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I thought being "colorblind" was enough. It wasn't. It's not.

(originally published on June 7th 2020)

I might know quite a lot about a lot of things and I can talk a lot about them. And while I certainly do that, I have this kind of a rule that I do my best to obey at all times, and it is that I don't talk about things I don't know much about. I don't feel comfortable doing it and I usually either avoid doing it or I postpone the conversation until I've done my research and I'm ready to discuss the given topic.

And there are certain topics that I really don't mind avoiding. It's taken me a very long time to accept the fact that I don't need to know everything and I am now able to let go of feeling guilty every time I encounter a topic I know very little or nothing about. It's okay to not be an expert at everything. I'm now much more able to let go of the need to research and go deep into every single thing I encounter on my way. With certain things, I have learned to trust others' opinions and guidance and that's okay. Some topics I just don't get involved in at all. But once in a while there comes up a topic that I cannot allow myself to avoid simply because, as seemingly humble as it might sound, I don't feel like I know enough to talk about it. One such example is the recent series of protests all over the world regarding the Black Lives Matter movement and in general the topic of racism.

Allow me to explain.


I have always openly stated that I believed that we, as human beings, are all born equal. That we are all one race, the human race. (I don't even subscribe to the notion that we have a right to call ourselves superior when it comes to other species with whom we share our Earth, but that's a whole different topic). I have always believed that the only thing that makes us different is everyone's wonderfully extraordinary uniqueness, (a diversity that should be celebrated, cherished and shared in order to enrich this world and everyone's lives), but other than that we are all one and the same. That's what I grew up believing in and that's what I have always taught others.


When I first heard the word "colorblind" used in the context of race and racism I thought it described me well. As humans, it's in our nature to categorize, and thus we can never really be racially colorblind, but we, all of us homo sapiens, also have the ability to use our more advanced parts of the brain and look beyond our automatic behaviors, the almost-primal patterns of categorizing.


I have to admit that I've always taken a little bit of pride in my ability to challenge my own first impressions whose bases come from the simplest thought processes as well as implicit biases imprinted in us by the society and the culture we live in.


When I was younger I did my best to even avoid using color adjectives where it wasn't necessary as I never liked using the color names to describe people in the first place, because I always felt that it was too much of a generalization and that it brought too many negative connotations with it. And I'm not only talking about the "black", "red" or "yellow" colors. I've always had a problem with calling white people "white" and non-white people "people of color". I also remember thinking when I was a kid, that the white person who first came up with this clearly must not have owned a mirror, cause looking in my mirrors I always saw everything BUT white... Not to mention the idea of one race's superiority over another always seemed absolutely outrageous to me. With time however, I did realize that it- using colors adjectives- simplified things a bit when discussing the topic of race and I've learned to use them when appropriate.


Although my brain would certainly notice someone whose skin was of a different shade than mine I would always consciously make a CHOICE to let that be just a regular adjective and ignore any negative or positive connotations that the world I've grown up in has implicitly planted inside of me. I educated myself on what those implicit seeds are or could be. I recognized them and was therefore able to spot them and dig them up before they had a chance to sprout. This way I've been able to de-condition my mind and with time get rid of the unwanted seeds.

I have done this all my life and I am not going to lie, I genuinely, wholeheartedly thought- up until about 2 months ago- that that was enough. That being racially colorblind was the answer. That teaching ourselves and then raising our kids to be racially colorblind is how we "solve" the problem of racial inequality.


And that would have probably been a very good solution if we had decided to think this way a couple of centuries ago. It might have been enough then. But we hadn't done it then. And now I see that I had been quite ignorant to believe that it would be enough right now.


I can see now that I'd never been properly educated about racism. Ever.

I was a Caucasian kid growing up surrounded by the white-centered culture of the Western world. In Europe we learned about the Holocaust, in the States we learned about slavery. Both those topics have always horrified me to the point that I would cry reading about them and would do my best to avoid watching any films about them because it was just too much for me. The suffering, the humiliation, the helplessness, the injustice, the cruelty, the ease with which people were able to inflict pain, to mistreat and murder other human beings based on their nationality, skin color, gender or any other preposterous reason, all in order to gain or retain power... I used to think I was just weak, now I know that as an HSP (Highly Sensitive Person) it was simply too much for me, because the way my brain works I was able to get "the whole experience" (and then some) after only reading a short paragraph, I didn't need anything more, say a film, to make me feel something, to make me understand the horror of it all.


