Waking Up to Racism

Liberal white people, that includes myself, we have been asleep. We proudly voted for Obama, shared the hashtag #blacklivesmatter with our friends, and now we wear a safety pin and pat ourselves on the back for being anti-bigotry. Yet, racism persists, and incomprehensibly, appears to have a resurgence.

Subtle racism has been all around us, but too often we chose to ignore it. Now, we hear Trump supporters or others from the alt-right being less than subtle, and are appalled. But have we consistently challenged their racist thinking? When faced with inappropriate behavior towards people of color, did we keep quiet, so as not to make waves, and inadvertently approve this behavior?

Our time to be an ally is not just for the most obvious times, when we are called upon, to make a public show of our righteousness. We need to be actively planning and discussing how to confront racism aggressively wherever it may be hiding, even behind our own closed doors.

Now we are talking about different cultures, one that likes to brush things under the rug, and one that opens the rotting can of worms. When Obama was elected president, I believed we had reached the point where we would no longer have to actively eradicate racism, it was going to disappear naturally. Obviously, that didn’t happen.

When I walk into a store and hear white people talking shit about some black people gathered outside, and I don’t say anything, then I am allowing that racism to be. Unfortunately, I am ashamed to say, that I may have slunk out of a store, my head steaming with anger, but not saying anything.

It’s time to stop the pussyfooting around, and not be afraid to confront and challenge these assumptions. This is a wake up call, because the ones who need to speak up have been sleeping far too long, while our black brothers and sisters have been losing sleep and lives and are justifiably weary.

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