December 30th, 2016
Pins and Buttons
There seems to be a lot of commentary going on about wearing safety pins. I wore one the first two days I had first read about them. Then an ally pointed our the paternalistic message I was sending. So I took mine off. Now I wear eitiher a Black Lives Matter or one that reads Stand Against Racism.
I have just returned from shopping where I was waiting behind and chatting with a black woman in the self-checkout line. She explained to me that although it appeared a register was open, it in fact had a flashing red light on a pole above it, indicating that it was out of order. Soon thereafter, another working registered open, and she proceeded to check out.
Just seconds after she left I heard a voice whisper in my ear “So typical, just like they wait chatting on the phone when the light turns green.”
I turned to see middle-aged white male and said, “I don’t even know what that means.” As I faced him, he saw that I was wearing a “Black Lives Matter” pin. I could see the surprise and embarrassment in his face when he saw my pin, and quickly scurried off in another direction.
I think my pin well represented me today. What type of pin would best benefit what we believe in?
Here are two great online resouces that you can use to fill you social justice - anti-racist toolkit.
Please feel free to share any other online resouces.
Showing Up For Racial Justice - http://www.showingupforracialjustice.org/
Racial Equity Tools - https://www.racialequitytools.org/home
HOW DO YOU DEFINE "ACCOMPLICE"?
I admit I am far from the smartest person around. Long ago, I learned the importance of reaching out to others for their good input. That is the purpose of this blog.
This past year I frequently heard the word “accomplice” used in discussions around social justice. That struck me as such a powerful word that goes beyond the term “Ally”.
The dictionary on my desk offered this definition “One who aids or abets a lawbreaker in a criminal act”. That did not seem right to me, unless used in the context of nonviolent direct action. After much thought, I defined “Accomplice” in this manner: “One whom you support in mind, action and deed to achieve social justice”.
What do you think? What is your definition? Please post your thoughts in the comment section. Let’s have a lively discussion!
These are just a few of the books I recommend you read to gain insight to the questions raised in Understanding What It Means To Be White And Privileged Journal.
So often I hear people say they don't have any friends of color so they don't know where to turn to learn more about race and privilege. These books are all from white authors, which again emphasizes the numerous resources available as you begin your journey. In the near future I will contiue to add important books from a wide spectrum of authors that will take you deeper into you journey.
Earning My Belt
In the early 90’s my 12-year-old daughter and I joined a martial arts class at a nearby school. I did so because I thought it would be a great bonding experience with my daughter, and I had been long interested in studying martial arts.
One of the first things explained to us was the “belt system”. As first timers, we were given a white belt. The instructors told us with time and practice we could work up the ranks from white, purple, and blue, and on to green, brown and then 1st degree black belt. We learned there were infinite number of degrees of black belts, because one could never learn all there was to learn. New skills and techniques were always being added. In addition, I had to reshape my then 45-year-old body to use new muscles, and my mind to think in new ways as I had never before participated in a contact sport.
Daughter and I often laughed at my inept skills (actually we still do) as after training two days a week for over four years I was still a purple belt. Feeling frustrated and tired of being punched and kicked by the other participants most of whom were 20 years younger, I “retired” from martial arts.
What does that have to do with race and privilege?
I have been actively learning and studying about these subjects for over 25 years. That sounds like a lot of time to invest. If I had to rank myself on my knowledge and practices around race, inclusion, and privilege, I would say I am a blue belt, at best. There is still so much to learn. Moreover, the more I learn and practice the more I understand, and the more skilled I become in teaching what it means to be white and privileged. All of this increases my capacity to bring justice to our society.
So wherever you are on your journey, do not give up. There will be some kicks and punches along the way. There is more to learn. Be committed. There is work to be done.
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