"I'm not a racist!"
Here’s a phrase I hear from many of my white friends. “I’m not a racist.” Of course you’re not a racist – you’re not burning crosses on people’s front yards or using the n-word.
I too once felt I was not a racist. I saw myself as one of the “good” white people, because I cared. But here’s what all white people have to understand: it’s our obligation to educate ourselves about what it has meant in the past, and what it means today, to be white. Many people today are making the commitment to anti-racism. This blog is about that journey. Feel free to join in the conversation and comment below if you’d like.
I was in my early 60s when I learned about the 1955 murder of Emmett Till. That I was completely unaware of one of the most galvanizing events in the civil rights movement was a breaking point and a threshold for me. Awakening to my unawareness was the catalyst for writing An Unintentional Accomplice: A Personal Perspective on White Responsibility.
So, it follows that I couldn’t walk away from the realization of my unawareness and not see any consequences for my life. I needed to do something more than posting on social media and coming out in support of Black Lives Matter.
I wanted to do something of significance to help yet, as a white person, I have no say in what liberation for people of color or indigenous people looks like. Any actions on my part would have to be at the direction of and in alignment with the needs of people of color and organizations led by people of color.
Since my lack of awareness was the reason I wrote the book, seeing whiteness through the lens of people of color is an important part of reframing my own cultural narrative. I credit the work of writers listed in the bibliography of my book for helping get me started. I read and wrote and read and wrote.
My resulting book, An Unintentional Accomplice is neither a quick fix or a how-to guidebook. Rather, the book follows my deeply personal journey, and is meant as encouragement for anyone interested in doing the hard work of transformation and human development over the long haul. It is a journey worth taking.