I’m so white, I don’t know what to say

From the depths of my gut, I know that I want to say something, but I don’t know where to start. So, I will start here.

I am sorry for playing a role in white supremacy.

No matter how much I might have thought that I am not part of the problem, I realize that we all play a role and need to take responsibility. I grew up privileged in many ways. I was part of a middle-class family and my parents are still together today.  We had everything we needed. My worldview is full of engrained thoughts about life that are just part of who I am, because that is what I know. It becomes an unconscious bias that most of us have. But I am ready to hold myself accountable. Accountable for my actions and thoughts today as well as for a past that I must learn about so I can help create a better future for my kids.

I am writing this as my own exploration or inner reflection. I am open to you as the reader pointing out even more places that I have missed my own participation in white supremacy. I am hoping some of my ideas spark ponderings about your own journey in this process.  I write with love, and I am open to doing better. I know there are still places where I am ignorant. I am not an expert, rather a seeker of truth. 

We can hold ourselves accountable & do our own inner work.

I have learned that, if you are white, don’t go to your Black friends for all the answers. They’re tired of explaining things. Rather, take accountability and investigate your past and present interactions with the Black people you encounter in your everyday life. Where does white supremacy show up? It’s important to address this honestly even though it might be hard for you to admit you are part of it.

I grew up in a place that was not very diverse. I was lucky that my Mom taught us at a young age, to the best of her ability, how to be inclusive. She grew up in a big city and had a different view than our community. On more than one occasion, the KKK was active in our city. And when I talked to the few Black kids in our school, others would tease me that I had “jungle fever”.  It made me so mad, but I didn’t know what to do about it. In fact, I didn’t do anything. That is white privilege. Doing nothing had very little effect on my life. In fact, it made my life more comfortable, but it did affect others. I know I was just a kid, but I wish I had done better. I watch my own kids stand up for others and it brings tears to my eyes. And I think, why couldn’t have I been that strong? But I can be now.

I eventually moved across the country, but I still live in a place that is not very racially diverse and has a dark history when it comes to social justice. I am married to a Black man and have Black kids (who are half white). It’s definitely impacted our family.  For example, it has impacted where we live. We chose our neighborhood because it was the most diverse school in the area we wanted to live in.  And, as I wrote the last sentence, I realized that choosing where you want to live is also a privilege. We have been affected by it in many other ways. 

Do you have kids?

A good place to start is to examine your own life and look at what you are teaching your kids both directly and indirectly. What do your kids’ toys look like?

For example, IF you had 5 barbies in your home:

 Would they look more like this?

                                     

Or this?

You might think that people with non-white kids would have diverse dolls – but even back in the 80’s when my Mom bought us dolls, she made sure that they didn’t all just look like us. These were two of my favorite dolls:

Dolls these days have more diverse features than just race. They have dolls of different weight, height, age, style and dolls that are differently-abled.  It’s just something to think about as you take a look at your toy or book collections for your kids.

What else are you teaching your kids? I am learning now that if you say “I don’t see color”, that is not helpful.  We are meant to see and appreciate the differences in people. If you have been teaching your kids this idea of not seeing color, it’s a problem. People’s lived experiences have a lot to do with their skin color. I am guilty of this myself.  

It’s hard to know what to teach your kids, and so we often teach our kids the same things we were taught whether consciously or unconsciously. This is called conditioning.  It’s not ill-intentioned (usually), but it is biased based on collective thinking and your specific environment. 

Being at home more these days, we are watching a lot more movies.  Have you gone back and watched any blasts from the past? The movies in the 80s, 90s and beyond are horribly racially and sexually degrading. And we didn’t notice these things before, did we? We all thought it was okay – because that was the way all movies were.

I believe that the current situation in the US and the world at large is teaching us that we have to change that. We have to learn more and look at things with a new lens. This post is first in a series of posts that will touch on conditioning related to racial injustice and inequality and how human design can help you peel back layers and move forward from your heart and not your conditioned mind.

Things have changed some on the surface, and I think it’s easy for us white folk to believe the work is done.  When we are not affected by it, it’s out of sight and out of mind. In the past, I have been sexually harassed in the workplace too many times to count. So, women being degraded is at the top of my mind. But, when I am at work, I don’t think about what it’s like to be racially discriminated against because it doesn’t happen to me. Again, this is my white privilege. But someone who has been knows that racism— both personal and systemic— is not dead. The work is far from being done in the area of social injustice.

As a white person, I take so many things for granted. My husband says he is on his best behavior when police are around. Of course, I follow the laws, but I never have felt afraid for my safety. In fact, police have made me feel safer. There are things I will need to teach my kids that I would not need to teach my kids if they were white.

Black lives matter. When we get caught up in saying that “all lives matter,” we are again showing our ignorance. This is a great article about why this is a harmful statement: https://www.buzzfeed.com/kristatorres/burning-house-black-lives-matter

This is just the tip of the iceberg of my inquiry into this topic. I would love to hear thoughts that came up for you. Where have you played out white supremacy in your own life without realizing it? Where have you relied on Black friends for their emotional labor to educate you in these matters? Where have you taken your privileges for granted and assumed the way you move through the world is the way everyone moves through the world? Share below if you feel inclined and stay tuned for further posts on how we can all address these matters using Human Design and our own humanity.

Leave a Reply