Knowing Better and Doing Better

Knowing Better and Doing Better
Photo by Andrea Spidell,

I am inadequate to speak to the race issues that have been at a peak these last few weeks. I am a privileged white person. I don’t know what it is like for people of color in my city and all across this country. But I’m writing about it today because it matters to me and it should matter to all of us.

So today, I want to share a little about what I’ve learned so far and what I am learning as we move forward to make things different and better for our kids and our kids’ kids.

Five years ago we adopted the most beautiful baby girl. Obviously, I’m biased, but everywhere we go people always stop us and comment on her beauty. She is stunningly beautiful. She is also a person of color. She is biracial – black and white, and she was adopted into our white family. That was something that my husband and I were thrilled about, and also something that we knew we had a big responsibility in how we parented her, like making sure there are people in her life who look like her, learning how to care for her hair and skin well, teaching her about her culture, and not making her white like us. There are things that I have done okay at and things that I have really not done well. Isn’t that how parenthood goes in general?

In talking to friends and people around me who are black, I have learned a lot, while still having so much more to learn. I want to share some of what I have learned/am currently doing with you. And if you have something to add to this list, I’d love to hear it!

Learn/Educate Yourself

Here are some excellent books to read. We need to educate ourselves and learn the history, learn what people are going through currently, learn about our white privilege. Here are some excellent books to read if you are willing to do the work:

  • White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo
  • So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Olou
  • The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
  • I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown
  • How to be Antiracist by Ibram X Kendi
  • Me and White Supremacy by Layla F Saad

If you enjoy listening to podcasts, you can check out this one that I was able to be a part of last week.

Have Friends Who Don’t Look Like You

Broaden your circle. Diversify your crowd. Have people in your life who you are truly friends with who look and are different from you. It’s amazing who we meet and know when we take the time to get to know some new people.

Actions Are Louder Than Words

Don’t post on social media because it’s trendy or a fad right now. In fact, I’ve had black friends tell me that they don’t care whether you post on social media or not. What they care about is what are you doing in your life. If you post about it on Facebook or Instagram or spend lots of time retweeting, but you don’t actually do the work, have conversations, and get involved in your circles, then it’s just empty words. So speak up in your life and take action.

Support Local Businesses

We all know the saying “put your money where your mouth is.” What better way to do that in this case than to support businesses that are owned by people of color! Check out this great list of locally-owned small businesses and go out and support them. This is now on my list of things to start doing.

If you are a person of color reading this and you have more suggestions for us, please let us know. We are seeking to learn, humbly listening, and eager to partner with you.


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