Sunday, November 23, 2014

Racism - Wrote a Post About It - Here It Go

En Vogue's song "Free Your Mind" is the inspiration for that blog title and is what I think of when I hear about the riots in Ferguson, MO. I've been trying to wrap my head around the whole thing, but mostly what I can do and share with others about the process to check myself and rewire my brain and help re-engineer my brain to think differently about skin color than my culture or mass media has groomed me to believe.

Firstly, let's be clear on what Racism is.

Racism is prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one's own race is superior.

"the belief that one's own race is superior"

I'm better than you because I am part of the dominant group.

Race is the dominant group. It is a:  a family, tribe, people, or nation belonging to the same stock

or b :  a class or kind of people unified by shared interests, habits, or characteristics
I am white. Not everyone in my family is white. Some of my relatives have married into a different race and/or have children that are biracial. Do I love them less? No.

But the issue is not family, it is strangers.

When you walk down the street and see a person walking toward you that belongs to a different race, how do you react?

I watched the interview of Toni Morrison by Stephen Colbert and Toni, in her wisdom, says:
"There is no such thing as race. None. There is just a human race -- scientifically, anthropologically. Racism is a construct, a social construct... it has a social function, racism."
When we are the top dogs, we have a sense of pride and accomplishment. It is ingrained into our children. We made it. We beat everyone else to this spot. We own things. We make decisions for the greater good. We are portrayed as the heroes, the good guys, the prettiest, the sexiest, the richest, the ones to idolize and look up to.

We get a little cocky. We begin to snub those we feel are below us. We teach our kids that they can be anything they want and then we let them watch programs and movies that demonstrate that the dominant culture gets the happiest ending.

This is not a good thing. It does not promote peace, goodwill, teamwork, or forgiveness.

How do you break down the barriers? You promote kindness. You teach kindness. You show movies with kindness. You raise awareness for acts of kindness.

I'm sad that Secret Agent L is leaving as she did so many wonderful acts of kindness and touched people all over the world with her blog project.

It is up to us to carry on the traditions of those such as she. It is up to us to volunteer, pay it forward, and just do random nice things. It is up to us to talk about them, teach them, and demonstrate them.

Do them across races. A smile, a hug, an open-ended question, or a donated treat can make someone's day. Don't do it out of pity for their skin color, that's tactless and crass. Do it out of love.

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