Like many of you, I watched, stupefied, as another black person is murdered. Why? Unequivocally, because of the color of his skin. I have many feelings. Disgust, rage, embarrassment and shame to start, and although I can reconcile myself to these feelings, there is one I just don’t know how to handle. Even as a privileged white person, I feel powerless. If this is how I feel, how must our black and brown friends feel?
I struggle to comprehend the enormity of a wrong perpetuated for generations and how I could possibly help. Yet I also believe in the sentiment that this is a white person problem and I need to find a way. Broad guidelines get the ball rolling, educate yourself, look inward and acknowledge your own racism, but I also need concrete examples when I feel stuck.
In my readings I came across an example that helped paint a picture for me. It was a photo of a group organized by the National Organization of Women. A line of white people stand between police and black protesters. The original caption read, in part, “This is how you use your privilege.”
Photo credit: Tim Druck
This simple, powerful act emphasized in my head human creativity and the situational ways we can help. I have always believed we find what we look for and I hear my Christian roots chime in, “seek and ye shall find,” followed by “if you build it, they will come.”
We have to look. We have to seek, and opportunities will arise. We will find ways to help, however small. We must not let the enormity of racial inequity in our country, in an insidious twist, convince those of us with majority privilege that we have no power.