By Guest Blogger Gray Moulton, LMFT, PLLC
Last night I found myself responding to a friend’s post about how sad and disheartening Facebook and the media have become over the past weeks. In my response I realized just how much my views have shifted and how I really realize I need to, and must, do more. It’s not easy sharing such a vulnerable post, however I think it needs to be shared.
Ironically, today is Juneteenth, a national holiday that celebrates the ending of slavery in the US. On this day in 1865, the Emancipation Proclamation was read to enslaved African-Americans in Texas, making Texas the last of the Confederate States to acknowledge the ending of slavery. Even though January 1, 1863 was when the Proclamation was first introduced, it took two and a half years for all the Confederate States to recognize that slavery had been abolished. One would think that in 155 years the remnants of slavery would only be a part of our children’s history lessons. Nevertheless, here we sit in the middle of, yet another, major racial uprising. Many, if not all Black Americans are still fighting to be seen as equals in the eye of the land. The time to stop and pause has come. How can this be? What needs to be done differently in order for change to occur so that equality isn’t just a word, rather, the way?
So, from a white mother who is ready to help make a change, here are my thoughts …
I, too, am saddened by what I read on Facebook or see on the news these days. What saddens me even more is the fact that I am living in a world where race remains such an issue and some people (myself included) are, or have been, so slow to grasp the whole thought of white privilege. Until the last ten years or so, I had not put significant thought into the differences in being white verses a person of color. It’s not that I feel I am at fault for what my ancestors did, for example, but I am at fault for unknowingly enjoying the privileges afforded to me as a white person and therefore, not advocating for change for people of color so they may be able to achieve similarly. This article is an excellent read for anyone contemplating the idea of white privilege’s existence.
The author lists 50 things a person can easily do without fear, judgement or worry IF THEY ARE WHITE. The list could easily go on and on, but it’s articles like this that opened my eyes to how ignorant I’ve been in the face of racism. I live a life free of fear and anxiety that the color of my skin will work against me in most aspects of life in general.
As uncomfortable as I am in the world right now, I am keenly aware that it’s through taking a deeper look into myself that I am able to realize that I, as a white person, must make change in myself and fight for changes for my friends of color. I can’t stand by and hope because I was raised not to see race as an issue that others will be the same way. Hoping for change won’t readily make it occur.
I guess what I am trying to say is that life right now seems so negative but as history has shown us … it takes a lot of negativity to create change. I don’t think this is easy to do. I don’t want to have to do it sometimes, but I know that at the end of the day … I love people. And not all people are treated in the same ways as I am by some establishments, schools, government, etc. Until I change my views and learn how to accept that things like white privilege really do exist…I can’t expect others to make those changes. Social media and the news are the major outlets to see and keep most current on differing viewpoints, opinions and thoughts. So as much as I hate reading and watching all sides of the story…I feel like I have to in order to hold myself accountable to both my race and all other races. As a white person, I have acknowledged I have an easier life, and I desire to see all people treated in the same ways.
In the end, my love for humans and my desire to see all humans treated with equality and respect, is what is keeping me motivated. If that means I have to endure reading negativity, that I hope will lead to change, I am up for that challenge.
Want to see more blogs like this and get notifications on local events and happenings? Subscribe to TMoM’s free weekly newsletters here.