Read more about this essay:
The Race Card Project
Trent and I talk and read about race a lot. Atlanta is a minority majority city with a complicated history of racial tensions and triumphs that bleed into the present. Alone, moving here might have been enough to spark an interest in the topic, but there were other things, too. There was Trent’s involvement with Teach for America, an organization that fights educational inequality, which continues to be drawn along racial lines. There were the lists of “Must-See Sites in the South” we consulted, dotted with civil rights museums, monuments and battle grounds. And there were the overtly racist sentiments we heard expressed by good people in our community here, people who seemed just like us.
In the past couple years, we’ve discovered a lot about the complexity of racism, but the most powerful and eye-opening lesson we’ve learned is a simple one:
We are racists. We are all racists.
All humans are prejudiced, prone to assumptions and judgements and stereotypes to help us navigate through the gaps in our knowledge about people who are different from us. And if we are white people, we are all beneficiaries of privileges and powers that are given to us based on our race—in this time in this country. That’s just how it is.
When you’re ready to admit that color blindness is a fantasy and that you, as well-intentioned as you might be, are a racist like everyone else, you’ll be ready to overcome it. And if you’re ready now to start identifying your racist attitudes, I know just what you should do.
Listen to this moving story on NPR about The Race Card Project, which is collecting boldly honest six-word essays about race to get a read on Americans’ true feelings, unsavory or otherwise. Then submit your own.
“Educated. Black strangers scare me still.”
We cannot change what we cannot confront.
Listening to: Iron & Wine, “Teeth in the Grass”