PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot The Rapids — Addressing The Color Divide

From time to time, I see Facebook friends who I know to be decent people post things about “cancel culture,” decrying what they see as an “attack” because someone found something offensive. It always makes me sad because I believe that a lot of this “forced” divide in our nation could be addressed if we opened our minds, heard the perspective of others, lived with kindness as our focus and treated others the way we wanted to be treated.

But the first step in that is understanding this is moving from “I don’t see color” to recognizing systemic racism that is engrained in our society. Until that happens, all of the kindness in the world won’t change the realities people of color face. And that happens when we move from saying “I’m not racist” to being actively anti-racist.

My deep dive this Lent has been to commit myself to focusing on anti-racism and the book, I just read, “White Fragility,” by Robin DiAngelo, really helped me in formulating language and beginning to understand the struggle POC face. I was reluctant to read it at first because it was written by a white woman but to be honest, it was a perspective I needed to hear.

If you have ever said “I’m not racist” I urge you to read this book with an open mind. Being “not racist” is not enough to heal our world. We need to be “anti-racist,” and the first step to that for my friends who are white is understanding and naming white fragility.

This isn’t an issue of right or left. This is an issue of human decency and recognizing power structures that exist to address our own complicity and then work to be agents of change.

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