The R word

If you’ve got a minute, or a Kindle, or eyes, or 11 bucks, or all of them, definitely check out Ibram’s How to be an Anti Racist. I’m really loving digging into his brain. He reflects not just on the historical roots of racism but also how he, as a black man, has participated in racism. What’s resonating with me the most so far is the concept that the word ‘Racist’ has become what he calls a pejorative, a bad word, a thing that well-meaning white people are HORRIFIED OF BEING. It’s such a bad word that we spend a lot of time and energy swearing and proving that we are NOT. But if the word were instead just a state of being — a description of actions that one sometimes takes — then we could actually look more deeply at our behavior and choices, and be more transparent about them, more honest with ourselves. He also says that a person can’t BE a racist, but they can make racist choices based off of racist ideas. As much as I believe that some people truly are racists, I also really appreciate what he’s saying — because it allows space for redemption. If I do something racist, I don’t have to spend hours flogging myself, hiding my behavior, pretending it didn’t happen, denying, etc — I can simply acknowledge, that was racist, learn from it, move forward. In this version of the world, the one in which I don’t deny, but learn, there is a greater chance of the behavior not happening again. IBRAM, HAVE WE SOLVED IT YET? NO? BUT KEEP TALKING, PLEASE. I AM HERE.

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