Medium Day Is Almost Here!

We’d Love to See You There

Sherry Kappel
Our Human Family


Editor’s Letter

Our Human Family is all geared up for an excellent discussion about racial equity, allyship, and inclusion, and we hope you are too!

Our session:

Saturday, Aug 12, 2023
10:30 a.m. — 11:00 a.m.
Register in advance.

If you’d like to help make America — or really the entire world — a better place, this is the session for you, and we have some wonderful panelists.

William Spivey is an absolutely amazing historian and social commentator you should already be familiar with and following. Really, everyone should read him in Florida and across the country. He does meticulous research, he includes the good, the bad, and the ugly, and you can trust him to tell the truth. You might not like what he has to say sometimes, but he’s a highly reliable messenger. If you want to know how something really went down, start with William.

Terra Kestrel . . . wow, what a writer. I’ve had the pleasure of working with her on a couple of projects, and she is brilliant, funny, warm, and empathetic. Although she has been writing less for the moment at least, she was one of the very first people I read on Medium many years ago, pulling me back to the importance of being an antiracism advocate. She’s an excellent resource for thinking about the intersectionality of race, gender, and sexuality, as well.

You almost certainly know Clay Rivers as editor-in-chief of Our Human Family — a caring and motivated person who is dedicated to the fight against oppression of all types. What you might not know is that he knits and bakes, he’s absolutely meticulous, he takes good care of his mom, he used to be Donald Duck (seriously!), and he’s a funny, silly, religious, thoughtful, generous, and sometimes grumpy but always affectionate person I’m proud to call my friend. Also? He’s an excellent public speaker! You won’t regret tuning in.

Aaand, there’s me, Sherry Kappel. I’m just an aging white woman who cares a lot about humanity. I’ve always enjoyed diversity, whether it’s in the food I eat, the places I travel, or the friends I’ve accumulated, so I’ve surrounded myself with an exquisite rainbow of human beings. My only requirements for friendship are honesty, integrity, and caring for other people, which cross all demographic lines but are sometimes sadly in short supply. I guess I fall in the “ally” bucket (more on that below), and I’ll be happy to help answer any questions about allyship you might bring to our session.

Seriously, Not an Ally

If you’re a Black person or other person of color, you probably have a lot of opinions on this topic already!

If you’re a white person who’s interested in racial equity and equality, you probably know there are categories, or names, for people who are working to make a difference.

One term I’m seeing more and more of is “antiracist” or “antiracism advocate.” What I like about it is that it doesn’t differentiate between people of any color (which is not to say I don’t see color!); I’ve heard people of every background and shade refer to themselves this way and I’d like to think of antiracism as a shared goal even if there’s a shortage of white folks on board. I also prefer the addition of “advocate” because it’s more active — it means (or should mean) the person is actively doing something to improve the situation.

The term you hear more often is “ally,” which applies primarily to white people who are working to support the cause. It’s the most popular term, which is why I used it above, even though I am not a fan of it! It’s a great word on the surface, and who doesn’t want to have allies, but it suggests that the problem of racism belongs to Black people and we white folks are just helping out. Wrong: racism is a white problem! We invented racism, we perpetuate it, we’re the majority of the population with almost all the power, and so we’re the only ones who can end it! We’re not helpers, we are the problem and we need to be the solution. We. Are. It.

Black people are helping us by providing the education and sharing their experiences!

Beyond that, it seems to me that way too many liberals wear the word like a merit badge without really doing anything. (It’s for this very reason that while Black folks encourage people to be allies, they don’t trust us very much. We show up on occasion with pretty signs when the cameras are rolling, then disappear back into the woodwork when the going gets tough.) Antiracism efforts should be an ongoing effort — lifelong, really — or, better yet, way of being.

Let’s think, in fact, about better ways of being. When we imagine our friends and family, we (ideally, at least) see them as mutually nurturing and supportive relationships. We don’t, for example, label ourselves “a great sister” and then do nothing to earn it. We wouldn’t stand silently while someone bullied our brother. We help our children learn and grow in the hope that they’ll have a bigger, better future than we did. We go out of our way to help our friends, and it doesn’t even matter why they need it; we don’t look at them and say, “Bummer you got hurt but I wasn’t driving,” or “Bummer you got cancer, glad it’s not my problem!” And we wouldn’t just show up when they had the cancer, they would know that we’re dependable in case they got cancer.

We need to start thinking about our Black and Brown friends the same way when it comes to racism. If we’d stand up for a white friend when someone talks down to them, we should stand up for our Black friend when they’re confronted by a racist. If we’ll go to bat for our kid when their apartment complex tries to take advantage of them, we should be willing to argue with a realtor who lowballs the price of our Black friend’s house or has an issue with showing them a house in a white neighborhood. And if someone we love questions our motivations and causes us to dig deep into our psyche, we should do the same when a Black person points out that our opinion is tinged with racism.

The issue of racism is always the lone outlier. I know a lot of otherwise wonderful white people who can’t acknowledge or even see the racism in their views, let alone support a Black friend who’s dealing with racism. I believe that those who mean to do well are so aghast at the very idea of racism they’re unable to address it. And many of these same people would call themselves allies.

Despite reading about and focusing on racism for many years now, my opinions continue to evolve and I continue to refine my thoughts on allyship. What are your views? Where would you agree or disagree? My main concern is making progress against this disease that has harmed so many innocent people and is tearing apart America. If you are able to attend our panel talk, let’s discuss!

Love one another.




Sherry Kappel
Our Human Family

Looking for the Kind in Humankind. Heart currently Code Blue.