So I knew. I knew that it was wrong. I knew it was horrendous. I hated that it all happened. But I was never taught about the consequences of those kind of events that span beyond just some people disliking certain people.

I have always been against anything that divided people into better and worse simply because of their skin color, nationality, culture, gender, believes, or sexual orientation. I always say that as long as you're not harming anyone by the way you live your life (following your culture's rules, following your religious believes, following your heat's desire) you're okay to do so. And perhaps that's one of the reasons why, throughout my whole life, none of my white educators ever thought to sit me down and discuss the topic of racism with me. After all, my attitude of seeing everyone as equal seemed more like a paragon for my peers than anything that would need any correcting. Sadly, I now see that it might have also been due to the possibility that none of those educators was actually able to contribute anything more than "we're all equal" to the conversation...


Now, I still believe that we're all born equal and I doubt this will ever change. But the recent events connected with the Black Lives Matter movement have caused me to check in with myself and delve a little deeper into the topic of racism. Especially since I knew that the uncomfortable feeling I had whenever the topic would come up in the past was mostly due to the fact that I never felt like I had enough knowledge about it to join in the conversation.

I needed to learn more about this for myself, but perhaps even more importantly because I am (among other things) an educator and I have the responsibility to shine a light on this topic, no matter where I am in the world and no matter who my students or clients are. And it seemed like I, possibly not unlike all the people who have educated me in the past, didn't quite know how to talk about this other then to say that racism is wrong and we're all equal. And talk about it we must.


So I spent the last few of weeks educating myself in order to better educate others. And as I delved deeper into my research I realized how ignorant I had been. How much I didn't understand about the white privilege that I share with all other white people, no exceptions. How, by not engaging in the conversation, no matter what my reasons were, I have been taking advantage of my white privilege the wrong way. How even though I do wholeheartedly believe that all lives matter, today, May/June of 2020, is not the time to wave that particular sign over our heads. I realized why it's all about BLACK lives that matter right now. And how in order to get closer to actual equality today, it's not enough for people to just be racially colorblind. Perhaps at this point striving to be colorblind is not even good at all...


It's definitely been a humbling experience. But it was necessary in order to open my eyes to things that I, despite my open-mindedness and sincere tolerance towards all humans alike, had virtually no idea about. I am ashamed it's taken me so long to realize this.

I know that it's partly due to the culture I've grown up in, to the fact that in mostly white communities that I have lived (in many places across the globe) this topic never came up. Not once.

That's not right.

Because the fact that we can afford to not have this conversation in places in the world dominated by Caucasian people doesn't mean that we should avoid it.

I actually think it's equally important to discuss it in places where it's been a problem for decades as well as in places where it seems to be nonexistent. Because that's where we have a unique opportunity to fight the little that does exist of it and perhaps prevent the history repeating itself in the future if we do a good job educating ourselves and our children on the consequences of any kind of discrimination against any kind of minority.


Though I don't know if anyone will even take the time to read all of this, I'm pretty sure that no matter how many people it will be, the majority of them will be white. And it's to those of you who are white, (and perhaps as oblivious about being ignorant about this as I was), that I would like to direct this post. I'd like to share with you some very basic information that I have found to be important. Things that I've been sharing with people for the last couple of weeks to help them (and myself) better grasp what has been going on and why. To complement my own words I'd like to also share a few videos I've found to be very helpful in explaining this topic to others over the last couple of weeks, (they're mostly very short, so please watch them as they provide additional information I didn't want to repeat in my writing).

And please don't take this the wrong way. I'm not coming at you from some kind of a pedestal. Like I said, I myself was ignorant to most of those things just about a month ago. I'm sharing this with you because I wish someone had shared it with me much earlier.

Also, please note, that I am by NO means an expert in this field, I definitely am outside of my comfort zone here, but nevertheless, for the last few weeks, I've been doing my research and then doing my best to simplify the topic for the sake of making it as easy to comprehend for others as possible. The videos I picked here were purposely meant to be taken from sources closer to popular culture than academic scholars in this field. I apologize in advance if my explanation doesn't sound scientific enough to you or doesn't include everything that perhaps you think it should, (please feel free to contact me if there's anything more you believe I should know/add), but hopefully it's enough to get you going on your own.

