Black and Brown and White: Now What?

In Charlotte, Civil Rights, Diversity, Education, Home, Racial Justice, Racial Justice - Local Level Advocacy, Social Change, Uncategorized by Donna TarneyLeave a Comment

During the past few months the topics of racial inequity and injustice have been front and center in our country in ways not seen since the Civil Rights Movement. Black and white people are gathering to protest and demand change. Black voices are being amplified on the news and social media. People are watching films and reading books that speak to the reality of life for black people like never before. While we march in the same streets and consume the same media, people of color and white people are experienceing these times in very different ways.

Many people of color feel heard for the first time. They are also exhausted by the additional attention and, in some instances, pressure to be the voice for their entire community. Others struggle to balance the need to speak truth to this moment with the danger of being exploited by TV and media for other purposes. Still others wrestle with feelings of deja-vu and hope against hope that this time will be different.

While we march in the same streets and consume the same media, people of color and white people are experienceing these times in very different ways.

Many white people are trying to figure out how to be allies to people of color and finding it confusing and much more complicated than they imagined. Others hold fast to prejudice, stereotypes, and hate as if they were life preservers during a flood. Fear drives them deeper into the arms of extremist groups dedicated to keeping the staus quo of power intact. Still others attempt to explain exactly how “not racist” they are and remain blind to how their excuses hurt their black and brown sisters and brothers.

To grossly understate our present reality: This is an uncomfortable time to be human.

One of the best things about being human is that we can choose to embrace this discomfort rather than wait until it passes. We can enter into unknown territory armed with curiosity and willingness to get answers that we might not want to hear.

In her book Americanah, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie writes:

“If you don’t understand, ask questions. If you’re uncomfortable about asking questions, say you are uncomfortable about asking questions and then ask anyway. It’s easy to tell when a question is coming from a good place. Then listen some more. Sometimes people just want to feel heard. Here’s to possibilities of friendship and connection and understanding.”

If you are interested in asking the uncomfortable questions and ready for challenging answers, join us as we read and discuss the book White Fragility by Dr. Robin DiAngelo. There will be three sessions starting in late August. For more details and to register, please visit our events page.

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