For reflection, the following words were shared:
Broaden my definition of racism
If I fail to acknowledge the day-in-day-out racism that people of color live and breathe, I invalidate the experience of people of color and miss opportunities to catch myself and others.
Acknowledge how racism has shaped me.
A critical step in becoming an ally is accepting that my thinking and actions – despite my best intentions – are often influenced by racism.
Acknowledge my white privilege.
Without acknowledging how privilege benefits me, I can’t truly begin to understand the experience of people of color. I’m unaware of my privilege because the system has encouraged me not to be.
Accept my limitations.
Part of privilege is being oblivious to racism, unaware of how it manifests, how it feels, who it hurts. I can learn to become less oblivious, but I will never have the lived experience of people of color.
Get comfortable with humility.
As I learn about racism and privilege, I realize how little I know, and how I’ve been wrong in the past. All that not-knowing allows me to learn, listen, and grow.
Being humble about how little I know is a way of giving up power. I give up power by ceding the floor to people of color, by taking ideas seriously, hiring and promoting people of color.
It’s not my fault that I may have some big holes in my knowledge. Now that I’m aware of them, it is my responsibility to begin filling them in, not the responsibility of anyone else to teach me.
Recognize that it’s not about me.
If I engage as an ally in conversations about race, I try not to take it personally; it’s not about me. It’s about the larger system of racism that a white person has just enacted in behavior and speech.
Listen to people of color and accept their truth.
If I want to learn about racism, I listen to experts: people of color. As I listen, really listen, focus on that person’s experience, not my own. Accept that what this person says is what is true for them.
Accept that effect counts more than intention.
Someday, I will say or do something racist, probably not meaning to. But what I must know is, it was racist, intended or not, and people of color have been hurt. So, if I misstep, I apologize.
Speak up and do my part.