A little over five years ago, I was trying to find myself professionally and after working with a life coach to gain some clarity about what I should be doing with my life, I started this blog. Over the years, my goals for this space have continued to shift but there are two absolutes about this space, it will never work as a money making venture and I excel at tackling the tough topics in this space. I suppose the reason it will never work as a money making venture is because finding corporate sponsors when you are talking race and life just don’t mix. Tis life!
I often wonder if I am spending too much time talking about the uncomfortable issues such as race. Then I come across tidbits like this where I realize maybe I do need to keep talking, in hopes that my talking will get others talking and more importantly actually doing.
A whopping 40% of White Americans do not have friends of different races and 25% of non-White Americans do not have friends of different races. People, we have a problem! These stats go a very long way in explaining why we can’t have consensus around racial matters. How can we understand one another when we don’t even know each other?
The problem with living in our own private silo where everyone is just like us is that, we miss out on being able to hear a diverse array of voices and experiences. Instead we filter every event and action through our own lens and the lens of people who are just like us. Inevitably this leads to problems because the world is bigger than any one of us.
Even when we acknowledge that we are in our private silo but we claim to want change, we cannot create that change in a world of people who are just like us. Case in point, I came across thisarticle today on my Facebook feed that was being shared amongst my liberal, educated white acquaintances. These are people who I believe have good hearts and they truly want to create change, hell this piece is written by someone who wants to create change but once again how can you really make that happen when you stay in your own orb?
Let me just say that as a parent and specifically the parent of non-white beings, I appreciate hearing that white parents are discussing race with their kids. But…you knew that was coming. If you wait until your kids are 7, 8, or beyond, it’s too late. It really is. Discussions about differences need to start before the age of 5, kids are smart, savvy and really they get it. Children often see what we don’t see but more important that that they see what we do. If all you are doing is talking about race and instructing your child on how all people are equal yet the only people you are surrounded by are people just like you, you are missing the boat. Eventually kids grow up and they notice that for all our talk, we are not actually living our values.
Living in Maine, over the years I have met many well-meaning people who have said that they wish they knew more people of different races, ethnicities and sexual orientations. But it is hard to accomplish living in Maine. Sure it is, but it’s not impossible and truth be told even in large cities like my hometown, plenty of people still choose to stay in their self-designed bubble where they live, work and love only with people who are just like them.
The thing is, creating a world where all are valued and respected equally requires a willingness to get raggedy, and it means working hard. It’s more than a conversation here and there; it’s more than following Black writers and academics online and musing theoretically. It’s about actually taking all of that and applying it to real life and sometimes fucking up so badly that feelings may even get hurt. Yet you try again, and again. It’s about letting your kids see that you really do value what you say you value. It’s more than talk, it’s action and the first step is leaving your silo.