Continue to question your behavior
I find I can dig in deep when I’m trying to prove a point to my children. I can hold on to what I believe to be true (from stupid things like a coaster prevents water rings on a table to more serious infractions like name-calling is never a good option.) I’ve been guilty of both and other issues I’m not even aware of. What I hope I’m teaching my children and what I’m learning from them and their peers is to never stop questioning. That is the only way we can continue to learn and grow.
My mostly grown children put me on the spot all the time. It sparks discussions and they don’t always agree with my view. What those discussions open for me is the opportunity to be uncomfortable, learn, and explore. Not everything is an epiphany. Sometimes I am reminded I’m being a hypocrite or my witty response can be misconstrued.
This opens up discussions for politics, religion, and other family reunion topics never brought up at our table. I struggle with how to converse with people with an opposing view. I struggle with someone tossing out generic statements not grounded in facts. Being right and believing are not the same thing. Within my walls, my family can discuss any narrative. I can dig deep into researching any headline, clickbait, or story. It is when we go beyond our walls and hear people making excuses for and brushing off their inexcusable behavior.
Hearing teenagers talk about experiences of racism should make everyone at minimum feel uncomfortable. You didn’t have to be there or contribute to one specific person’s pain to take a walk-through memory lane and realize you can do better. What it shouldn’t do is have people doubling-down on justifying past, present, and future behavior. If hearing that a minority person feels threatened walking down the street makes a white person list the times he/she felt threatened, you need to step back and add the extra weight of being a marginalized population to your statement. If someone writes racist graffiti anywhere, public or private, and you are silent, you are complicit. It is not the time to be silent.
So many things are happening around the world. All the chaos can provide an opportunity to look beyond and not stay stagnant. It is time for us to look inside, look deep, and find ways for minorities to feel safe, accepted, and to connect and engage without fear of ridicule.