So on point.
Monica Parker

I try every day to flip the script and challenge myself and others on questions of race. Not only when deciphering the news, but also in the daily decisions and encounters I have with other people. I try to confront, not only my own stuff, but others where and when I see it. Sometimes, I am successful. Speaking up when a family member calls President Obama and his wife “uppity”, or when a friend blames a victim of police brutality for “not being more respectful of a police officer.” But sometimes I fail.

Recently, I was at a club meeting for the Rotary. The speaker was the head of Public Safety for the county I live in. A white man, he gave the whole “respect” speech. You know the one. “If people treated the police with respect, the police wouldn’t feel like they need to use force.” I wish I could say that I stood up and said “What an incredibly racist/white privileged thing to say.” I didn’t. Even though I thought that, I was a coward and, instead, I asked about what is being done about PTSD in our police departments. The kind that makes an officer see a 12 year old with a toy gun as a threat. While it was a question with challenge in it, it did not go far enough. I am still angry at myself for taking the easy way out. Hopefully, the next time I get angry about a comment like that I will be more honest. But let’s face it…. my anger will be better tolerated because I am a white woman.

As a kid growing up in a suburb of Detroit (one of the most segregated places in the country.) I remember asking, “How can you hate someone you don’t even know?” I can’t remember what I was told. Whatever the answer was, I am glad I have never felt the need to stop asking that question.

I am glad you are talking to white people about race again. While I see white privilege in our society…. in our “justice” and educational systems, in our neighborhoods and community groups, I need people in my life who will point out the obvious. I need people to challenge me with the “Why didn’t you say something?” or the “Why did you just stand back?” I need to learn how to be that person and support others who do it as well.

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.