Melting Pot Boils Over - Racism Today

Dedication ceremony for the sculpture of Thich Nhat Hanh and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at Magnolia Grove Monastery. Photo by Paul Davis

I want to feel integrated within myself, just feeling like all parts of myself can be present. But sometimes it’s hard to feel a sense of belonging when people tell us that we’re different or “not normal”. The work that ARISE is doing is to create an openness and a space of belonging for everyone.

— Brian, Multi-heritage, Queer, Person of Color

For more information on ARISE follow this link.

I wanted to write a bit about The recent drama around a Target commercial is making news. Beatrice Dixon, the founder of The Honey Pot was shown in a commercial for Black History month. Now white people are posting comments on her page and review sites trying to destroy her business. 

Here is the commercial.

The Honey Pot has a really great product in that they are all plant based and are available at a variety of retailers such as Target, Walmart and Whole Foods just to name a few.  As the controversy grew, I took some time to check our their website. I donate often to groups that provide resources for the homeless, and I was pleasantly surprised that this company offers support for those without access to feminine hygiene products. Another great reason to support this company.

I grew up in the 70s and 80s. I watched the shows and learned about the melting pot, while hearing my stepfather complain about black people in a derogatory way.

My school was mostly white while my teachers were mostly black. Being raised in the Confederate South I never knew about slavery or the struggles that I non-white people experienced.  I was ignorant to what white people had done and still continue to do to non-whites.  In my late thirties I began to learn more about American history and began to educate my self on what messages were left out of our history books.

As I begin to look into myself and take accountability for my actions I also have started to see where as a society we need to come together and realize just how horrible we gave been to each other.  We as white people, including and sometimes specifically white women, have used our positions of privilege to oppress and in some cases directly attack black people and people of color.

This lead to a discussion on my Facebook page where I tried to sum up my opinion with the following comment:

I agree that all should be supported. In this case she was commenting about what representation she had as a child. No black women were visible to her as successful entrepreneurs. When I was a child I only saw white men as being the ones who had the power or rules the household. Today I am a very successful primary breadwinner and I never knew that was possible. I want to be a role model for those raised in my similar circumstances that they do not have to stay in them. They can overcome where they are and become more. I cannot be a role model for black girls because I have no way of understanding the black experience. My perspective will always be one of privilege. I have no concept of what it feels like to be black.  I can only pass the mic and not speak for them but instead amplify their voices. She didn't say white girls shouldn't be successful. She didn't say only black girls should be successful. She said, I want to be a role model for black girls so they can see they have opportunities too. There is nothing wrong with that statement. We as white people have to understand  that not everything has to include us. We do not deserve to be included. If we look at history we take been front and center in the lives of black girls. They didn't even have dolls until the 60's and 70's that represented their skin tones. Little girls and boys are still being singled out for the way their hair naturally comes out of their head. We have had our say. I stand by my statement and fully support her for feeling she needs to be a role model for black girls. This isn't a job white people are qualified for.

We have a choice as white women to continue to stick our heads in the sand, preach messages like "I don't  see color" all the while benefiting from institutionalized racism or we can begin to allow this system to change. It starts with not speaking over marginalized voices. Stop getting defensive when black women support black women. Read about the Black experience. look up Black Wall Street.  Read The New Jim Crow.

We have the real history at our fingertips.  Forget what you though you knew and begin to learn again. There is no shame in admitting you were once ignorant on a subject. Shame comes with remaining ignorant.

What are the steps we can take?


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