So let's go.


The Definition


First of all, let's start with what racism even is. We all know it, but sometimes it's good to bring up a written definition to clarify some things.

One, perhaps most well-known definition of racism is that it's discrimination, prejudice and/or hatred of a person based solely on the color of their skin, that has to do with "the belief that different races possess distinct characteristics, abilities, or qualities, especially so as to distinguish them as inferior or superior to one another".


Honestly, just wring that makes me cringe a little bit. That's what I though racism was. And it is, but there is more to it. I feel like this definition covers only something I, (again: not an expert in sociology or history at all), would call "individual racism". It explains the "I don't like you, because you're <insert a skin color different from yours>" kind of mindset. So that's individual. Then there is the racism that has the power to affect large groups of people because it's exhibited by not just one person but a group of people.


For that I like the definition given by dr. Akil Khalfani, director of Essex County College's Africana Institute in this video (also below), that racism is "the power of one group to affect the life chances of another group". I like it because it points to the consequences of what a racist mindset on a scale larger than an individual person can do. It can affect the life chances of others. It seems so straightforward when it's pointed out, it's a no-brainier that it does, and yet I don't remember ever being taught about this aspect of it, especially in the context of the contemporary times.


And then there is another extremely important aspect that invites another definition under the umbrella of racism, one that nowadays should be an inseparable part of this definition, both in a dictionary and in our understanding of what racism is. That's systemic racism. That is all the ways in which life opportunities of a group of people are negatively affected due to racially discriminating laws, regulations and practices implemented in various social and political institutions, but also, (in places where those laws and practices are a thing of the past), due to their repercussions STILL resulting in a discriminatory treatment of that group of people- unequal rights and opportunities they have may have when it comes to employment, health care, political representation, criminal justice, financial situation, housing, education, and so on.


You see, I knew there were still racist people around. But I am ashamed to say that I thought systemic racism ceased to exist when the Jim Crow laws (essentially the American laws enforcing racial segregation) were abolished in the 1960s and was now a thing of the past. It very much isn't so, and that is, in essence, what all the protest/movements are about right now. Because even if we all miraculously taught our kids right this second to really treat everyone equally, the systemic racism would still prevail, because it's bigger than just one person, it's bigger than a group of people. It's the result of decades, if not centuries, of social conditioning and the political and social systems it produced. There is no one single person or institution responsible and that's what makes it so hard to beat. In a way we're all responsible, all of us who don't stand up to how things are and demand change. Because if you're silent, you're allowing things to go on just as they were.

And one of the worst things about this is that if you're white there's a very big chance you don't even realize there's anything wrong with the way things are.


Here is a short video that gives you a glimpse into the roots of today's racism towards black people in the US.


Below is a TEDx talk by James A. White Sr. describing his experience of living in the US over the last 50 years as a black man, a former member of the US Air Force, a father, and now a grandfather and an entrepreneur.


A very simple explanation of the complex concept of systemic racism:

and a useful pdf info-graphic that goes with it.


You may also want to watch this video that explains institutional racism through Michael Jackson's "Black or White" song.


There is also another problem connected to the way we define racism, especially as white people. We tend to think that racism is only something conscious and intended. If you call someone racist they usually get offended because to be racist is considered bad. And since being racist is usually understood as intentional and conscious, by calling someone racist you're making that person a "bad person". We all take it very personally and get offended. As that happens we shift the focus of the conversation back to us and the actual topic of racism gets pushed off the table. And while, yes, some people are consciously racist in their perception and treatment of people whose skin color differs from their own, most of us are not actually unaware of all the racism we're all immersed in, about the biases mentioned in the above video... hence the word "implicit". Pointing this out is not meant to make you feel guilty, it's not your fault, you were simply born into it, however, it IS on us if we just go along with it without trying to change it.

Please take a moment to watch this short video by BigThink featuring Robin DiAngelo, the author of the book "White Fragility", most known for her work on studying whiteness in the contemporary world.

