Letter To White People From A White Woman

I know everything feels awful right now. I know you are learning about things you never heard of before, seeing things that are disturbing and wondering if there will ever be an end to it.

Here is the deal—we are experiencing a massive, earthshaking social reckoning that encompasses every wrong and injustice that has occurred to People of Color, with the focus on Black people as they experience the brunt of our unjust system.

This social reckoning encompasses all that has happened since the Atlantic slave trade and the founding of America, every event all along the way through the years leading up to 2020 from the Civil War and the unfinished work of Reconstruction that followed, Jim Crow Segregation, the rise of the KKK and the modern day imprisonment of Black people.

As children, we were never taught the full truth of American history. The absence of critical stories, events and people obscured by gaslighting, the worst atrocities excluded from textbooks, our very language encoded with racist ideas and practices invisible to us growing up and preserved because of our ignorance to it. The book Lies My Teacher Told Me, only scratched the surface.

This is not our fault. We were born into this mess. But, now that we know. We need to reckon with it head on, because it will never go away and only get worse if we do nothing.

It hurts. All of it. You want to look away, not deal with it. But, we must. I am. It hurts me. All of it. But, I must look and listen and engage and grow because ultimately, as a white person, I have the power to change it. 
That’s what you need to understand. White people must change it and make it right for our children. Hate is a cancer. The future demands that all people cooperate and get along and take care of each other. It is the only way we will survive the challenges ahead and social justice for People of Color is connected to environmental justice and climate change. All roads lead to this. We must fix what is broken within humanity first and everything else will naturally follow.

I know that you are uncomfortable with topics about racism and you would rather get back to your life, but I want to ask that you take this moment—this rare opportunity in a pandemic—to set aside your feelings, your guilt, your arguments for preserving this racist system that only works for you. Place those things all to the side and give them a ‘time out’.

Then, start a conversation, watch a documentary, read a book such as White Fragility and How to Be An Anti-Racist, and then talk to your white friends and family. Get them to do the same.

And, if you disagree and that the system doesn’t work for you, that’s another reason for you to be a part of changing it. We can do this!

Imagine when we get through all of this, how much better a world we can create.

❤️ 💙 💚 💛 💜


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Lisa M. McDougald | About Author