Not to threadjack another thread, but listening to NPR yesterday afternoon - a retired police officer was interviewed who was trying to justify his view that the BLM movement was anti-police and threatening to them. He clearly had no understanding whatsoever of "systemic" racism and could not differentiate that from an individual and how he/she treats members of a group in given situations. Seems like this sort of education is very needed, but is everything trying really preaching to the converted?
It does indeed seem so difficult to change people's minds. I've learned from the book club I facilitate, however, that there are white folks who somehow are completely ignorant of the history of people of African descent in the Americas. We read The Book of Night Women by Marlon James and I had white women insisting that the violence against slaves portrayed in the book must be exaggerated. It completely blew my mind, probably because I have spent the majority of my life in a lefty silo. I guess what I'm saying is that sharing the facts is worthwhile, even when it seems futile (and I have to remind myself of this all the time), that for folks to have a chance of understanding systemic racism, they need to know our history. ‎- mehlib
It's hard to know who can step up to bridge this particular gap, which I completely agree exists. Well-meaning white liberal types won't do because police don't trust us (e.g. ). An interfaith, multiracial church effort mmmmmmight be able to break through? ‎- LibSkrat
@mehlib: I'm not sure what a "lefty silo" might be :). I do believe that we have to help render a full history of our country, especially with respect to race. I don't know if it will change minds, though. But ignorance certainly contributes the problem. ‎- MoTO Babycakes
I think a lot about the educating people part, particularly now that I have a kid. How do I distill the things it's taken me 40 years to learn? We were listening to a story in the car about the shooting of Philando Castile, and #pdog said, "Why did those boys shoot that boy?" and I said, "Well, they shot him because he was black," and then I said that there are people who think that black people are bad because of a lot of things in history, and then I was wondering what to say next (because where to start? slavery? Jim Crow? institutionalized racism? implicit bias? disproportionate minority representation in all areas of life?), and then Peter said to please stop talking because I sounded angry. I told him I was angry and then let it drop. ‎- laura x
So, my kid is lucky, in a way, because he will have years to learn all those things. I don't know where you start with someone who's already a grownup and hasn't yet encountered any of it. ‎- laura x
I wonder if is a mistake with adults to go back as far as slavery. what they need to understand (not that I think I do, mind you) is the lived experience today. How treatment differs. How walking down the street is different. How shopping in a store is different... How do we get people to see these things? ‎- Christina Pikas
Slowly and carefully and frustratingly inadequately, is my guess. And by working for more integration in schools and workplaces and neighborhoods, which would help a lot of things. ‎- laura x
Out of curiosity, has anybody had any success using Ta-Nehisi Coates' essays to help sway somebody who wasn't already inclined to acknowledge the existence of systemic racism? ‎- Galen Charlton
All: there is no short answer. And I don't mean to sound cross but black people learn it from about 3rd grade on (if not before), at about the time that peer groups develop and most children become race conscious. We have to. It's sometimes jarring for me that many of my fellow countrymen and women don't see what I see practically every day. And then I remember the video of the woman walking around New York to constant catcalls: "I didn't realize it was so *bad*." Maybe one approach is to encourage critical thought in general. And empathy in particular. A more complete and well rounded course on our country's origins wouldn't hurt. "Well no, of course we didn't mean *all men*..." And black history ought to be required for all. @gmcharlt: Not sure what you're referring to but you could start here: It's long and dense. It's also pretty comprehensive. ‎- MoTO Babycakes
Addendum: I don't try to convince anyone of anything with respect to race. As I've said before: My mama taught me to live by the golden rule. Somebody else's mama taught them that my black skin not only makes me inferior, but morally bankrupt. What do I look like telling somebody that their mama was wrong? All I can do is lay it out there as I see it. Not even Christ calls on Christians to convert people. Rather to witness. ‎- MoTO Babycakes
What Barry says is key: white folks have the privilege of living without awareness of racism, systemic or otherwise. ‎- mehlib
What I mean by a lefty silo is that I was raised by Civil Rights movement activists (3 of my parents). I can't imagine what it would be like to be a white person who was not raised with awareness of social justice issues. And I'm still trying to figure out how to live according to the values they taught me. ‎- mehlib
Also, I think you are on to something with the witnessing instead of converting thing. This approach might be one way to continue the work in a sustainable way over the long term. ‎- mehlib
I've been thinking about the educating part too especially because I have a white 8yo son and I desperately want him to have a comprehension of his privilege. This has meant a lot of reading on my part and in doing so, realizing that I *thought* I was so much more aware than I really am. I love where our house in the country is, but I am keenly aware of how my son is more isolated in a white person's world than I was as a kid growing up in a big city in the south. ‎- Galadriel
@mehlib "... I was raised by Civil Rights movement activists..." that just sounds like a well rounded education to me. Nothing closed off (silo-ed) about that at all. @gchilton I employ the "Yeah But" Method For A Fully Rounded Education. Allow me to elucidate. Historical "Fact": The Declaration of Independence states that "... all men are created equal." #YeahBut that really didn't include black people or women or even poor white men who didn't own land to be honest. Or, Conventional Wisdom: We have a lot of "anchor babies" in this country due to citizenship rights being conferred at birth through the 14th Amendment . #YeahBut The reason the amendment was even required was to confer citizenship to former slaves who were being exploited without it. ‎- MoTO Babycakes
I often use the 2nd example above when people tell me that I'm "preoccupied with race". My general response is: "Welllll I do have a different perspective, but race is more woven into our cultural and political fabric than we realize. For instance, consider the 14th Amendment ..." ‎- MoTO Babycakes
@barrywynn I like the "Yeah but..." method very much, not just for conversations with the 8yo, but for challenging my own self! ‎- Galadriel
I want to "like" MoTO's "yeah, but" comment. ‎- bentley