I’m probably the last one person who should proclaim to understand race, equity and bias. I’m a middle-aged white guy, who grew up in a middle-class mostly white neighborhood, went to a middle class mostly white school and most of my acquaintances are middle-class white people.
Sure, I have friends who are black, friends who are gay, friends who grew up in poverty, and friends of all backgrounds. But I’ve personally never had to worry about being accused of something I didn’t do. And I’ve never felt uncomfortable going into a space because of who I was. Or felt like I didn’t belong. Or wondered why I was “different.”
So regardless what I say, I cannot proclaim to know what it’s like to be treated differently than others or to face bias just because of the color of my skin, my accent, my social choices or my economic status.
However, for as long as I can remember, I’ve had a sore spot for injustice. In fact, learning about or recalling accounts of the past and the history of our nation and world have often made my stomach churn. And the older I get, the inequities that exist in our world have become sharper, more in-focus for me.
Books and media that depict dystopian versions of the world also disturb me–not because they’re so wildly unrealistic, but because often they are strangely similar to the attitudes, behaviors and norms that once existed in our own culture and still exist in parts of our world. Ever watched The Handmaid’s Tale?
I am at a loss trying to figure out how we can erase injustice, racism and bias. But I know that it helps me to talk about it and to listen to others talk about it. I know that I, like a lot of people, need to confront the issues of race and equity head-on. We need to stop being afraid to use words like “Black” and speak up when someone says or does something that puts down or diminishes a person simply because of who they are.