I am a white mother. That is my privilege. With this privilege, my two white sons can leave the house with little worries.
I am a teacher. This gives me positional power. My positional power, which I did nothing to earn, allows my voice to be heard and respected by virtue of “the system.”
As we all know, with great power comes great responsibility. My responsibility as a white woman is to continue to challenge systemic racism. (Systemic racism, if you are unsure of the definition I’m using is, “Collective racial prejudice backed by legal authority and institutional control” ~ Dr. Robin DiAngelo). My profession gives me a responsibility to teach the truth to my students, to enlighten them, and awaken their souls to injustice, inequality, and oppression. It is my job to empower the young souls to speak up against these things.
Saying things like, “I don’t see color,” “I’m colorblind,” and “I treat everyone the same” is actually counterproductive. Those who profess not to see race, risk ignoring discrimination, and then continuing the situation. Also, white people should not call themselves an ally to the cause. It is not self-defined. Work and efforts must be recognized by those you are seeking to ally with.
So what can you do? Explore your racial identity. (As white people, many of us rarely have to think about the color of our skin). Listen. Learn. And listen some more. Push yourself to learn even more than you thought there was to learn. I have been learning as a white woman for over 20 years, and there is still much I don’t know. I am no expert, but what I do know is where to turn for help.
Here is a shortlist of resources and remember, “The system isn’t broken. It was built that way.” ~ Brene Brown
Let us know if you have any additional resources to share.