Towards the end of the video DiAngelo presents some of the ways we've (mostly subconsciously) come up with that more often than not enable us to avoid engaging in the topic of race. We often justify it to ourselves by seeing pointing race out as what divides us and therefore nobly dismissing the subject completely. But it's a couple of centuries too late for that kind of nobility, because of all the inequality that racism, both explicit and implicit has already caused. A lot of which we, as white people, have no idea about.



White Privilege


Now that we've covered at least the tip of the iceberg that is the definition of racism. Let's move on to white privilege. If you're Caucasian = white, you have it. There are no exceptions here.

I wouldn't be surprised if some of you felt a little offended and/or defensive hearing that you have it, thinking that having it means you're pompous or self-important, that you've had it easy. If that's the case, I might actually suggest that it's quite the opposite. It may be that you don't feel privileged in your life and perhaps that's why you resent being called that. Perhaps you don't come from a rich family, and nothing was ever handed to you on a silver platter, you had to work hard all your life, you never got to skip any lines (that you know of), maybe you have been bullied or a victim of sexist treatment... Even if you've had a very tough life, if you're white you still have white privilege. I'm going to go even a little further and suggest that not knowing you have white privilege is probably one of the biggest signs that you have it.


Because white privilege has nothing to do with having an easy life, a trust-fund and financial or emotional sense of security. It has nothing to do with whether or not you've suffered of any mental or physical illnesses or traumas. It has nothing to do with whether you have a penthouse on the Upper East Side. It has nothing to do with luck or lack thereof. It has to do with you NOT experiencing all of the discrimination and prejudice on an individual, group and/or systemic level that people of races other than white experience on a daily basis ON TOP of whatever their life may look like. It's like an additional layer, invisible until you actually contrast your life against the life of someone whose life on paper seems to be very similar to yours but their skin color isn't.

Here's a short video by Allison Holker and her husband, Stephen “tWitch” Boss, giving us a perfect definition of the kind of privilege we're talking about here.


If you never even thought about any or most of those things then you definitely have it.

You see, no one is talking here about whether or not they had a loving upbringing, a nice car or a great job. This is a whole other set of issues virtually invisible to white people. Alison as a white person has had to deal with only one of those issues because her child is of mixed race. If her husband and son were white, she wouldn't need to lower any fingers at all. On the other hand, Stephen, who is black, ran out of fingers before the statements even finished. That's white privilege in a nutshell.


Below is a brief explanation of white privilege from Jimmy Kimmel, (begins at 7:40), where he quotes a definition he had read that "white privilege doesn't mean your life hasn't been hard, it just means the color of your skin isn't one of the things that makes it harder". I think that's very well said.

I have to admit that even though I suspected that at times there might have been some "advantage" in this world for me as a Caucasian person as opposed to someone who isn't white, I honestly had no idea there's still SOO much that we, white people, have the privilege of not ever needing to worry about or discuss.


For example, I, like most white people, have been taught to call the police whenever something bad happens and trust them to take care of it. That if someone walks home alone at night and gets afraid and there happens to be a police car nearby they can feel safer, they could even walk over to the police and ask for a ride home.. for their protection... That if the police are here you can take a breath, it's okay, they've got it. Whether I personally have actually felt this way is a different story, but it's definitely what I thought everyone is taught to know and believe. Until quite recently I honestly had no idea that it's part of the normal upbringing for black kids that they are taught how to act so that they don't get killed by the police. That if you are a black person and the police drive by you hold your breath and fear for your life... even if you're a model citizen.


Whenever I observe, study or explain a certain feeling or behavior to people (or to myself) I always like to do my very best to put myself in the shoes of someone experiencing it. Let me just say, as a white person, I don't presume to know how it must feel to struggle with racism on a daily basis as a black or brown person. I know that I will never know exactly know how it feels to be in someone else's skin (figuratively and literally) but I always try to gather all my personal experiences that could be relevant and helpful and fill in the blanks with my knowledge as well as imagination, all the while remembering that no matter how I try I will never REALLY, fully feel how it is to be someone else. Nevertheless, I still believe that empathy and the ability to relate to others' feelings play a very important role in fighting discrimination and prejudice of any kind. So I do my best to find the closes examples I can to relate.


