Racism is a hot topic these days. As it shows up in our media and our politics, we are reminded of the prevalence of racism in our country and those who suffer as a result. As the topic of racism emerges front and center, I hear many white people arguing, “I’m not racist.” I would suggest that if we need to defend our racism, we may, in fact, be racist. As an awakened human being, I would like to say I am not racist. However, when I am completely honest with myself, I am aware of the subtle ways in which I am, in fact, racist – not because I want to be, but because it was how I was conditioned. The good news is that I can acknowledge the subtle ways in which conditioned racism comes out sideways and begin to do something about it. I would invite you to also reflect on how racism may be present in your life, and what you might be able to do about changing that.
Acknowledging my Racism
As a white person of European descent,
If I don’t acknowledge my own racism,
It cannot be healed.
Ashamed am I to admit the subtle presence of racism within me –
The things I don’t mean to do, but come out anyway
because of my white, middle-class conditioning:
Making judgments based on what I think I am seeing
with nothing but conditioning forming that judgment:
What I’ve seen on TV.
Heard from family or friends.
What’s been portrayed in the media
The ease with which I’m tempted to judge a race
based on the singular action of a morning hold-up;
One man’s desperate action
unfairly coloring my view of an entire population….
Not really, but sometimes.
Ashamed am I of the vestiges of racism
that somehow took root in me by no fault of my own.
Knowing better, yet still aware of when the racism slips through.
I don’t mean it – but there it is:
The averted gaze
The skip of a heart beat
The racing mind
Clutching my purse more tightly toward me
Looking for an exit plan
For no reason other than the lies I’ve been told
And a few negative experiences…
But it was a white man who raped me;
and white men who have betrayed and abused me.
So why the unfair judgment of men of color
when life has shown me it’s white men I should fear?
Ahhhhhh – the power of conditioning.
But I now understand I can choose otherwise.
As a self-aware human, I can move past my conditioning by:
Seeing it when it arises in me.
And in the process, healing.
In my heart of hearts, I wish I could be completely free
of the subtleties of racism – because I know better.
But I humbly acknowledge I may never be completely free.
Even so, I am committed to doing what I can
for my own sake and for the sake of all those
who have been unfairly judged simply because of the color of their skin…
I know as human beings we are ONE,
and it is only fear that divides…
and when we heal that fear,
we find that only love remains…
And I choose love!
Copyright 2019 Lauri Ann Lumby
Become part of the Choose Love movement. Learn more HERE.