Being an upper-middle class white woman, I know I will never truly understand what it feels like to be a person of color in America. Despite my attempts to be aware of racism in this county through conversations, news stories, interviews, books, this website, etc, I know that I will never ‘get ‘ what it feels like to experience racism every single day of my life. Until I have been followed around in stores, pulled over by the cops for no reason, seen people clutching their belongings when I walk by, had people comment on how smart I sound for who I am, or fear for my son’s very life because of his skin color – I will never truly understand the cost of being a person of color in America. And by ‘cost’ I mean what it takes away from us – both as individuals and as a society.
I grew up in Oakland, California, in the only white family in an all-Black neighborhood. I lived in Madagascar for 2 years. But even those experiences of being a minority were nothing compared to the stress from racism that a person of color experiences every single day in America.
I know I am only responsible for my own actions, and for a short time, those of my young children. I can’t justify, explain or take responsibility for what other people say or how they act. I don’t know if there is anything I can do to change racism in America. I am fully aware of my White privilege, not only because of race but also because of class, and that I am very, very lucky. And I make sure my kids know that, too.
The picture above is of me, age 7, with my beloved neighbor growing up.