“When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new.” – Dalai Lama
My parents divorced when I was seven. Raised by a single mother, my three brothers and I had a challenging life. Was it horrible? No. Not at all! But one cannot discount the negatives that affect fractured families.
Still, I honestly didn’t think much of it. It didn’t matter to me a whole lot. Despite these challenges while growing up, I made it out OK in the end. Not entirely without wounds, but certainly living a life many would consider thriving.
I say all this for one reason. These setbacks I mentioned, none of them were due to my race. Being a White male did not add more burden to an already burdened life.
This is the definition of privilege.
I’ve learned that having privilege doesn’t mean I am a bad person. It doesn’t mean I didn’t struggle or get hurt along the way. I just know that my race played no factor in my struggles.
I didn’t have to worry about being pulled over driving while Black. I didn’t have to worry about having weed I didn’t own or have on my possession mysteriously show up on the ground next to me during a suspicious arrest. I didn’t have to worry that my name held me back on resumes. And, most of all, I didn’t have to worry that I wouldn’t come home that night while getting groceries.
The more I read, the more I listen, the more I research, I am convinced that I need to use whatever means I must educate others, speak up, and ensure I am being a positive influence towards a more just tomorrow. What injures the hive, injures the bee. I want to be good for the hive.
So, this blog post is about amplifying voices. Specifically, it is about amplifying voices of Black and brown professionals for White ears. For anything to change, my fellow White folks need to acknowledge a great many things about American history – about world history. The narrative isn’t what many have been taught. Racism isn’t just real. It’s what this country was built on. Sometimes implicitly. Many times explicitly. Always destructively.
Racism must end, and I am only one man, but I cannot sit idly by and do nothing!
I have a voice and platform. I want to use them to enhance the voices of individuals from whom I have learned. These folks have something worth saying, and I want to share that with others. I am a better person for hearing what they have to say, and many of us will be if we open our minds and silence our own biases and assumptions.
To all White folks – Read. Learn. Get uncomfortable. And then change things.
Note: Apologies for the links. I wanted to embed these posts, but LinkedIn and WordPress don’t play nice together! If anyone knows anything I don’t, happy to learn, but I didn’t want technology to stop my sharing these posts!
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