When most people think of racism, visions of terrorism delivered mano a mano come to mind. You know … slavery, white hoods, lynchings, and other acts of abject terrorism and the trauma they leave in their wake come to mind. Interpersonal racism’s more comely, yet equally damaging sibling:institutional racism is not only alive and well, but thriving in the most unlikely of places. The time has come to shine a light on a textbook example to provide a better understanding.
It’s not so much that I, as a black man, am chomping at the bit to talk about racism with white people, but if asked about it, I’m eager to share my thoughts. I recently posted a couple of articles to my Facebook page on race relations in America and racism to offer a different point of view and several thoughtful discussions took place on my page.
A couple of weeks after Easter Sunday, a very dear friend of mine, Mrs. Adams, received a call that her brother-in-law, an Orlando resident, died. This would be bad news for most people, but for my friend this news was fraught with additional angst.
- She is ninety-five years old and lives just outside Westchester, New York.
- Although Mrs. Adams spent decades in central Florida, Orlando is not a place full of happy memories for her. Having witnessed Ku Klux Klan marches and experienced more social and civil injustices than you or I could imagine, you can understand why upon leaving the Sunshine State ten years ago, Mrs. Adams (a Black woman) had no intention of ever returning to Florida.
For the longest time I’ve wanted to broach the subject of racism on my blog, but I wasn’t sure where or how to start the conversation. Earlier this week, Cheryl Strayed, the #1 New York Times best selling author of the memoir Wild (which became a hugely popular film starring Reese Witherspoon) posted this article by Dr. Robin DiAngela (which I have reposted below in its entirety) on her Facebook page. The following article is by no means a blanket indictment, but an important and insightful starting point for dialog.