Raising White Boys in a White Supremacist America
I didn’t grow up talking or thinking about race. I was never asked to consider my part in the bigger cultural picture of decades of oppression, violence and how white silence perpetuates racism. I didn’t see many black and brown people, and I often didn’t think of them at all. This was normal.
This is a pattern I will not repeat with my own family.
We are learning how to wake up together, my sons, my husband and I.
One time I yelled harshly at my eldest, and when I went in to reconcile with him, he wouldn’t let me. He said he wanted to forget.
I told him that we have to talk about the ways that we hurt each other in order to heal.
When we were talking about the white washing of history on Columbus Day (HOW is this still a thing?!), I reminded him about that interaction. White people don’t want to remember and acknowledge the ugly truth of this country’s history, so they change or disappear it. And with it, the true stories of survival and strength in the worst possible conditions. I’m trying to talk about stealing people from their homeland and enslaving them, the rape of the land and people on it, the violence, hatred and oppression that were born from greed and continue to disrespect basic humanity today.
I want us to heal as a nation, but there is so much that has to happen first. White people and the system that supports White Supremacy have to stop. We have to acknowledge and be appropriately ashamed for our history. We have to collectively listen and make space for the stories and experiences of PoC that have been systematically erased. Without shame or judgment. With love and a willingness to be held accountable.
It’s not ok to not talk about it.
This is an imperfect way to begin. I want to be in the conversation. I want to stop the lip service of change. And the excuses of misunderstanding, difficulty and fatigue are all effective tools of maintaining white supremacy. I feel like I’m in deep water and I’m just gonna keep at it.
Wanna talk about race and representation? Hit me up. I don’t have any answers tho.
Here are just a few resources on people, books and podcasts that I’ve read, listened to and am still working on.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
This Will Be My Undoing by Morgan Jerkins
Emergent Strategy by Adrienne Maree Brown
Through My Eyes by Ruby Bridges
Call Your Girlfriend Podcast
Catrice M Jackson and her IG feed
Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes