Please Raise Your Hand
For this week's Wednesday Words, RICJ's Rose Albert wrote a personal reflection challenging you to check your internal stance on racism.
If you are someone who still says that you don’t know why people are protesting – please raise your hand.
If you are someone who follows the media coverage of police brutality but does not think that racism exists – please raise your hand.
If you are someone who spent the last month turning away from social media, newspapers, television and radio, if you’ve kept yourself in the dark about the pain and movements for justice happening all around you – please raise your hand.
The definition of racism has evolved. You don’t have to be actively hateful to be racist. You just have to allow systemic racism to continue. You just have to deny there’s a problem. You just have to see there’s a problem, and do nothing.
No matter the color of your skin — if you raised your hand, you are enabling racism.
Racism is in your community (yes, YOUR community), and if you are not talking about race, you are part of the problem. Black people, brown people, white people, anybody — if you are asleep, we need you to wake up. If you are silent, we need you to speak up. If you are uncertain of your position, we need you to read up, and listen up.
Racism is real. It has been real for centuries. We all play a part in it, and we all are helped or hurt by it. Every person who lives in this society is affected by racism. YOU are affected by it.
If you don’t experience racism in your daily life, that doesn’t mean it’s not your problem. It probably means you are benefiting from unjust racist systems. We need you to see that as unacceptable. We need you to view the struggles of your oppressed neighbors as your own. We need you to put justice above your own comfort.
Here’s the good news: Even if you raised your hand, there’s a way to start becoming anti-racist right now. The full journey will take a long time, but it can begin whenever you wish. We challenge you to talk about race at your dinner table, to ask your friends and family what role racism plays in your community. We challenge you to read about racism this summer. We challenge you to find out what protesters and activists are asking for. We challenge you to think more deeply about how you’ve been helped or hurt by racism.
Right now is not the time to sit silently and claim neutrality. Right now we ask that you name the wrong, acknowledge the injustice, and take action. The world is changing and we need your help.