods of time. I did attend a program in 2019 on raising consciousness about injustice for blacks, but only whites showed up. We were attempting to view the lack of inequality and injustice through our ‘white’ lens. It just didn’t authentically translate. I have been meditating for peace and justice, which is something I can do, but it doesn’t feel like enough.
My question it, what can I do? What can WE do? For there are others who are also feeling the shame of complacency? If we can’t be out on the streets protesting, what, then, can we do? I’m not the only one asking this question. I would like to open a dialogue. What can we do to stand in unity with the black community? Please share your thoughts.
Please place your thoughts in the comment section under the post for this blog post.
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