Happy New Year, WJSS Readers!
I am going to try to keep this brief because I am still recovering from recent surgery (middle-age woman stuff, and yes, thanks, I am doing fine) which for me is a feat since my last post, a “summary” of the 2014 National Center for Race Amity Conference turned into a 3,000 word article.
Like any year, and like life itself, there are great big shiny moments, and wondrously small magnificent moments, and there are small petty pain-in-the butt moments and great big horrific moments. This year is no exception, and I, and I know many of you, can’t help but go to the remembrance of the recent heartbreaking horrific moments: of the non-indictments of the officers involved in the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases, I have witnessed friends’ and strangers’, locally and globally–their sadness, frustration, and anger, over the inequity of the justice system, and couldn’t help but notice the divisiveness across color lines these cases provoked.
Yet, I now keep saying to friends that aside from these feelings of despair, I have hope. I have hope that things were so out of whack that the people of Ferguson, Missouri, and people all over the United States, and all over the world, have said, “Enough!” That people are making their voices heard through protest, live and on social media, and through one-on-one dialogue that things have to change for the better. That we need a more equitable justice system. That we need to take a closer look at dismantling the seemingly invisible, to many white people especially, systems of privilege, unconscious bias, and structural racism that make black people feel that their lives don’t matter.
Wendy Jane’s Soul Shake was never intended to be a blog about racism. It is supposed to be about where people intersect across color lines and what happens there. For things to change for the better, I feel white people have to let go of their fears of engaging in honest, open dialogues about racism and the invisible to us systems that our white privilege affords us. We have to listen, and validate what black people are saying are their experiences. And, then we have to figure out a way to make things fair and equitable for everyone, with everyone–black, white, and brown, having a say in how that happens–not just one person’s story, not just one race’s perspective on how to shape things. It is our responsibility to do that, and not just sit silently because we have the luxury of turning off discussions about race whenever we feel like it.
You, my readers have always told me you appreciate that I am not soapboxy here on WJSS, but I’m afraid over the past two years in some of my posts I have been. I can’t help myself because I feel the only way we can move forward is if we see the problems of racism and the solutions of eradicating racism as everyone’s responsibility.
It is a new year. We can do something every day to make connections across color lines, to understand one another’s perspectives, and to bridge the barriers to mixing it up that most of us socially exist within. I know that this is on my slate for every day for the rest of my life now.
I want to thank all of you so very much for subscribing to and/or reading Wendy Jane’s Soul Shake in 2014. I thank you for your comments here, on Facebook, and on twitter, and for what you share with me publicly and privately about how certain posts have made you think or feel. You have rewarded me with your feedback, questions and insights, which gives me new inspiration to dig deeper.
Here’s to digging deeper. Here’s to hope that the events in 2014 will make things better in 2015. Here’s to highlighting here the positive interactions and work that does happen across colorlines every day, and of course, here’s to a few MJ stories sprinkled in throughout the year for good measure.