I myself have experienced racial discrimination a few times while traveling alone through South East Asia a few years ago. I remember how awful I felt, but I can barely imagine how horrible this must feel when this is how you're treated most of your life. Today, in the 21st century! But if you've never had such an experience, for the sake of helping you imagine this better I'd like to bring up gender for just a second. I know this post is about race, but bear with me. I have a feeling women might have a tiny bit easier time relating to how it feels to face racial discrimination simply because it feels a little bit like being discriminated against due to not being a man. Because as much as I wish it weren't true, I've never met a single woman or a girl who has never experienced some kind of discrimination based solely on the fact that she's not a guy. (I suppose it's similar for gay and transgender people). If you're a woman (or gay or transgender), try to think back to a time when you were not treated as equal to men, when you were judged unfairly or treated negatively only due to your gender (or sexual orientation) something you have no power over whatsoever. It's just how you are, how you were born and it should play no role in whether you're worthy of being listened to, considered for promotion, or discriminated against in any way.

I know it's not the same as being a victim of racism, but I think it can make it easier for at least some of us to imagine what it must feel like. Though of course, there is much more to it, for instance the incomparable feeling of fear for one's life when hearing the sound of the police siren... Nevertheless, I feel like sexism is a pretty good analogy that might help us to at least begin to understand how this feels. Because if we don't empathize we'll never be able to truly grasp the gravity of this issue.


This is James Corden's lesson on white privilege:

I like that we've been seeing people like Corden, known for their kind and loving personality, finding themselves confused and navigating these uncomfortable conversations. Shining a light on this topic in places we'd never even think a light would need to be turned on. I like that they openly talk about the embarrassment and guilt they feel, but also that, as they get more educated, they realize that well... as well-meaning as they are, it's not about their feelings. Because making it about yourself is doing the exact opposite of helping here. They also promote ways in which we could use our white privilege to actually make a difference.


I feel that it's important to point out that having white privilege means that we always use it, whether we want to or not. But you always have a choice of how you can use it. I wrote before that I realized I hadn't been using my white privilege the right way. I simply, without actually being aware of it, took advantage of it and the luxury I had of not needing to talk about the injustices connected to race nowadays. I didn't know better. Now I do. Because the right thing to do here is to talk about them. To express our views on racism, raise our voice and say out loud that we, as white people, don't agree. Because thanks to white privilege we actually CAN do that.


See, it's kind of like with sexism. If you're a woman I'm sure you'll understand, if you're not perhaps you can still try to relate. If a woman stands up for equal rights for herself (and other women) she's often seen as arrogant, self-righteous, demanding, difficult. But, and unfortunately this is often the case, the minute she is backed up by a man, suddenly his attitude, seen as heroic and selfless, has the power to shine a light at this issue. It's his move that makes it visible to those who actually have the ability to make a change.

I feel like it's a bit like that with using our white privilege. A black person often has no luxury to get angry as he/she will often be seen as out of control, dangerous, perhaps even uncivilized... (just check out some of the media interpretations of the BLM protests- a few paragraphs below) but the moment white people join in the protest they're "so good", fighting for equal rights for everyone... It's awful that it is this way, but if that is how we get heard why not make some good use of this privilege for a change.


Another white privilege definition, this one is from from Sociology Live!.



So why is being racially colorblind not enough?

The short answer, in my opinion, is because it's far too late for that.


It's not enough because we've past that point hundreds of years ago. Today, because of all the inequality and deeply rooted racism, explicit but mostly implicit, we can't just not see race, because ignoring it means turning our heads away from the racial inequality, pretending it doesn't exist when it so clearly does.. it's just that for white people it's not as easy to see. Striving to be colorblind today doesn't solve the problem, it just allows it to persist.

So it seems to me what we actually need to be doing today is consciously noticing race. For some of us that means getting out of our white comfort zone, for other it means having the guts to face our fears of our behaviors being misinterpreted, of being judged for accidental judging on our part. We should talk about race and we should be open to listening to what people of color are saying. Yes, it's uncomfortable at times, but it's the right thing to do.

On the surface, not talking about it may seem like the more comfortable option, but in reality it's what makes this whole thing even more uncomfortable when it does come up, and it will come up. So before we let it go any deeper, let's just do ourselves (and all humans) a favor and open ourselves to the conversation.

Let's see race for all the culture it is linked to and let's respect it. That might be the easy part for many of us- I know it is for me. And then, let's also see it for all the prejudice and discrimination and their inseparable attachment to race we've allowed for way too long. We need to educate ourselves on all the implicit biases, realize the deeply-rooted connotations we might have and do our best to understand where they come form, confront them and challenge them.

