As Black Americans’ righteous resistance to racism and police brutality fills social media and the streets, many white Americans are in a period of reevaluation. We may find ourselves wondering what our role is in perpetuating systemic, anti-Black racism, and how we can take action that is actively anti-racist.
This self-introspection is a fundamental starting point in the fight to build a more just society. It’s also an intense and deeply humbling process, at a time when a global pandemic has everyone stretched thin. It’s totally understandable to feel many conflicting emotions right now, including sadness, concern, confusion, guilt, or even a desire for things to return “back to normal.” At the same time, it’s important to remember that — as the brutal toll of the coronavirus pandemic on communities of color, and the police killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and countless others have especially highlighted — “normal” has never been safe for Black Americans.
The current moment, then, presents white Americans with the opportunity, and the obligation, to help create a new “normal” in which we no longer participate in, and benefit from, the oppression of Black people. It requires us to engage in a process of self-examination, education, and unlearning. Here are some ideas for white people engaging in this process.