Do that one thing

imagesYou’re hurt. You’re hurt because you’re black/brown and yet another black/brown man/woman has been shot and killed by the police.

You’re hurt. You’re hurt because you’re white and yet another black/brown man/woman has been shot and killed by the police and YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO.

And then the news breaks that there are five dead police officers in Dallas, and multiple people wounded. This happened while protesters were marching and chanting — literally — “Don’t shoot,” when things were so peaceful that police officers, prior to the gunfire, were posing for photos with protesters.

It feels like the wheels have fallen off the cart. That’s yet more lives lost, and we, the white people who are paying attention, keep asking ourselves, what can I do?

This is so corny and lame that I almost didn’t suggest it, but here’s what I’m doing, until I change the world, or until I decide this is stupid: Every day, I am going to do one thing to counter violence, or to counter (white) privilege. I have not made a list. I trust this will be organic, and I trust I’ll be creative enough to see opportunities to act on this, every single day.

For starters, I’m going to take the time to listen to people who don’t live on my privileged perch. Someone somewhere is going to start talking to me about something that makes me uncomfortable, and rather than change the subject or walk away, I’m going to stay and listen.

I’m going to tell someone I don’t know very well who doesn’t look or sound like me that I love him/her, because if I did know that someone, I probably would love her/him.

I’m going to write and study more about privilege.

I’m going to send money to charities I think are making a difference.

I probably will return to this in subsequent blog posts, but if you have ideas for me, I’m all ears.

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7 responses to “Do that one thing

  1. Last night I met with 26 young people in Albuquerque this week doing service projects. I was there to talk about social justice and privilege. These kids know circles around me. We shared with each other our fears and hopes and they gave me the gift of listening to me say out loud how we white people can’t do this work without confronting our own privilege. It was my first one thing. I’m in this challenge, Susan.

  2. Count me in. I found a bibliography of articles about white privilege and working to be engaged.
    5 Tips for Being an Ally, by ChescaLeigh, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_dg86g-QlM0

  3. I am sad because there is injustice and my people, black and white and any other category of fellow humans, are being killed. It seems the more we emphasize what makes us different, the more people start choosing sides and the worse things get. I believe we must fight against the urge to generalize and pit groups on opposite side, and instead, come together to fight injustice and inequality wherever it is. Racial injustice is injustice. Ethnic injustice is injustice. Gender injustice is injustice. Religious affiliation injustice is injustice. LGBTQ injustice is injustice. Poverty and wealth injustice is injustice. (These people who are being shot are not in wealthy areas.) I speak up as much as I can. Maybe I could do more. I don’t know. It often feels like I am shouting into an empty field. I don’t love according to race or ethnicity or religion or any other category like that. I think there needs to be a coming together in order for better times to be possible.

    At the same time, privilege and power over others is a problem. There’s no denying it. Privilege is complicated and multifaceted, and is an injustice. However, privilege related to self or others does not exist in the same way in every mind. These issues are complicated.

    On the other hand, when it comes to behaviors of people in power, especially when charged to protect us, we need bigger discussions and actions to change future behaviors to protect people from harm. We do need to honestly discuss what makes a person dangerous or not, how to better deescalate, how to deal with a legally, heavily armed population as an officer (an armed person is not justification to shoot them as it may have been decades ago), how to subdue a person without killing them, how to help police deal with stress as a result of having a job where their lives are threatened, when an officer should be reported…My thought is, instead of nailing police, we need to find ways to support them in doing a better job so people are not shot or treated unfairly, while not minimizing the stress involved in having a job where being shot is a possibility.

    I pray for peace.

  4. Your words resonate with me, and I have made a similar promise. I found a group of young people whose mission is to create the society in which they want to live, not just rally against the one into which they were born. As with any cultural shift, we must support our young people. I encourage you and your readers to read about the Million Hoodies Movement, and donate if you can. I am not affiliated with them; I only learned of them while searching for an answer to, “What can I do?” Perhaps they’ll need my support in some other way in the future (I’ve offered), but for now, I’m spreading the word to help them get some funding. Thanks for your post. http://millionhoodies.net/

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