Jennifer’s How to be an Anti-Racist

How are you holding up this Morselicious Monday? Are you still staying safer-at-home? California’s Covid-19 cases have surged again and all of my friends/family are staying home; however, when we do venture outside, we wear masks to protect others. Speaking of others, I’ve been reflecting about the kind of person I want to be/am becomingGratitude, creativity and education are recurring themes. I am grateful for my health, my family and friends health, safety and thoughtfulness. Yesterday, three beautiful surprises arrived on my doorstep, literally. My best friend since Kindergarten sent a package of books she loved. My dear friend, Brad sent me Angel Cards and the first card I picked was “Liberation.” And my soul-sister, Jennie made a special delivery of my favorite unsweetened cacao powder. The best part was seeing her after 4-months of Coronatine. We talked at the door a safe six-feet distance wearing our green masks. I am truly blessed. Lest not forget the incredible friendship and support Taylor has been contributing to Mac-n-Mo’s presence.

Along this thread, my stunning friend, Jennifer Shelton who wrote today’s post when I asked her how I can learn more about becoming Anti-Racist. As part of my education in the Black Lives Matter Movement, I spend time every day reading these books, articles, listening to podcasts, watching tv shows/documentaries, webinars and asking questions. Jennifer’s perspective, brilliant insight and the lessons she learned from her father are enlightening.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing and reading. PLEASE, let’s all move humanity forward and listen to each other.

Social media and the news are so overwhelmingly negative right now that most people’s first instinct is to tune it all out, but I implore you to resist this urge. Sure, anything driven by hate and intolerance is upsetting to fundamentally good and decent people, but you have to know what’s going on. You need to stay engaged, because we need your voice. So, you simply have to woman up, cuz here’s the deal: This is not the time to lose an ounce of the precious momentum we have gained, literally by blood, sweat, and tears. It is a rare and precious opportunity that we cannot afford to waste.

Many have expressed the desire to affect change, but feel like they don’t know where or how to start. LEARN. If you’re a visual learner, take a look at the powerful documentary, 13th (on Netflix), and the heartbreaking films, Just Mercy and Selma. WATCH or read the news; just 20 minutes a day. (Fox doesn’t count, but you should know what they’re saying.) DON’T scroll past those links to educational videos on Facebook and Instagram. Take a look at WHOM and WHAT the politicians running for office in your area stand for and support. Most importantly, READ or listen to an audiobook on Black history, or racism in America. There are sooo many good books out there. Outliers (by Malcolm Gladwell) and The Years That Matter Most: How College Makes or Breaks Us (by Paul Tough) are wonderful places to start. They’re not specifically about race, but give you a greater appreciation of how powerful inherent advantage, and the lack thereof, can be. Then move on from there. White Fragility (by Dr. Robin DiAngelo) is an unbelievably enlightening book, and The New Jim Crow (by Michelle Alexander) is another excellent choice.

As this country has shown us, time and time again, simply changing laws does not change hearts. It’s up to individuals to do that. So, commit to doing at least something (no matter how small), every day, to expand your mind and your understanding of the situation we’re in. Study up so that you’ll have something to add to the conversation. Study up so that you’ll be in a position to redirect your friends and/or family when it’s clear that their ideas are ignorant or hateful. I realize that it can be uncomfortable to challenge the people in your life, but this is what it means to be an anti-racist. This is what it means to be an ally. It is your responsibility to say something. If you stay silent, you are the problem. Be the solution. You don’t have to live this movement every second of every day, but you do have to stay in the game. When there’s a war raging outside, you can’t just close the blinds, put on your headphones, and blast the music. That doesn’t make the problem go away, it just finds you completely unprepared when it finally reaches your front door.

BIO: My father grew up in the Jim Crow south. When he was 14, his grandmother announced that it was time for him to leave the south, because he was now of “hanging age”. He was sent to live with a relative in Los Angeles. Three years later,14-year-old Emmett Till was lynched. Even though my father felt all of the stings of racism first hand, he never let it jade him. He never swore, and the harshest words he ever spoke about anyone were, “He’s a real so-and-so.” He went on to serve in the Air Force, and become the first Black judge in (and presiding over) San Mateo County, CA. Never losing his faith in the Constitution, and the ideals of America, he even carried a copy of the Constitution in the breast pocket of his suit. My father instilled in me the value of education and knowledge, and each day he served as a living example of what it means to be kind, just, and strong.

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