YOUR IMPACT: ON BEING WITH PEOPLE OF COLOR
Heard at a conference:
“When I go somewhere new and I’m the only black person there, I think to myself, “I HATE white people!” But if even a single white person smiles at me or shakes my hand, that feeling melts.”
Both Black and white Americans feel the effects of institutional racism; however, while white Americans can ignore its effects, African American suffer multiform harms.
Perhaps the most important thing white people can do, therefore, is to be socially and emotionally aware of our impact on people of color in our neighborhoods, workplaces, schools and public institutions. The first step is self-knowledge, self-reflection.
Make the effort to become aware of behaviors that are offensive or damaging to people of color; evaluate which behaviors you engage in and make a commitment to change.
Become aware of the advantages you have accrued merely due to the color of your skin. Think about how these advantages effect people of color.
What did you learn, taking the test? What are your feelings about what you learned? Self-reflection is key here - we must know ourselves before we can hold space for other people.
Many institutions such as museums and universities, while comfortable for white people, are deeply stressful environments for people of color. Consider the experience an African-American artist had traveling abroad to participate in an exhibit of her artwork. How would people of color describe your work environment?