Sunday, October 04, 2009

Responding to Joy

Here's my comment to Joy Green McGann's evocative post, (read it!) and her husband David's reply, about racism and all of us:

Great job, Joy. It's such a difficult thing to express--to explain to caring, loving, open-minded people that they are probably contributing to the perpetuation of racism in America. I have known this my whole life. When I'm not actively working against racism, I'm letting it happen. I know, even tho I'm a white lady, because I grew up in a predominantly black neighborhood. I can relate to David's perspective of having lived as "different" although I was able to grow up and move away from my "differentness" in many respects. In other respects, it follows me wherever I go and inserts itself into all of my relationships. Obviously I'm not black. I don't blend into that culture/community. Not so obviously, I'm not completely versed in white culture either. I tire early of criticizing someone's punctuation errors or obsessing over whether my food is organic enough. So I live in both worlds in my own way. I don't need to raise awareness of life as a white person within black culture; every day is a lesson in whiteness. But I do try to bring a little perspective to the flip side of that coin. I try not to be too tedious, but I know my friends are sick and tired of hearing me say, "Think, what if you were black" every time they get pulled over or go on a job interview or have to explain their mistakes to an authority.

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