I am someone who expresses her thoughts through words, and I’ve been at a loss for what to say.  Our world is fractured. Our connections, already strained because of quarantine, feel further disrupted by the unrest after the killing of George Floyd. Peaceful protests. Unrest. Riots. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “riots are the language of the unheard.”  Google it.  He didn’t just say it once.  He said it many times because it was necessary many times.  You’ll find it referenced over and over because this is far from the first time we have found ourselves in this situation.

I wish this time was different.  I hope this time is different.  A black man or woman is killed.  People express sadness and anger and fear.  Others unite around them.  We move on.  It happens again.  And again.

I don’t know what to say.

I don’t know what to do.

But I know that I have to start with myself.  I know that I have to listen more, read more.  I know that I have to be willing to confront my white privilege, my white fragility, my own racism.  It is time to look inward.

If riots are the language of the unheard, then listening is a good place to start.

I’ve been reminded recently that when our view of racism is limited to the obvious, horrific, blatant examples, we risk missing the larger, systemic racism.  When we rationalize that only a few hateful, bad people are guilty of being racist, we risk missing the larger, systemic ways we could be contributing to the problem and to the solution.

I contribute to the problem, and I can contribute to the solution.

Listen.  Action is critical right now, but action ill-informed is not helpful.

Read.  Action is critical right now, but action based solely on our limited knowledge and perspective is not helpful.

Commit to self-reflection.  Look inward.  Accept that we are all in a different place on this journey, and that we all have a responsibility to seek answers.

We need each other.  We need to find ways to learn from each other and to appreciate each other. Never have I ever been more acutely aware of how much I need humankind.  Six feet apart is hard.  But the idea of six degrees of separation is hopeful.  If we are all linked to every other person by six or fewer connections, then we can tackle these seemingly insurmountable issues.

I don’t know what to do.

I don’t know what to say.

But I am committed to learning and to listening and to taking action.

 

One thought on “Six Degrees of Separation

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