We Should Give (Some) White People More Credit

Be Who You Are

It’s not comfortable, but race, now more than ever, is a topic we have to discuss. I say *have to* because from current global politics to popular culture, our differences could tear us apart as a species.

The few bright spots in the sea of contestation for middle ground include the recent election of Emmanuel Macron in place of right wing nationalist Marine Le Pen.

And the support I received last week while discussing various approaches to teaching difference.

For the 20 or so people I talked to, not one of them thought it was okay to categorize difference by skin color alone. (Well, to be fair, one person didn’t initially see a problem, but assured me after reflection, that the approach was indeed problematic.)

These were people of all “stripes” if you will: white, black, shades in between, Americans, Brits, Scandinavians, latinos, South Asians, Arabs, males and females …

Two things gave me heart:

First, the number of people willing to use outward appearances as the starting point for discussions on diversity is shrinking.

Second, several of my white friends offered to come forward and express their concerns. I hope they follow through.

Because in the final discussion with decision makers, I was not the best messenger. This was a startling lesson because, well you know, writers write and we persuade (or try to).

I have a legacy of speaking up (which you probably know and expect from me as a reader of this blog).

Almost everyone thanked me for coming forward and raising the issue.

But as I now I know, and am cautioning you, that the nail that sticks out also gets the hammer.

In the span of a lifetime, this will be a blip on my screen. The incident overall gave me tremendous respect for the struggle of all of those before us.

Gandhi, Mandela, MLK Jr, Susan B. Anthony.

The list goes on and on.

How did they keep themselves going through jailing, beating, and derision?

No change was made without some sacrifice. Or allies.

Make sure you have yours. You’ll need them for the journey.

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