What I can do

Orlando. Baghdad. Alton Sterling. Philando Castile. Dallas. Nice.

The list is long. It’s overwhelming. I want to help, but what can I do?

I believe I can choose. Let me explain.

  • I can choose to greet everyone with a smile.
  • I can choose to say hello.
  • I can choose to listen.
  • I can choose to learn.
  • I can choose to seek out those that are different.1Social media, especially Twitter, is perfect for this. With a little searching, I have found those with different politics, colors, orientations, and experiences, who are advocating for positive change. I try to be careful reading the response/comments. Anonymity gives many the license to be jerks or worse. I don’t accept abuse. The blockhammer works.
  • I can choose to listen to understand, not planning my response or rebuttal.2Karen Armstrong quotes Donald Davidson, “Whether we like it or not, if we want to understand others, we must regard them as right in most matters.”
  • I can choose to seek that what unites us, not what divides us.
  • I can choose to be willing to change my opinions.
  • I can choose to apologize when I’ve hurt someone.
  • I can choose to look for the win-win, not the win-lose.3And vote for candidates with the same view.
  • I can choose to confront prejudice.4Many times, a simple, “I don’t get it” is the perfect response to a prejudiced joke. (And again, vote for candidates with the same view.)

In my desire to change the world, I must be willing to change myself first.5Matthew 7:3-5

What should I add to my list? What are you willing to do?

Do something

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

The events of this week are a stark reminder — something is seriously wrong in America. Like me, you’re probably tired of yet another needless death.1This week it was more than one, as are most weeks. How many times will we change our Facebook profile pictures with no real change?2When do we move beyond awareness of a problem to working on the solution? Or maybe we’ll send “thoughts and prayers” yet do nothing.

What can we do?

I’m going to start by learning more about racism in America. In the process, I hope to unlearn racism. This3Hat tip: @Kronda via @mackenzian. appears to be a good resource:

Curriculum for White Americans to Educate Themselves on Race and Racism–from Ferguson to Charleston

Maybe you’ll join me.

Together, we can make a difference.4Maybe you don’t think you’re part of the problem. Where do you think that puts you in the Five Stages of Unlearning Racism?

To White People Choosing to Remain Silent

To white people choosing to remain silent, a short excerpt:

I saw and shared a poignant protest sign which read “White silence = violence.” It’s true. But not because you’re actually silent. You’re saying a lot–about the things that actually matter to you–none of which seem to include Black people or our lives. You claim to be progressive, smile in our faces, and then post about any and everything BUT Ferguson, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, John Crawford, Rekia Boyd, Aiyana Stanley Jones, Ramarley Graham, Vonderrit Myers, and the countless others. That’s what hurts.

Seeing white people go on with their lives seemingly unfazed by the ever mounting pile of dead Black bodies murdered by police and vigilantes is a brutal reminder of white privilege and just how much Black lives, my life, doesn’t matter to you.

Now, go read the whole thing, then share it. This is a discussion we need to have.