I tell people, all the time, that racism is not a black people problem, it’s a white people problem — one that we (white people) need to fix in ourselves and in the systems we’ve created. This means taking responsibility for all racism even if the racism wasn’t personally ours. And, that’s where well intentioned, “but I’m not a racist”, white folk stumble and fail. For me, it means that all white people are “my people.” I can’t separate myself from the racist actions of others and say, “well that’s not me I’m not like that” regardless of the fact that I’m not like that. It’s not enough for me to just be responsible for myself — not when the lives of others are at stake and my words and actions can make a difference. No life matters until Black Lives Matter.
I deeply appreciate your words. My New Year’s resolutions/promises to you: No white tears; I gave up my white guilt and claimed my white responsibility some time ago. I will keep listening to you and other POC. I will keep asking the question, “How can I make a difference?” I will pay attention to the answers I’m given and I will keep doing the hard work needed to be the ally I claim to be.
Happy New Year. May it bring blessings to us all.