Listening and Learning
June 12, 2020
Black Lives Matter.
You haven’t heard from me since this post. I wanted – no, needed – to start the work internally before talking about the steps I was taking to be an ally. My anti-racist education has only just started, and it’s going to be lifelong.
I’ve made an ongoing commitment: to listen, to seek out the strong voices that have been doing this work, and to work to amplify their message in my every day life. For me, the alternative of not doing anything at all, is no longer an option.
How have I started? I donated and will continue to donate here (and here and here and here), signed petitions here (and here), I’ve watched 13th by Ava DuVernay (a must watch), and will continue to stay engaged, informed and vote. My commitment:
Listen and LEARN.
I read Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad thanks to Hitha Palepu’s recommendation. The author wrote it specifically for those who are not Black. The journey she takes the reader on is one of self-reflection: deep critical thinking on the many ways we have unwittingly or otherwise furthered white supremacy in the many forms that it takes. The first step is understanding and acknowledging the systems that have made that possible, and taking responsibility for the every day actions we take that perpetuate them. It is deeply moving. And it is incredibly important. Reading this book has possibly been the most important step I’ve taken in the last two weeks because change starts within, change starts with me.
I’m now reading How to be Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi and following that will be So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo.
Strive towards being an ally. Strive towards being actively ANTI-RACIST. Speak up.
I’ve been working on arming myself with the language, facts, information I need in order to be a better ally each and every day. Because as Marie stated: ally is a verb, not a noun. This post by Elaine Welteroth has helped me frame my approach (her full caption). I’m approaching conversations with friends and family feeling more confident in my position and less fearful of the discomfort in speaking up, or of the potential consequences it may have on my relationships with others, including those in my family. This is exceedingly important in the Asian-American community, as this NPR article so eloquently describes.
Talk to my child about race and racism. SHOW her how we right this wrong NOW so her generation’s future can be better, brighter, more JUST.
The job I take most seriously is that of being Lucia’s mother. Part of that commitment is to be direct with her – not to assume that by saying “it’s ok to be different,” when she was 2, that the same lesson applies when she is 6. It doesn’t. We talk about race. And we talk about racism. The Conscious Kid is an account I recently started following with helpful advice on how to approach this, and we watched the CNN Town Hall on Racism with Sesame Street over last weekend. One thing I have learned from my experience with Lucia: kids inherently “get it.” They know what is right and what is wrong. Nurturing that, supporting that and being direct about it has worked for us in the past when it comes to topics like gender and race and marriage equality – topics that have particularly great importance and urgency in our family.
This is by no means an exhaustive list – but it’s my start. I will continue to take action every day. Please share your thoughts and further ideas and resources below!
Thank you for stopping by and allowing me this space to speak my heart. Truly grateful for you.