As a white woman, I attended a middle school where I was the minority. In high school (1970s), I went to Mississippi to help rebuild a black community and became friends with a black teen. He was shocked I would be friends and I was shocked that he was shocked. I was surprised that racism was such an issue even after the civil rights movement. I honestly thought that people would come around, because, duh, of course we are all the same and just our skin color is different. I had black friends and lived in a primarily black neighborhood for a time. I thought I understood.
However, over the last decade, black men began to tell how they are profiled and women how they raise their boys to be safe. Recently, many videos show people harassed in everyday settings. Each story opens my eyes a little more to how hard it is to be black in America. We need these stories to come to light to help us understand that this is everyday life, not an aberration. My grandson appears white and his cousins appear black. I’ve been contemplating how different their experiences are just because of their skin tone.
Living in my anti-racist bubble (as many, many white people do!), I wasn’t uncaring — just ignorant. It is time for change. Our nation is supposed to be a shining light of freedom and equality in the world. We can be so much better than this!
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