How I Intend to Make a Difference
Jan 12, 2021
The one thing I am an expert in
January 12th, 2021
No photo today. I couldn't think of an image that would be appropriate for this week's newsletter. Also, I haven't gotten much work done since last Wednesday, and to be truthful, I fell down the news cycle rabbit hole. Politics is not what this newsletter is about. And I don't intend to write about the white supremacist coup attempt that happened last week. There are plenty of other well-informed writers who are tackling the subject of politics much better than I can. With that said, today, I don't have the energy to write a lite article about the topics I usually write about. Today, it's about me.
I have given a lot of thought over the past several years to how I can make a difference in our world. There was the #MeToo and then the #TimesUp movements that were hearting to see take hold. Racial justice has been an issue brewing for years and years now. It exploded on the scene this past summer with Black Lives Matter being the most recent culmination of the racial justice movement. Hell, Climate change has been an issue since before I was a kid in the 70s' when we recycled notebook paper in the classroom. I want to have a voice somewhere in all of this activity for change. I don't feel qualified though.
Through social media, I took a run at speaking out. It didn't go so well. There always seems to be someone ready to poke holes in my point of view. And granted, there are many people who spend way more time researching topics and are much better informed than I am. There were also times that I would unintentionally shame or judge others. Only realize what I had done after the fact and then feel bad about it. So, because of a lack of expertise or a misplaced sense of righteousness, social media is not a place I am comfortable speaking out.
To become an expert on any of the trending movements was out of my interest and comfort zone. I am a generalist and am happy to know a little bit about a lot of things. However, I feel that I need to find something that pushes me out of my comfort zone and that I know a great deal about. The one thing I do know a lot about, from a deep, lifelong personal experience, is that of being a privileged white man in America. And what will push me out of my comfort zone is to write about my experience and efforts to see my own prejudices and identify my racism toward others.
Why would I even do this? What's the point? We have been hearing that white people need to own the problem of racism and figure it out for ourselves if we want real change. The people who say that are absolutely correct. Racism is a problem white people created centuries ago, literally hundreds and hundreds of years ago. It's a problem only white people can fix. As a white guy who has spent nearly sixty years living in a culture of white superiority and with the notion that I am not a racist, it is extraordinarily challenging to understand how I am more than a small part of the problem; I am the problem.
I intend to explore my part in perpetuating the problem of racism. Possibly, by doing this, other white men, or white people in general, will have the patience and courage to read my account and reflect on their own role in our society. Being a white guy, I am uniquely qualified to opine on the topic of my own unexplored racism.
This week I will publish the first issue of a new blog where I will write about my experience in becoming less racist. I will do my best to be honest with myself and my readers. It will be messy. I will make mistakes and say things that I later retract or correct. I will zoom right past blind spots that others see, but I can't. I will try to be hard on myself, which is difficult for a guy that has never had to do that (b/o white privilege). I expect pushback from those very people who can't see their own complicity in racism - I don't care, let them push. And I welcome input, feedback, and criticism from the people who racism affects the most. With all of this, I am leaving my comfort zone. I will be venerable. For those who don't know, being vulnerable is something that white privilege makes optional.
If you would like to join me and read about my decidedly white experience in recognizing my racism, send me an email, and I will add you to the email list. I hadn't planned on launching this newsletter quite so soon, so none of the publishing platform or email list is set up yet. It doesn't matter. I can run things manually for a few weeks. The timing is important, though, since our country is spinning out of control. One of our two political parties has been taken over by white nationalists/supremacists. All I need is one person to want to hear what I have to say about my experience to make this worthwhile. If you send an email with "subscribe" in the subject line to firstname.lastname@example.org, then you will have made my effort worth the work. Maybe together, we can make America as pleasant of a place to live for people of color as it is for white people.
Thanks for reading