Yes, it is difficult and unconformable for me to talk about my white privilege, but I understand that we need to do it, otherwise it will never change. And I guess, there are some people who will be okay with living this way, immersed in and blinded by their while privilege. However since white privilege by definition means that you have something someone else unfairly doesn't, I, for one, am not someone who's able to just go one with my life as usual knowing something like this is going on.

Yes, we, white people have the luxury of not needing to care about this, but it doesn't mean that that's how we should live.

So let's notice color, not only for the precious culture behind each race, but also for all the injustices and inequalities and for all the struggles they cause. As uncomfortable as it may be, let's highlight them because that's the only way we show we're open to talk about this and we at least try to understand, show that we stand in solidarity and we demand change. Change for all of us to really be treated equally.


And this brings me to my next point:


Why this isn't the time for waving the "ALL Lives Matter" signs.


When I first gave a longer thought to the slogan "Black Lives Matter", I have to admit, I felt something along these lines of: "yes, okay, but I believe that all lives matter, so maybe let's not prioritize one race over another, whichever race it may be". I see now, how this was my ignorance speaking. Though my intentions were good, I simply didn't know enough to understand what was wrong with that way of thinking. In case it didn't became apparent from all I've already shared above, let me explain it.


Yes, all lives do matter, absolutely. In the grand scheme of things, we are all equal and everyone's life matters in this world. But right now, at this moment, we focus on black lives, because, as the recent deaths of Breonna Taylor and Gorge Floyd only once again reminded us, our world hasn't treated them equally in so long that saying that all lives matter is simply closing our eyes to all the existing inequality of today. It's like, in order to get everyone on an equal ground we , white people, need to take a little step down, and in the same time reach out a hand and give the people of color (any racial minority really) a boost up. It took me a while to understand that only that can actually lead to real equality. Then, once we're really on the equal ground could we talk about all lives matter and perhaps striving to be racially colorblind in the best way possible. But this is not today and it's not tomorrow. It's much further in the future and only if we do the work now.

I can imagine what some white people might say here, "but I didn't do anything wrong, why should I take a step down, why do I need to do any work here?". This is a view of someone looking at this issue from their own white privilege perspective and not being able (or perhaps not being willing to) see the big picture here. Either because they are ignorant to it or because they chose not to care. That's another reason it's important to talk about this, because shining a light on this topic means that more people will learn about it and therefore will be able to make an informed decision whether or not they care enough to do the uncomfortable work.

And I'm not saying you have to go out and protest, (if that's your thing, by all means go ahead) but I'm mostly talking about self-work here. We need to acknowledge all the ways we've all been racist (be it explicitly or implicitly) and those in which our world has been racist. We need to work on ourselves as individuals to notice our implicit biases and recondition our mind. Show support for the equality of all people by standing in solidarity with racial minorities, (the Black Lives Matter movement among others), and declare that we, as white people, recognize the inequality and will not stand for it any longer. Strive for change on a individual, group and systemic level.

And then, only then, perhaps our kids or grand kids will be able to finally say that all lives matter in a way that doesn't automatically discriminate against the non-white races, and celebrate the cultures of all races and nationalities without so much focus on racial inequalities.



So what can we do?


In short:

Notice and acknowledge the existence of this problem, educate yourself about it, recognize the parts of it that lay within you, listen, be open to feedback, exercise compassion and empathy, seek change and be the change.


Educate yourself.

Do your best to understand what's going on and why this has been such a problem in our society. Hopefully some of what you've just read helped with that.

There's a ton more resources out there, here are some I can recommend right away:


Please check out this list or this list of Anti-Racism Resources (books, articles, videos, podcasts, films, and more).


A list of films (by Time.com) to watch to better understand the current racism protests, in particular the movie "13th" available on Netflix about the effects of the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution.



Edit: June 20th 2020: The Big Think has just released a great compilation of videos of eight speakers (DiAngelo included) on the topic of racism explaining why white Americas inaction must end. If you don't have time to do anything more, at least watch this one, please:

And as you educate yourself realize that, though extremely important, education alone isn't enough.

