Talking About Race: A Workbook

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

You Are Never Too Old to Come Out for Racial Equality!

I have been away from blogging for several weeks and catching up on reading.

What have I been reading? "Between Barack and a Hard Place" and "White Like Me" by Tim Wise. Both books are thoroughly engaging.

I have found myself saying "Yes!" "Yes!" to so many points Wise makes throughout each book.

My own book will be out on January 15, 2010 titled "Let's Talk about Race: A Workbook about White People Fostering Racial Equality in their Lives". There has been much behind the scenes work to do.

I have received so much support for this effort that I am amazed and very happy about it! In the next few months I will be telling you more about this.

In the news so much is going on that is deeply disturbing to me. On Facebook I have a great many videos about the highlights. In several days I will update you on what is going on. But I will add this today:

I have a friend who is white and she is ninety years old. Until recently Barbara (this is not her real name) shied away from talking about race however B. has shared some alarming stories with me from her childhood. The other day she proudly came forward about her position regarding racial equality in the community she lives in. It was a risky and courageous act. Barbara lives in a controlled environment and the people who run it and live in it are all white. So she stepped up and out even though she is wheelchair bound and has been for five years. No matter their reaction she will not be able to walk away from it and no one is more aware of that than Barbara.

The result of her honesty and refusal to keep her views hidden from others has caught the attention of the woman who runs the place.

She often looks at B. with hostility but Barbara simply smiles all the more and when she does she does so with integrity and happiness.

Barbara's face literally glows and the serenity she feels about her decision to share her views is transparent to everyone around her.

It has been wonderful to witness her "coming out" about her views regarding racial equality. The liberation from the silence she was trained to believe was more appropriate wore itself out; the
"gift" of acceptance from some family members and peers that was simply a bribe to encourage her to be quiet wore itself thin.

Barbara has come into her own and couldn't suppress it any longer. This served as a reminder to me, that it is never too late to let race matter, even if it is a social construction (which we know it is) we can choose self-expression over repression at any age.