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White People Need to Speak Up!

Racism is our problem to fix.

White people need to speak up. Racism is running rampant in our country and it has got to stop. I’ve heard the counterarguments, “My family didn’t own slaves,” and, “Slavery was a long time ago, get over it.” Well, you can’t forgive someone for stomping on your foot if they are still stomping on your foot. Racism clearly still exists, whether the whites want to recognize it or not. This is not a problem created by people of color, and it can’t be fixed by them. The more blacks and other people of color protest racism, the more it seems to rear its ugly head. I don’t mean to say that they shouldn’t protest, by all means they should. But since whites, our ancestors, created the problem, we, as whites, should do everything we can to fix the problem. It’s not their problem to fix. It’s ours. It’s our bad behavior. What we allow is what will continue. Racism is ugly, hateful, stupid, and mean. Racism exists still, because whites need a scapegoat for their own insecurities and shortcomings. If you are racist, you are weak. Furthermore, if you don’t speak up against the problem, you are part of the problem. We need to create a better future for our children, all of our countries children.

I know the cure for racism. Yes, I am that much of a genius. Actually, I’m not a genius, but I’ve seen racism stopped in its tracks. The cure is having a biracial grandchild. Seems too simple, doesn’t it? Well, I have seen people that I would definitely describe as racist, their entire lives, who suddenly abandoned it after having a biracial grandchild that they love more than life. What’s the reasoning for this change? Prior to racism affecting them or their family, they didn’t care. If it wasn’t them, or their family members, on the receiving end of hateful behavior, unfair stereotyping, or racial profiling , police brutality, they didn’t even care if it existed. Make the jokes, laugh at the jokes, ignore the jokes, it all breathes life into racism. Believe that they are somehow better, smarter, more deserving because they have light skin. How ridiculous, but that’s how it is. It needs to stop.

If you ever doubt that racism exists, I have an activity for you. Go shopping with a black friend. I’ve done this and there is a distinct difference in the shopping experience than the type you have when shopping while white. The stares, the accusing looks, the workers following you and your friend around the store, suddenly on shoplifting alert. A friend had a similar experience and shared it with me. He was with a coworker, both Christmas shopping for their kids and the same thing happened. He asked his friend about it, who said that it happens all the time. This was not a “hoodlum” looking guy. He was a regular-looking dad. The only difference was that he was a black dad.

How can this type of behavior, and much worse, exist in our nation today? Every day, every day of their lives, to be treated like a criminal just doing daily activities? As a white mother, I am privileged. I know that if one of my white sons gets pulled over by the police, for whatever, they will be polite and they will come home. Why can’t my friends, black mothers, have this same reassurance? Their sons are polite. That’s white privilege that we don’t even recognize. I can’t imagine, with all the things to worry about today, that I would have to worry about the police brutalizing or killing one of my children. It’s a real fear for my black friends, it’s real because it’s reality. This is the narrative that we have to change. We cannot ignore this, it’s wrong.

So, what can we do? First of all, don’t be racist. It’s pretty simple. Don’t raise racist kids. Shut it down firmly when you see and hear it, and you will hear and see it. One of my sons is autistic and recently started his first job. He has trouble making eye contact and is not a big talker with people he doesn’t know well. One of his new coworkers was saying some racist things. My son looked him in the eye, said that it wasn’t funny. The guy said that, “He calls it as he sees it.” My son, again, shut him down, saying that it’s not funny and he doesn’t want to hear it, ever. So if a young, autistic boy, who has difficulty with eye contact and talking, can look a middle-aged man in the eye and shut down his racism at his new job, that he desperately wants, so can you. Don’t laugh at the jokes, don’t just silently look away, hoping they’ll get the hint, speak up. That alone can start to change the narrative in our country, speak up, white people!

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