While it might be uncomfortable, discouraging, and heart-breaking for people with white privilege to hear, we must continue to do more and do better, dismantle harder, engage more fiercely, provide more space, critique our own thoughts and actions, every single day.
Even with how anti-racist we or anyone claims to be, the truth is we can never be fully free of racism within an inherently racist system. And for those of us with white privilege, this is something we are being invited to learn and know – the complexities of our own implicit racism.
All of us are born into an environment that has taught us to devalue, discount, exclude, eradicate, push down, push out, and reduce the stories, talents, experiences, needs, and wants of those with melanated skin.
Our systems and ways of seeing and interacting with the world are difficult to deconstruct because those of us that have been afforded privileges within these systems are often shielded from the damage, violence and sometimes even death of these systems.
We cannot ignore that we MUST change if we are ever going to heal the injustices of the last four hundred years.
A non-exhaustive, shortlist of what you can do right now…
- Donate to BlackLivesMatter, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Don’tShootPDX, Black Visions Collective (Minn).
- Eat at and support black-owned businesses in Portland.
- Read books on anti-racism.
- Protest where you live. There may be a plethora of local vigils, protests, marches, sit-ins planned where you live. Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor (NYT) describes why protests are needed right now. A good place to start for Portland is Portland Resistance, Rose City Justice, or Unite Oregon social media pages. Organizers are also looking for resources like bottled water, snacks, and people to fulfill jobs like litter pickup at gathering sites. Check with specific groups around current needs.
- For those of us who are white, sit with the discomfort of racism, racist systems, and the privileges we as white folx have that shield us from the violence.
- If not black, check on black friends, without expectation. Don’t expect them to process with you, or even to answer you. Simply offer to send a meal (postmates), purchase medicine/herbs for them, buy groceries, send money, offer to listen, offer services.