"No matter how open-minded, socially conscious, anti-racist I think I am, I still have old, learned, hidden biases I need to examine.
It is my responsibility to check myself daily for my stereotypes, prejudice and ultimately discrimination."
I don't know who originally authored this, but I read this on social media this morning and nothing has felt more accurate. It felt like a gut-punch - and it should. It made me uncomfortable but it reinforced what I've always believed and felt - that I have more work to do. I have more learning to do. That work and education should (and will) continue for the rest of my life. And that's okay.
I see some of my white friends screaming "white lives matter" who clearly need self-reflection and education and I've probably removed them by now because that's different. That's pure, willful ignorance.
I see some of my black friends screaming allies are not doing enough and sometimes I feel silly for trying to participate, or taking action, or speaking my truth. I'm listening. And that's okay.
I'm aware I may make mistakes. It's my responsibility to fix it and grow. And that's okay.
What I don't see much of are people asking for patience. And that's not okay.
While many white people are just now waking up to realizations they've never had before, some of us who have considered ourselves allies for years are realizing we still have work to do.
All of these situations require patience from people who love us, from people we're trying to support, and from our friends who allow us to express why it's important to be an ally if they've never tried to understand before. Even if we, as allies, recognize we still need to put in a lot of work, we should still help our white friends who are genuinely trying to learn. We can and should do both at the same time.
Being an ally is a verb - not a noun. - Invictus Animus
Some people need to time to get there. We've seen a lot lately it's not enough to not be racist. We must be anti-racist. That may be difficult for people who have never taken the time to really understand that - have patience.
If they're just starting down this path, it's a start - have patience.
If a white friend wants to have a genuine conversation about how I feel, I want to have that conversation. I hope to reach them in some way they can understand and I'm going to have patience.
I'm recognizing the work I still have to do and so I ask all of my friends to have patience with me. Please.