First and foremost, I would like to thank you for sharing this piece. I believe that true personal growth can only occur if we’re led outside our comfort zones and are exposed to opinions and viewpoints we’re not ordinarily exposed to. That being said, your article left me with some questions and thoughts of my own that I’d love to get some feedback on, whether from you or one of your readers that has more knowledge than I do regarding these topics. For reference, I’m a white, gay, cis-gender male in my mid-30s.
First, it seems as though there’s this catch-22 when it comes to white people who genuinely want to get involved in fighting racism. On the one hand, it seems as though many POC-run social justic organizations don’t want to shift focus away from activist work just to “explain” racism to white participants. I can definitely understand how this could be cumbersome. However, there’s also major problems with white-led anti-racism organizations, as you clearly pointed out in this article. My question, therefore, is this: how can white people most effectively educate themselves and be involved without being a hindrance?
Second, the topic of reparations is one that is especially confusing to me. I tried to Google an explanation, but I’m not confident that the top search results of Google are reliable enough in their explanation. My current reaction to the concept of reparations is this: what’s the benefit of giving/receiving reparations from a social justice perspective? The way I understand the situation right now (and I’m looking forward to being better educated about this via responses to this comment), there’s a sense of entitlement to reparations. You stated that “reparations are just monies owed.” How is this so? I’m not trying to be snide or contrived; I’m simply confused about this concept.
Finally, the tone and tenor of your article comes across as though you feel white people simply can’t get it right, despite best intentions. While I do believe that one should never sugarcoat things for anyone (and I never shy away from someone “telling it like it is”), I can also see how this can rub some people the wrong way. What can people like me do to encourage open-mindedness to those who might “shut down” in response to opinions like this?
Again, many thanks, and I look forward to hearing feedback from you and/or your readers.