HOPE THROUGH CONVERSATIONS : RACISM
A few weeks ago, I happened to see my cousin’s husband talking, very emotionally, on Instagram and it caught my attention. He was talking about the first time he was called the n word. I began to cry at my desk at the thought of someone being so cruel to such a beautiful person. I thought of him as a beautiful innocent young boy and how horribly hurt he must have felt. I was so sad and so angry at the same time. I thought, “How can anyone treat another person so cruelly because of the color of their skin? How can anyone watching not be moved?” He is someone’s son, now someone’s husband.
I then began to make some calls to see how some of my friends were doing. The conversations were eye-opening and I became sadder and even angrier. I really had no idea what some of them had gone through their whole lives. One of my girlfriends said, “Rose, how would you know if we don’t tell you?” Another girlfriend said, “We have been talking about the same race issues for years.” To which I said, “Who is “we”? You never told me about this stuff?” Then, it hit me. The black community has been talking about racism and what they experience on a daily basis, but were white people tuning in? I didn’t know many white people who were watching or listening to a black person’s Instagram, Podcast or BET – unless they had black friends or family. So, how was this type of insight going to reach the white community?
I soon began to realize that although I love my black friends and family and I, nor my family, would never treat someone differently because of the color of their skin, it was simply not enough. When there are 60% white Americans and 13% black Americans, I realized that as a white person, I, we, need to help our black brothers and sisters make this a country where everyone is truly treated equally. We are all Americans and we are all Human. Period. The history of this country is horrendous with regard to slavery, no doubt. However, I believe it is time that we begin to have open dialogue to undue the generational patterns that we have all inherited in terms of identity, fear and hate. Perceptions of other people and our perceptions of how they think and what they believe. People do not know, what they don’t know — so let’s have a conversation!
I asked my friends what they thought of my starting my podcast and the first series being focused on racism. Me being a white woman, with a predominantly white following on social media, could bring some awareness to black culture and perception, that otherwise would not occur. They loved the idea. Not knowing how to start or what to do, but knowing in my heart that I needed to do something, I started on a prayer and sheer determination to do something to try to create change. I asked each person for grace and sometimes had to give grace to others.
If you are a white person the chances that you live next door to or have a black friend is statistically speaking – slim. Therefore, how are you going to understand another’s culture? beliefs? fears? etc. I invite you to send in your questions. Again, if you are white, you may not know any black people intimately or if you are black you may not know any white people intimately. Think about it, who would you ask these questions? How will we ever learn about one another? You can send your questions to HopeThroughConversations@gmail.com and I will address them in upcoming segments in a respectful, meaningful dialogue.
In the various segments we talk about topics such as: Colorism, high yellow, a black woman’s hair, the police – good and bad, generational fears, the n word used in hate and used within the black culture and rap music, peaceful demonstrations vs. rioting, assumptions, trust issues, perceptions, and more.
We all agree. There are good and bad people everywhere you go and in every profession. These conversations are for giving insight and hopefully change, by understanding other people’s feelings, experiences and perceptions.
I have learned so much in sitting down and having conversations with these beautiful women and I am honored that they trusted me with such an uncomfortable subject matter and so proud of them for being so vulnerable. In turn, each of them has said they have learned something as well. There are moments of intense emotion especially given the timing of some of these conversations. In the end, we all understand that the objective of this podcast is about raising our words and not our voices so that people will truly listen and hear. It is about educating one another and sparking change.
My hope is that you too will learn something from each of these ladies and you will continue to conversation in your home, with your friends and in your community.
I hope to continue the series with black men, white men, white women and police officers. We need to have open conversations if we are going to make a change as many times our beliefs are the result of our “perception” formed by our family, friends, community, etc. The media is so skewed, many of us do not know what to believe. The net-net, this world is beautiful because of the differences we all have. However, as you will hear, we have many, many more similarities than we do differences. The most important of all – we are ALL human beings with Mothers, Fathers, Daughters and Sons.
I truly believe that there is always Hope Through Conversations … Please join me for this series on racism so that we can make our communities, country and this world a better place.
Hope Through Conversations:
Women Of Faith