Re-Education & Silence

Taking a break from Gridology to share some thoughts on racism & racial inequality

I’m taking a pause from Gridology this week. It feels so insignificant given the state of the country.

I should have published a post like this last Sunday, but I didn’t yet have the words to write. I still don’t. These last two weeks have been spent reflecting, reading, watching listening, learning, and acting. I’m at step one of this journey, as I think many other White people who read this newsletter are, too.

Here’s what I will say: I’ve been heartbroken. I mourn for George Floyd. I mourn for all of those who have suffered and died from police brutality. I recognize that racial injustice extends far beyond disparities in policing. It runs deep within the systems that make up America. It needs to be addressed, and it’s on me to help fix it.

There are many ways we can start to address systemic racism in America. Today, I want to discuss two ways. The first is re-education. The second is silence.

Re-Education

In reflecting, I’m realizing how much my education on race was a misinformed and uninformed. I was taught to not be racist (like many progressive and liberal White people)... to see everyone only for their character and their own merits—to be colorblind. How foolish and naive that was. How could I ignore my white skin when Black people can’t ignore their black skin?

It wasn’t just merit and character that allowed me to excel in the classroom and in the corporate world. Being White was the main contributor to my success—more than I ever realized, noticed, or acknowledged. My white privilege was my competitive advantage to thrive in America.

I can’t fully know what it’s like to be Black in America, but I’m trying to learn. It starts with following, reading, watching, sharing, and discussing the right content.

I’m making a concerted effort to follow more Black voices on my social platforms (Charles M. Blow, Ibram X. Kendi, Erica Joy, Jaylen Brown, David Dennis Jr., Sherrilyn Ifill, Eugene Scott, plus many others). I’m reading about racism and racial inequality (halfway done with White Fragility and How to Be an Anti-Racist is up next). There are a slew of documentaries and TED Talks I need to watch (to name a few: 13th, The Hate U Give, “How Studying Privilege Systems Can Strengthen Compassion” ).

I’m going to work my way through these two lists of content (Justice in June, Anti-Racism Resources for White People). This is only a starting point. I know I have a long way to go. Do you have other suggestions? Please tell me.

Silence

Being silent should have never been an option.

Society can't work for just some people and still be called a society. That, straight up, doesn’t make sense. White people, it’s on us. It’s on us to learn before asking. It’s on us to make change and not just Instagram story or blog about it. It’s not enough to say that you aren’t part of the problem... to be not racist. We all need to be part of the solution... to be Anti-Racist.

Silence comes in many forms. It could be your timidness to speak out. It could be your absence from a protest. It could be the donations you’ve never sent. It could be the difficult conversations with family, friends, and coworkers you’ve never had.

Silence is not an option. We all need to speak out with our voices, time, and money. It’s the only way forward, and it’s the path choosing to take. As a start, I made donations to Color of Change and Black Girls Code. I signed petitions for police reform. I went to my first protest last week. I will do more.

I’m unlearning and relearning. This is a process, and I know I’ll make unintended mistakes. Please tell me. If there’s something I could have addressed differently, let me know. I’m here, and I’m eager learn, change, and grow.