Teaching Myself

For years I have been a dedicated fan of the Web.  I can spend hours enveloped in video after video on YouTube.  When the internet was young, Ask Jeeves was one of my favorite sites. Just this week I switched from Alexa to Google because Google's AI is stronger at answering questions.

Anytime I really want to know how to do something I go to these tools. And statistics show I'm not alone.  You can see the live search statistics here.

In just 15 seconds of my screenshot below from Internet Live Stats over a million searches were completed.

Screenshot - LiveInternetSearch.com

Show demographics on use of tools like Google. LinkedIn learning and other teaching sites are seeing new students at a record high. By and far the number of people utilizing the internet for learning new things is at an all time high.

Image Credit - statista.com

So then, why is it that generally speaking when white people want to learn about black people or racism they go to black people and ask them to teach them?  For centuries we have been told by black people about the black experience. Instead we need to look back and see what they have been telling us for years.

"He would not bleach his Negro soul in a flood of white Americanism, for he knows that negro blood has a message for the world. He simply wishes to make it possible for a man to be both a Negro and an America, without being cursed and spit upon by his fellows, without having doors of Opportunity closed roughing in his face."  ~ W. E. B. Du Bois

We simply didn't listen. We hunkered down in the swaddling  blankets of White Supremacy and told ourselves we were helping by lavishing praise on individuals that are actually thinly veiled insults.

Bloomberg Interview on CBS

This video shows a clip from the Color Purple, a film adaptation of the of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name by Alice Walker.  In this scene a local white woman is shown using a compliment as a way to repress and show a shock for the cleanliness of the black children. The Miss Millie character has another scene which stands out to me. 

While searching for a clip on the scene above I found this really great piece on it.  I highly recommend it.

We fail to see how white men who threaten women are elected to office, yet black children are executed for looking at or talking to white women .

Warning:  The following video contains explicit language and is NSFW

Emmett Louis Till was a 14-year-old African American who was lynched in Mississippi in 1955, after being accused of offending a white woman in her family's grocery store

One was elected the president of the United States and the other was lynched.  And I hear. Yeah that was years ago though:

July 2019 - Image Source WJVT.com

We as white people need to do better. We need to confront racism in our own communities. we need to address that uncle or aunt at the Thanksgiving table. We need to stop that friend with the racist joke. We need to call out casual racism around us by not using words in our speech and writings that have racist origins.

Most importantly we need to learn from the experiences of those outside our own communities   We need to take that labor upon ourselves. We have asked black people, people of color and people who are in other minorities to tell us what we can do about racism.

Let me be clear, it is not their job to teach us to solve this problem. white people created this problem and white people need to solve it.

What can we, as white people do?

Glad you asked. Here's a list of 5 things you can do to become a better ally.

1. Listen to black people and people of color.
2. Be aware of your bias.
3. Research the history of those you wish to be an ally to.
4. Do the work to understand not only how you participate in a racist system, but how you benefit from it.
5. Amplify the voices of black people and people of color.  You do not need to speak for them.

Finally, we need to become better at loving ourselves as a human race . We need to love our planet and the other inhabitants.  Our seas, our rivers and our air. Take some time and sit with yourself in the quite and think about a flower.

The flower is made up of many things.  Petals, stem, roots. It is made up of water, air and sunlight.  Without each of these things, it would not exist. We are like the flower.  We are one with the flower.  Learn how we are interconnected with all life on this planet. If we lose a single part we are no longer whole.

Want to learn more?  Talk to white people about racism. Look at our history of colonialism around the planet.  We created this problem.  We have to end it.

This map shows the progress of charting the rise and fall of (mostly) European empires from 1492, when the European discovery of the Americas kicked off their movement west and south, to 2008.

Image Credit Vox.com

Google is your friend.  Use it.


Recommended Reading

Up from a Slave - Booker T. Washington - Link
The Souls of Black Folks - W. E. B. Du Bois - Link
Overview of the African-America Experience - Link
PUSHOUT - The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools - Link

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