Posted on June 11, 2020
Nobody ever signed up to hear from me about politics or civic duty or race relations. These topics are way outside my area of expertise.
But so is firefighting, and yet I’d rush to help my neighbors if their house was burning. In a crisis, the right thing to do is to act.
• • •
Around age 13, I became consciously aware of the fact that I hit the lottery the day I was born. White suburban upper middle class American male.
But knowing I was privileged is not at all the same thing as knowing what NOT being privileged is like.
This has never been more apparent to me than in the last week or so watching legions of monsters materialize out of what (to me) seems like nowhere. I’m like, “what the f*ck?!” and black people are like, “this is what we’ve been trying to tell you,” and I’m like, “how the hell did I not see this?”
I’ve lived in predominantly black neighborhoods in NYC and Atlanta and I definitely witnessed racist behavior. But it was always like some cranky old bastard who would probably be dead soon spouting hate speech. I never witnessed any violence. I guess I kinda imagined that racism was a generational thing that was tailing off and would finally disappear once the boomer generation was gone.
Fast forward to now, and it has become painfully apparent that somebody’s been busy making new racists.
This is beyond politics. This is basic human rights.
I’m so sorry that it took this long for my eyes to be opened.
I see now that simply “not being a racist” is insufficient. We need to be actively anti-racist.
It’s depressing that this is the state of affairs after all these years, but here we are.
What gives me hope is that this time could be different.
P.S. If you want to take action and aren’t sure where to start, here’s a collection of links from the Obama Foundation.