I am married to a person of color, mother to three mixed-race young men and the loving Aunt of two fabulous young Black women. I have friends from all over the country, the continent and world.
That means nothing about my whiteness. Or whether or not I carry my cultural, racial bias with me like a purse full of prejudice every day.
Yes, I do get to see some things at some times through a little sliver of a lens that offers me a tiny glimpse of a view beyond that which I see on my own. I wouldn’t have that tiny sliver without the people who I love dearly who experience walking this earth in different skin that I do.
Sometimes my husband tells me things that he doesn’t usually say to White people. And when I say usually, I have only one time, in thirty years of marriage, heard him tell other White people this kind of thing, and that was a super big, extenuating situation. But this doesn’t mean I understand what it means to be Asian in today’s western culture. I have heard stories, I have witnessed his experience, or some of it. But that’s all.
As a White parent I got to be outraged when someone called my kid “chink.”
But it doesn’t allow me to understand the world by beloved family lives in a whole lot better. Yes, a little tiny bit. Tiny.
When a Black man was shot by a cop not far at all from where my niece lives in Minnesota, my niece who is raising a fine young Black boy who will soon also be a fine young Black man, I did reach out to her because my heart hurt maybe just a little more than it would have if I didn’t have her in my circle of love. But I still don’t understand. Not really.
And I am still walking through this world in white skin.
So, dear white siblings, let us never, ever, ever, ever, ever use the people who we are acquainted with, or know, or call friends, or love, as the reason we are not biased, racist, supremacist.
Please let us not say in our defense “I have friends who are (Black) (Asian) (Latino/Latina) (Native American) (Ambiguously ethnic)” as anything other than….OK, I can’t think of a time this phrase is appropriate.
Read this, it’s not ever appropriate.
We are learning. We are, all of us, ALL of us, a work in progress. We do what we can. And then we try to do better. I am waist deep in the lessons. Learning. But this one I get.