What an Average White Person Like Me Can Do About Racism

This post has been a long time coming. I began thinking about writing it back in August, when Michael Brown’s killing in Feguson first hit the news, well before yesterday’s announcement that Eric Garner’s killer would not be charged with any crime.

This post is about me, an average middle-aged white woman who grew up in the mid-western, Great Lakes city where less than two weeks ago Tamir Rice was tragically killed; me, an average middle-aged white woman who lived for a decade in the Deep South—during that time witnessing  how it remains haunted by the legacy of slavery—and who now resides in the state where Trayvon Martin was unnecessarily killed.

This post is not only about me. It is also about every other average, American white person just like me.

I grew up in a family in which overt racism was tolerated. My adoptive father often made crude, bigoted remarks at home, in front of me, from as early as I can remember. I have strong memories also of extended family members making loud, racist comments and jokes, which were met either with outright laughter in acceptance, or nervous smiles, or plain old silence. Continue reading “What an Average White Person Like Me Can Do About Racism”