Let me start off by saying that Out of Sight, Out of Mind was the HARDEST blog post I’ve written to date and it means a lot to me that so many people read it. I want to say thank you to every single person who not only read this post, but also shared it. Thank you to those who commented even if you disagreed. Thank you to every mom who sent messages asking for solutions. I tried to respond to all private messages and if I missed one I apologize. Our conversations in the comments section, on Twitter, and on Facebook sparked a new blog series idea. Raising an Advocate will debut later this week and I hope that you all will follow it and continue the dialogue.
Moving on to the comment questions/concerns:
Why “white” moms and not “all” moms?
I had a really hard time coming up with a title that would truly encompass how I felt in that moment. One of my friends actually helped me come up with the name after we brainstormed some suggestions, and I think it was perfectly titled. I certainly toyed with the idea of saying “all” moms, but to be honest I can pretty much guarantee this post would not have reached as many people and every one really needed to read it. Every successful social movement is comprised of more than those in the “oppressed” group. Slavery ended because of white abolitionists fighting for the rights of slaves. The Civil Rights Movement was successful because white people marched alongside of Black people. The Freedom Riders were comprised of both Black and white college students. Women could not have won the right to vote without having men allies. So, yes we need ALL white moms not just the ones raising bi-racial children or who are actively engaged in activist work to care about the deaths of Black children. Right before I sat down to write this post, one of my colleagues and a good friend (yes, she’s white) posted an article about Ferguson and Mike Brown and this was part of her commentary (she gave me permission to quote her):
An unarmed, 18-year-old black man is shot 10 times in the street by a cop. What is he guilty of? Walking in the middle of the street. And when the city protests, our government attacks it’s own citizens and suppresses media coverage.
The sickest part to me was what I told myself last night to get to sleep… I could rest easy because, if I ever had a son, he would be white. He would never be stopped in the street for walking unarmed. His skin color wouldn’t “authorize” murder in broad day light.
What kind of sick person am I? I am specifically trained to deconstruct systemic and ideological constructs that render some bodies “privileged” and others “throwaway,” yet I try to soothe myself to sleep with my own white privilege. I can’t decide what’s worse, when racism murders in the street, or when its privilege quietly coddles those who know better into silence.
“History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.”
“You’re racist…” “I’m not privileged because I’m poor…” “You’re promoting victim mentality…”
Quite a few comments accused me of being racist and judging all white people. Others are frustrated by my use of the word privilege or tell me that I’m teaching my son to be a victim.
First, if you learn nothing else from my page, please stop telling minorities that they’re being racist when they call out the majority. Why? Simply put a minority can not be racist because racism is prejudice plus power.
Second, privilege is very hard to understand and accept without feeling guilty. Trust me I get it and we’ll actually spend a lot of time talking about it during the series. In the meantime, check out these two explanations of White Privilege: Explaining White Privilege to a Broke White Person and On White Privilege. Again we’ll spend more time on this during the upcoming series because it’s such a loaded term.
Finally, I realize that talking about racism and systems of oppression is uncomfortable, but if we really want to cause change we must start talking. I’m extending my hand and I hope you’ll extend yours.
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Update (Aug 20, 2014): Since the dialogue in the comment section is no longer productive, the comments sections has been closed. If you would like to continue this conversation in a productive manner, feel free to head over to Mamademics on FB and do so. This will prevent people from hiding behind guests accounts where they can say rude, nasty, and condescending things.