This past week I started a class called:
An Introduction to Racism,
Unconscious Racism, and
I’ve never cried so much about something I knew so little about. The class is taught by Patti Digh and just the reading was so overwhelming, I had to sit out of the first live conversation. I opted to listen to the recorded version and I am not sure I’ve found my voice in the topic yet. In the next few weeks I will continue down this path of interviews, readings and live conversations about racism, and I’m sure the territory will leave me more shaken than I am now.
But I must do this.
I’ve found myself on the other end of this megaphone in life advocating for a child with a disability most know nothing about. She’s just small. Will she grow out of it? Is she adopted? You know that’s a fetish? Freak. Oh I love that show. Can I pick her up? Can I take her picture? I’m small, too. Have you seen those wrestlers? Like a midget? Explanations like: fairy, leprechaun, magical, like in Snow White…
I’ve spent 3 years with tunnel vision educating and advocating for my child to the same people who still don’t seem to get it. And while the actual people may change, the message is still heard: others lives just don’t matter as much as their own.
As a community, we are seeking to understand, to learn, to deepen our knowledge of racism. We want to learn how to become more effective White allies against racism. By enrolling in this course, you are committing to reading all the materials provided in our online classroom, asking honest and respectful questions, and being open to hearing opinions that are different from your own–with an eye to learning, not judging.
We need to change. These conversations are hard. As Patti writes, these conversations are not easy. This class is not about easy. We are here to peer into a window that we do not understand, that many of us will never know, but that does not mean we should not be aware. As the tears stream down my face, I sit in my home with a fan blowing across my body, my children are safely playing, my husband busy at work… that is my privilege and that should be a right. We have a right to feel comfortable and safe every day.
As I continue my advocacy journey, I must also grow. I need to learn as I teach, and teach as I learn. To teach online
and in every day actions. I hope you also take the opportunity to learn, grow and become aware- while this is a hard topic, if you would like to safely and civilly open a dialogue in the comments, I’d love to grow with you.