I now realize that I am part of the problem. I have always been in the “I’m not racist, I have nothing against anybody” crowd. I only really express strong opinions about a select few things like fitness, food, and the Price is Right. So my natural inclination when faced with a highly inflammatory topic is to not say anything. For me, it’s easier to not look into things and then I can say “Well, I don’t have much of an opinion because I don’t feel knowledgeable enough to say anything”. Then I can go on my merry way without having to take responsibility for what I do or do not know. I have a very good friend who called me out on this and I really wanted to dig in on the belief that I’m a good person. I’m not racist so I’m fine.
While I acknowledge that this is a fine approach to take with most topics, as it helps me avoid saying something I might regret, it is also not how change happens. And change needs to happen. How this change will happen, I have no idea. But I think a good place to start is with individual people taking responsibility for admitting that they have been given a place in this world that came with many advantages and other people started in a place with many disadvantages. If you disagree with me, please read about Jim Crow laws and other things such as “Redlining”. Let’s call it exactly what it is. Many white people wanted to make sure that black people remained second-class citizens and actively kept them down for generations.
So now as I type this I am feeling anxious because, even if very few people read this, I know some people will read it. And they are probably people I love and respect. So if I say I am going to change in a way that looks like me actually taking action then I will really have to do it. Legitimately one of my absolute worst fears is that people won’t be able to take what I say seriously. I don’t want to do anything to chip away at the trust that you all have with me. So here it goes.
I am currently researching and putting together a plan to put on a competition at Uncommon. I don’t have any specific details worked out yet, but I want all the money brought in to go towards a local Lafayette organization that directly benefits the black people of this community. I am researching which organization I would like that to be but if anybody reading this has one they believe in, contact me!
I will vote when the time comes around in November. I have voted before but I put very little effort into thinking about who I was supporting for President. And I didn’t give a single second of thought about state and local positions. I am going to actually put forth effort this year into understanding who is up for which office and what their stances are specifically on what they will do to help black people in their given jurisdiction.
I will explore other options that relate to giving young black kids in this community a chance to learn about the benefits of being physically competent and confident.
I will also do my best to learn more and be more aware of what is actually going on in the black community and what it is like to be black in the same city where I live.
I struggle with the feeling that anything I do isn’t even close to enough to make a real difference. But then again, if everyone thought that nothing would ever get done.