“It’s Not About Race”

Please take time to read Kristen Howerton’s excellent piece on a practical response to the Trayvon Martin decision. I just read it and it prompted me to share that I’m sick and tired of hearing fellow white folks glibly state “it’s not about race.” I’ve heard that so many times. Let’s be honest and say what we really mean, To YOU it’s not about race. But if you are a person of color in this country, every day it’s about race. Decisions about where you live, go to school, where you hang out, drive—things that I never think about and many more beyond these—are questions you consider. The civil rights movement helped to make great strides but we are a long way from any kind of racial equality in America. Even here where I live there are restaurants and establishments where blacks are not welcome or at least will be looked down upon.

It is disingenuous and an insult to say “it’s not about race.” In the same way for a man, to YOU it’s not about gender, and for a straight person, to YOU it’s not about sexual orientation. Sure. Simply put, when you’re the dominant group, the privileged group, you don’t get to say that it’s not about…. Because you only see the world from your privileged position. Instead of making statements like this, let’s be honest that we are not color-blind (or gender-blind, or whatever) and let’s dialogue about how race does affect us and how we can be more aware, and listen and try to understand what life is like being black in America where you are more likely to be pulled over, more likely to be labeled “suspicious” and 10 times more likely to be incarcerated. Because when it comes down to it, it is about race.

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