As Megan Francis, an author and a university professor, argues in her TEDx talk below, there needs to be more. We need to learn from what has worked in history before and take action. She talks about her own experience living in a modern-day United States as a black woman and points to the implicit biases of black people, especially the one about black people being more dangerous which is linked to the statistics that black people in the US are three times more likely to get killed by the police than white people.

She talks about what more, besides educating ourselves, we should do about it and that brings me to my next point.

Recognize the implicit biases and work to change them.

I've already touched on this many times throughout the whole post. Challenging our deeply rooted biases is hard work. It's so easy for us to default to our long established conditioning, even if it's wrong.

Unfortunately it doesn't help that the media don't shy away from using this to improve their ratings as well as to influence the public's perception of reality. One such example is the way the Black Lives Matter protests have recently been portrayed by the media. People like what they know (even if it's all happening on a subconscious level), so the media appeal to our implicit biases. Also, it doesn't hurt that they tend to be negative and negative news sells better. So the media will always look for a scandal, because that gets more views. They will show us the few violent protests and carefully omit talking about the VAST MAJORITY of protests that are peaceful, confirming many of our racist implicit biases that have to do with black people being violent. And they will rarely talk about the reason why some of those protests turn into riots. That it's not just some people deciding they don't like something and throwing a tantrum, but that it's been decades of peaceful protests, of kindly asking for attention to this matter, and that some people have simply had enough of being constantly dismissed and ignored. That perhaps the riots are an emotional response to feeling (invisibly to most white people) oppressed, which doesn't excuse the violent behavior but it helps to make sense of it. So make sure you use your mind and think for yourself when consuming content. Always think about where it comes from and the intentions behind someone wanting you to see the piece of news you're engaging in.


Listen.

Be open to feedback from people of color. Don't shy away from the conversations around racial inequality, as uncomfortable as they may make you feel. And do your best to put yourself in the shoes of people experiencing racial discrimination, exercise compassion towards them, and in the same time, do your best not make it about you.



Act.

You can participate in the protests, but I understand and respect that that's not for everyone. And that's okay. There are plenty of other things you can do to show your support for this cause. You can sign petitions and donate to causes that need funding. You can also be mindful of your consumer choices and make sure you support black-owned businesses.

But I think that most of all, you can make sure you talk about it. We need to keep a conversation going otherwise we allow this issues to stay a taboo and be swept under the rug for other generations to "deal" with, all the while allowing this world's systems and people to mistreat millions of people on a daily basis. So talk about it with the people around you. Talk about it with your kids (resources below). If you have a platform for it, teach about it. Show your solidarity on social media. Even just working on yourself and the above point of recognizing the biases and working to change them is a form of activism, especially if you share it and help others recognize them in themselves as well.


Here are some really useful resources on talking about race with children:

Edit: June 20th 2020:


I realize that some people may get a bit overwhelmed by all of the information and resources and the amount of work there is to be done. If you're one of them, please remember that while I highly recommend doing something, you don't need to do everything. It's enough to choose one thing to start with, perhaps just a little bit of introspection and one film or book. You don't need to do it all, although if you have it in you, by all means go ahead and become a full-on activist for this cause. But if that's not you, just know that the little things matter. Know what it's about, choose to challenge the implicit racist biases and don't avoid talking about racism and that will already be a huge step forward.


I know this hasn't been a short post and I thank you for your time, it really means a lot if you were able to get through it all. Thank you.



Edit, November 2021: I was contacted by an advocate for BLM who kindly shared with me an article about how you can make sure you're expressing your support for BLM online in a safe way. Thought it does contain affiliate links, I've decided to add it to this post because it does highlight a few important points which are things you can watch out for or do without necessarily purchasing anything, for example: making sure you don't use your main e-mail address when signing petitions.


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In this post I focused on racism against black people in the US, mainly because of the current situation, the highly publicized deaths of Breonna Taylor and Gorge Floyd that largely contributed to the recent spike in the number of Black Lives Matter protests all over the world. However, it's important to also remember that other ethnic minority groups are similarly affected by discrimination and systemic racism, both in the United States as well as in many other parts of the world. Hopefully shining light on the topic of racism, this time through the Black Lives Matter movement, will also make it easier for white people to recognize it around them no matter where in the world they live and which racial minority they share their home with.




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