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  • Writer's pictureAlex Rathbun

No more coasting.

Since the murder of George Floyd, I have struggled to know what to say here. It feels disingenuous to post about my baby or home or recipes and act like nothing is wrong in the world, but I've felt unqualified to speak up about racial injustice. Yet, I wholeheartedly believe that saying nothing isn't okay, and that leaving the fight for justice up to the marginalized group is a problem. As a white person, it's my responsibility to stand up with and for my brothers and sisters of color and fight for racial equality.

These issues are complicated and run deep in our society. I could share about statistics or history or stories I've personally heard, but as I've always wanted my blog to be a place to be totally transparent and honest in hopes of connecting with you, I thought I'd share where I'm at in all of this.

Personally, I've felt very convicted of my lack of care for BIPOC. It's not that I would say I don't care about people of color, but there are a lot of ways I coast on my default settings that, without me even knowing, are contributing to systems of oppression and white supremacy.

For example: I've been complacent in the way I spend my money. I have never changed the places I spend money based on who owns the company or how products are made.

The books I read are another area like this. I have, by default, mostly read books by white authors, written about white people or characters. It's easy to connect with people that look like me and have similar life experiences, so I've used my money to support almost exclusively white authors, which means I've missed out on the opportunity to both financially support authors of color and maybe even more importantly, I've missed out on the chance to expand my understanding of the world and understand the experiences of those who don't look like me. This also goes for every other form of entertainment - movies and shows, music, art.

Similarly, most of the baby books we own with a human involved include a white baby/kid. Of course, this isn't inherently bad, but it becomes problematic when the world we build around baby Lincoln is one that puts whiteness at the center, leaving him to grow up believing that white is the norm and everything else is the other/different/lesser and therefore should change to become more white.

The restaurants I eat at, the places I buy coffee, the stores I shop in - there are tons of ways right in front of me to support the economic growth of black people.

Another way I've coasted on default settings is the people I spend the most time with. We humans love to be comfortable. We gravitate towards people that look and act like us, which is normal and okay! But when people that look like me are the only people I am friends with or even interact with, I have no other perspectives speaking into my life and it becomes basically impossible to truly know what other peoples' lives and experiences are like. Without even realizing, it can be super easy to build an echo chamber around me of like experiences to my own. This can also easily become the case on social media, depending on who I chose to follow and who's content I'm regularly consuming.

And perhaps the most intense and dark way that I've been complacent is to watch racism unfold in front of me, in both small and large ways, and decide that my own comfort is more important to me than the lives/joy/thriving/success/well-being of black people (or other POC). In the past, I've decided that I don't need to say anything, other people will. I don't need to do anything because I may be judged by my own community. I don't want ruffle anyone's feathers, so I'm going to keep quiet. There are activists and people specifically focused on doing this work, so I'm just going to stay out of it.

Of course, this attitude of "at least I'm not actively racist" is not only unhelpful but HARMFUL because, as I've mentioned, it stops real change from happening.

I still have so much to learn in this fight. These things I've mentioned are only one part of the problem. And I recognize that this is not something that can be solved overnight or by me alone. But to the small following I have on here, I urge you to please please take a step and evaluate how you can move to action. What are areas in your life that you need to make changes? This matters.

And for starters, please go follow Wild Gina.

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1 Comment

Ron Calsbeek
Ron Calsbeek
Jul 15, 2020

Ali, I am moved by this piece. I am so proud of you for speaking out in a way that is insightful, humble, and honest. You are a wonderful young woman, which doesn't surprise me because I know whose you are, and I know who raised you to become what you have become. Thank you for taking a stand.

I just read, "How to be an Antiracist" by Kendi. I think you would find it to be valuable. His writing has changed my perspectives and improved my understandings.

Love you,

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