How Non-Racist People Perpetuate Racism

I recently entered into a discussion on Facebook with a white man who commented on a public post I made in which I shared an article about Ohio residents greeting Obama by waving confederate flags. I commented on the article with only two words: heart broken. The man responded by saying he was "tired" of the media exacerbating racial tension by pitting blacks and whites against one another. Does he count as "the media" since he posted publicly on Facebook? Aren't we, the people, the media, now? Did "the media" invent police brutality and the segregation in communities and schools that persists today?

He cites his experience as a missionary in Southern black communities as evidence of his understanding. He says he didn't experience racism in the projects. Does he think that associating with black people made him temporarily black? Does he think something doesn't exist because he has not personally experienced it?

He claims that he is not a bigot, and I might believe him, yet his denial of the discrimination faced by people of color indirectly supports it.

I do not know this man at all, but I engaged with him because I felt it important to fight against the contagions in his message. I hoped that by speaking up, I could give others the tools to speak up. I let myself become intoxicated by the freedom of speech. I knew I couldn't change his mind, but I felt empowered by disagreeing with him, openly, unapologetically.

I disagreed when he suggested that waving the confederate flag in the face of our black president was not a racist act but a political act. Then why not hold up signs with political statements as is the norm for such protests? I disagreed when he suggested the confederate flag to be a symbol of unity. The unity of whom? Certainly it was not for the unity of the human race. I disagreed when he said the treatment of blacks is not as bad as the media wants it to be. What if it's worse?

America has a long hard history with race. This country is not going to heal beneath the pretense of equality. We must demand the real thing. We can start by bearing witness to people of color. The media has largely provided us this opportunity.

The first step to change is awareness, which is why this man and so many others perpetuate racism. By pretending it's not there.

This is day 17 of 30 consecutive days of blogging. I’m glad you’re along for the ride. If you liked this post, please share using the buttons below. If you have something to add, feel free to comment openly or anonymously.

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Modern-Day Royalty

An interesting thing about (average middle class American) children these days is that they are so well tended. There's no scavenging for water when their class goes on a field trip. They carry BPA-free bottles in their backpacks, filled that very morning by loving attentive parents.

They can play in the rain without getting chilled because they always have a change of clothing nearby, and if not, the school has something they can borrow.

There's no sliding around in the backseat. They sit in five-point car seats and high tech strollers like modern-day chariots.

They may as well be royalty.

We work to support them and when we aren't working, we entertain them and care for them and clean up after them.

Before they are even born our friends throw them baby showers and after they come we remember their arrival by hosting annual birthday parties. We shower them with gifts on Christmas and we set up elaborate egg hunts on Easter.

We want everything to be magical for them.

We want everything for them. Everything we had, and perhaps more.

I think kids are so well tended these days because parenting builds on the previous generation. We parent the way our parents took care of us, compensating and occasionally over compensating for the gaps that may or may not have existed in our own childhoods.

But are there dangers to over compensating? Can we possibly give our babies too many gifts or too many parties or too much attention? If we overdo it will they grow up to be generous with high social and emotional intelligence, or needy and dependent on all sorts of addictions?

I think it's something for us to consider as we finish our holiday shopping and embark on long school breaks. Can we find balance in the season of excess?

How do you find balance? Tell me in the comments or email me lucymiller7 [at] gmail [dot!] com. I would like to know!!


To read more of my thoughts on motherhood, mindfulness and the creative life, please follow my blog or subscribe via feedburner.