As a straight, white guy, I try never to understate my privilege. I understand that I will never be able to truly comprehend what people without my privilege have gone through.
However, I can work to learn. To listen. To do what I can to remain vigilant and always think before I speak or act. I will make mistakes, we all will. People are inherently flawed. For example, although well intentioned, our choices of words are sometimes hurtful. White people have been calling themselves allies- I just read an article about why it’s not good enough to call yourself an ally. That ally inherently indicates a choice in the fight for equality and justice. I’m reading a lot of articles lately that are humbling me, making me understand just how much work I need to do, to get to the place where I can help and stop hurting. I do know one thing- I don’t see this as a choice.
We will remain in the fight as long as it takes to bring equality, justice, and peace. At the very least, this means reading, listening to, and amplifying Black voices. There is so much we don’t know, and it’s time to invest in researching.
Pick up a book or watch a documentary. Acquire knowledge to arm yourself in the fight against ignorance. I don’t know about you, but I currently don’t have enough ammunition, and that’s a symptom of my privilege I am choosing to treat right now.
Ignorance and racism are loud, and it’s not good enough to just call the perpetrators of this hatred crazy; we need to combat that crazy with truth. Platforms like FOX News and OANN will try and distort the message of Black Lives Matter, Defund the Police, and Common Sense Gun Laws; don’t let them. Educate yourself, and call out bullshit every time you hear it.
If you are not sure what you can do, you are far from alone. And if it takes reading a few books to get me started in the right direction, cool. Big Bang Theory reruns can wait.
This is an invitation to join me. I am asking you to switch up your priorities, and begin to incorporate materials that might help you develop firm rebuttals to the arguments they will get thrown in your face.
Streaming services are doing the searching for us, and many have provided a list of titles to start with. Start there. If you don’t know the history of this country because public schools have been too afraid to teach it, then start to learn. Learn why it’s criminal that our school system thought it was easier to not educate us on the systemic racism that has plagued our country since its founding. Educating us would have been admitting fault, admitting failure. That is where we need to start in order to heal. Acceptance, education, and action.
I’m personally starting with two books:
How To Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
Please feel free to join me and my wife in these reads, and share your thoughts with us.
I have been sharing comic/graphic novel reviews of titles important to the times on Twitter @comics_teacher, but if you are looking for a few to start with, I’d suggest March, Your Black Friend, and I Am Alfonso Jones. Click each title for my review.
Please check back this week as I will be reviewing and featuring even more books that you should give a look.
Keep getting better. Listen. Speak up. Get someone registered to vote!