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February 13, 2022

White (in)Sensitivity

In honor of Black History Month, some thoughts on White (in)Sensitivity.

A Black friend recently recounted a story about a white client of theirs describing a Black person who had been interviewed on TV, dressed conservatively in a suit and tie, and she said, “If only more Black people would just present themselves like that, people would listen to them”. Ironically she was advocating that Black people should “look more like white people” to be taken seriously by white people, because she actually thought that was the “right way” to be. She was not commenting on the sad reality of how Black people have to alter themselves, in myriad, uncountable, demeaning ways, in order to get along in a white world. How sad it is that we as white people need to be ‘pandered to’ in this way so as not to be made to feel uncomfortable. Aren’t we stronger than that? We talk about how Black people need to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. Yes, sadly necessary for a fighting chance in a white-ruled world. But what do we white people need to do?  How about we hold ourselves to a higher standard than requiring others to change themselves so that we can be prevented from feeling uncomfortable? And how about we take a serious look at the reasons for feeling uncomfortable in the first place?

It is in our power now to ensure we are part of a history that is a departure from the history of our past. I implore my fellow white brothers and sisters, let’s make this a time in history that we can all be proud of.

#BlackHistory #WhiteHistory #BeTheChange

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