Be Uncomfortable.

Being uncomfortable is the point. We don’t change our hearts when we are comfortable.

I hope that this blog post makes you VERY uncomfortable. Don’t scroll by. Sit in the uncomfortable spaces. Read the posts of your BIPOC friends. Read the comments. Think through your biases (thoughts, words, behaviors). We ALL have them. Acknowledging them is what will knock our pride on its feet.

These are comments curated by me and my girls from classmates, co-workers and family and, yes, some of them are from voices currently on my friends list.

“What are you? You look {fill in the blank with your choice} __.”

“Why are your lips so big like those “n”? Looks like you’re one of “them.”

“Are you are an Eskimo? Serious. Are you?”

“Do you speak Spanish? You look like you should.”

“Do you know what a “beaner” is? Well, that’s what you are.”

Mixed Family taking photos. Photographer to my daughters: “Well where did you come from? You don’t look like you fit here with your skin color.”

“Why don’t you speak Spanish?” {yelling angrily}

Referring to me: “Was your mom really born in the United States?”

“Oh sorry! You know I meant that as a compliment right?”

**Subtle seating charts, group projects, partnered work/workouts (all the brown-skinned students together)

Not white enough to fit in with whites and not brown enough to fit in with any other group.
Not being able to fit us into a box makes people uncomfortable.

See, I never thought I had the power to call this behavior or the comments out, especially because maybe they were right: What am I? If they don’t know and I don’t know my own history as an adoptee, I must have zero ground to stand on. {wrong}

As one of the very few educators of color at my school, I can tell you that I’ve witnessed biases and racism, firsthand. I grew up in a very small Texas town and now live in another small Texas town. Nothing has really changed except the faces behind the comments.

These comments and the ones that flow so easily and try with all of their might to come out as a compliment, is EXACTLY what I want others to be aware of. THIS rhetoric needs to change and we ALL need to check ourselves at the door of racist/colorism thoughts, words and behaviors.

It 👏🏻 Isn’t 👏🏻 Enough 👏🏻 To 👏🏻 BE 👏🏻SILENTLY 👏🏻NOT RACIST.👏🏻 WE 👏🏻MUST 👏🏻WORK 👏🏻TO 👏🏻BE 👏🏻ANTI-RACIST!

My friend, Amy, posted a quote from an article (link below) and it moved me so much and reminds me each day to keep digging, reading, listening and ACTING on what I’m learning:

“If you’ve never had a defining moment in your childhood or life, where you realize your skin color alone makes other people hate you, you have white privilege.”

This involves action on our part. It involves asking questions and really hearing the responses. It takes challenging ourselves and surrounding ourselves with those that will challenge us without us defaulting to defensiveness. Don’t create an echo chamber of only people that repeat back your beliefs and experiences.

…. And now my girls are sharing things similar to those experiences I never shared with my own parents or friends because it wasn’t considered “polite” to do so. And now I KNOW I have to teach them not to cower down to this behavior. It doesn’t matter if it’s a friend, a family member, a colleague, a teacher, or a church member.

I’m vowing to do the work on and within myself to be a better advocate for all BIPOC people in my life near and dear to me. I ask you to do the same.

Editorial: What I Said When My White Friend Asked for My Black Opinion on White Privilege