Apparently those two words are highly offensive. I got more negative responses to those two words on my Facebook page than about what I posted.
Why is that?
I believe it’s because white Americans aren’t taught how to talk about race. Speaking from personal experience, I didn’t want to talk about race for fear of looking racist or saying something offensive.
Once I began my journey I learned that my “talking about race” muscles had never developed, and a result, I avoided it at all costs.
What did it cost? More than I knew! To protect my comfort I inadvertently let people of color think I didn’t care about them or their experiences. I wish I had known earlier in my life that to be an ally to those around me I needed to grow those muscles, and the very first muscle I had to recognize and come to terms with is the fact that I’m white.
If I’m white, then I experience life from that perspective. If I’m white, I don’t know what it’s like to be a person of color (someone who is not white). Simple concepts that you would think are easy to grasp, but those who won’t acknowledge this will never understand why things are so much easier for them than for people who aren’t white.
I share the following image to prove that America is not post-racial. If racial ideas in America have improved to the point where all people are actually treated fairly/equally/equitably we wouldn’t be seeing the devastation we’re watching unfold in front of us.
We have learned to hate. But that means we can learn to love. We must dig into our history (our textbooks were not completely honest and they have been edited to make us feel better about ourselves) and we have to teach our children our full and accurate history, even the facts that are not only unpleasant, but downright appalling.
As you work to grow your own muscles, I know you will want to also begin growing those muscles in your kids. This podcast episode is a great place to start: Talking to kids… about race. This is Amber Coleman-Mortley and her kids chatting about race and racism. Listening to a black family talk about this I can learn from their experiences what I can’t learn from my own.
Amber Coleman-Mortley – @MomOfAllCapes
How to talk to Kids about Race and Racism – Website with great content
Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong
by James W. Loewen (Author) – book for adults
Lies My Teacher Told Me: Young Reader’s Edition by James W. Loewen (Author) – book for youth
Episode 156: How To Talk To Kids About Race: Edit Your Life Show – Podcast episode released sometime around June 2019