My maternal grandfather and I share the same birthday, February 16. When I think of Grandpa, I realize that my awareness of skin color, and the understanding that people may be treated differently because of it, first began on a perfect baseball afternoon in May of 1955. He had taken me to a baseball game at Sportsman’s Park to watch the St. Louis Cardinals host the Brooklyn Dodgers. I recall him asking me to look into the right field bleachers to see if I observed anything. Of course, I did not. I was five years old and overwhelmed by the stadium itself. Grandpa went on to explain that Jackie Robinson was playing that day, and whenever the Dodgers were in town the right field bleachers were filled with “colored people”. This being a “tradition” remaining from when the stadium had segregated seating just a few years previously.
Before that afternoon, I cannot recall having any awareness of what we refer to as “race “, or that people with skin color different than mine existed. That was the very early start of my journey.
People, who conscientiously work to understand prejudice around skin color, gender, ability, religion, and so much more, often refer of their journey to understanding. I have put this journal together so that you, at whatever point you are on your journey, will spend some time each week for the next year reflecting and writing based on the questions you will find. Many questions you will be able to answer for yourself. Yet for some will need to search and develop new ideas and attitudes
To work through this journal, some of you may need to find an ally, or explore the Resources section to help you develop an understanding. You may want to start a group discussion using this journal as a guide.
I have purposely not provided answers, as each of you will study and learn at your own rate. Moreover, I am a big believer in the impact of learning through discovery
You will find many questions white people often never consider. That is why they need to be asked!
Sixty-one years ago, I started my journey to understanding my whiteness and privilege and I am still on it. I doubt I will ever get all the way there.
We are all in different places. The important thing is that you have started.
Welcome to your journey!