The first step in solving a problem is admitting you have one. I saw this photograph on a website with images that make us feel proud. This photo is a gay parade where a church stood on the sidelines with signs saying they are sorry for the homophobia that has hurt gay people:
I thought about this in light of a conversation I had yesterday with a man I had just met. He said he had been having this dream where he was driving in a car with his mom and somebody was following him taking pictures and so he followed the photographer demanding to know why he was taking photos of them.
I asked him if his dream had something to do with Trayvon Martin and the attention it had brought to Black men in this country. He said maybe so as the photographer was white.
I right then and there wanted to tell him I’m sorry. I didn’t because I didn’t want to call attention to his being Black and my being white or make our day uncomfortable.
But I should have. I should have said I’m sorry.
What follows is a racial cleanse meant to be used as often as necessary, ad infinitum.
The Racial Cleanse
1) I am a white person and enjoy the privileges of being white.
2) I never have to think of being white.
3) I have spent the better part of my life accepting white privilege even when it comes at a cost to others.
4) I have done nothing in my life to earn white privilege other than being born white.
5) I have used white privilege to better myself and my family even while others are denied.
6) I have absorbed racism most of my life.
7) I have a racist lens I must continuously work to remove.
8) I am sorry my white ancestors institutionalized slavery and racism.
9) I am sorry I belong to the dominant group that perpetuates racism.
10) I am sorry for all the hurt your ancestors suffered, for the hurt you continue to suffer, for being nonwhite.