The racism that people of color and especially black people are experiencing is inhumane. Lately, I have been more involved into educating myself on history that was not taught in schools on purpose. There are proven facts about atrocities being conducted on people of color that everyone should know and CONDEMN.
According to many activists the first step is to listen! Allow people of color to share their outrageous experiences with racism, bias, discrimination, bigotry, brutality, oppression, and anything else that we as white people do not have to deal with due to our white privilege.
Then, put yourselves in their shoes and maybe, just maybe we are about to get a small glimpse of what they are going through! Knowing that it is up to every individual to do their part and eradicate racism from the world around us!
Since, I am not the best person to be talking about this I decided to interview a fellow bloggger on the issue. Her blog is thesassiness.com where she can educate all of us on some black history, the influence of black power, and why it is important to discuss racial disparities to name just a few!
Take a read with an open-mind and heart!
What is racism to you?
Racism to me is when a person feels hatred or disliked from others based on race. Imagine having all that hatred in your heart because you don’t like someone’s race.
Have you witnessed racism?
Yes, I have and it’s one of the worst things. To hate someone purely because they are of a different race is absurd and we just don’t need that in the world.
When did you hear the word racism for the first time?
As a young black woman I heard it pretty early in life. Racism was explained to me because of what I will encounter in life. So as a child you’re kind of jaded already because in the back of your mind you have this reminder that there are people who think it’s okay to hate you because of what you look like or because you’re of another race.
What do you think about institutional racism? Do you believe it does exist within law enforcement agencies/government bodies?
To be completely honest institutional racism is stupid. And it absolutely does exist within law enforcement agencies and government bodies. There are many studies that have proven that if you are an African American or a Person of Color you are more likely to not only be arrested, but also sentenced and serve longer jail times. So basically, we are at a disadvantage because of skin color and race.
Why do you think people have had enough and are protesting?
People are protesting so hard right now because they’ve had enough of the killings of Black Americans at the hands of the Police. They had enough with the murders of Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, and many more. The protests weren’t heard then and we want to be heard even more so now because this is just absurd.
Why do we need to take such extreme measures for our concerns to be heard. It is not enough to just be heard and be pacified with “we hear you” we need action. We need to restructure the system, we need to be holding these officers accountable for these wrong doings.
These protests are an eruption of bottled up emotions. With the murders of Breonna Taylor, Ahmuad Arbery and George Floyd it fueled a fire that could have been extinguished had something been done long ago. Unfortunately now we are experiencing the fall out.
What do you think white people should do to help?
For me, I need white people to understand that they have a privilege. They will never experience being killed or harmed because of the color of their skin. So they can help by first not speaking for those of the Black community.
As much as you think this may help it will do more harm than good. If you are a white person and want to know how you can help educate yourself on racial disparities it is very imperative to understand and acknowledge the everyday challenges Black people face. Using your platform to amplify the voices of those within the Black community.
Lastly be a safe place for the Black community. Be an ally but only if you genuinely believe that Black Lives Matter. Please do it out of the goodness of your heart and not just because you feel pressured into doing so or because everyone else is doing it.
Who or what do you think is at the root of the problem?
The system and government is the root of the problem for sure. The American Government and the system was created for those who fit the look of what America stands for- meaning those who are Caucasian (white). The system was designed by white men to protect white men.
When would you call someone a racist?
I would call someone a racist when they are singling out a person or a group of people because of their skin color or race. If they make remarks that are degrading because of a person’s race or insinuate that they shouldn’t be here in America is racist.
When someone reports a racist incident what do you think they are trying to accomplish?
In cases where a racial incident is reported they are trying to bring to the attention of those in authority that they are being discriminated against and that is not okay. But also to out these horrible people who go out of their ways to make others feel uncomfortable and sometimes even harm them. These people and their actions are wrong and should not be tolerated.
What role do you think microaggressions have played?
Microaggressions have played a vital role that acted as a segue way that made these types of acts acceptable. People will claim them as just words until they are carried into actions and someone gets hurt.
What is your personal experience with racism?
I’ve had a few experiences with racism but the one that really got to me was when my Political Science Professor gave me a 73 on my book report because he didn’t agree with my opinions.
My book report was on The Solution by Jay Morrison. On top of giving a brief overview of what the book is about we were asked to give our opinions on the book and what we liked or didn’t like. He picked my book report apart sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph.
I agreed with Mr Morrison’s ideas that the Black community should be able to have a seat at the table, have equal representation and be treated equally. My professor basically undermined all of my opinions and told me my opinions were wrong.
How is it possible for him, a white elderly man who was a former Oklahoma Republican Representative, to tell me, a young black female, that my opinions on Black reparations and representations were wrong? How is it okay for him to disregard how I see, live and experience being Black in America when he could never begin to understand?
It was really hard for me to have respect for him after the book report and thank goodness I was pretty on top of my work course because I was able to end the semester with an A in his class despite the C grade book report.
But to have racist educators who impose their personal ideals and young minds and disregard the chance for them to grow their own opinion and to have these opinions is wrong. And they need to be addressed. Because of this experience it’s become even more important for me to speak and not let incidents like these happen quietly.
A small bio about Janessa-Michelle
Janessa- Michelle is a young adult lifestyle blogger. She was born and raised in Hawai’i and is currently living in Utah. She is pursuing a degree in Political Science with big dreams to contribute to change in the world. Janessa loves to read, laugh and have a good time. Want to catch more of her? Subscribe to her blog thesassiness.com and keep up with her.
You can also follow her on her social media platforms:
After reading the interview I hope you have a better understanding of what white privilige is and how you have been benefiting from it! Life is unfair to minorities and it is up to the priviliged ones to speak up and change their ways. Then, influence the people around them to do the same.
According to Professor Daisy Lovelace ” a really powerful way to support diversity and inclusion is to be an ALLY”.
The following is from her course!
“What is an Ally?
A person who chooses to align with efforts to improve the circumstances for individuals from a marginalized or disadvantaged group. Someone who :
Acts – by speaking up when there is an inappropriate action happening! This act differentiates an innocent bystander from an ally!
Learns – avoids making assumptions and learns as much as they can about the experiences of those they are trying to support!
Listens – with the goal to summarize or paraphrase the information that someone shared! Then, articulate what others are feeling!
Yields – their privilege, with the goal to acknowledge that some things are easier because of certain characteristics. Guilt is unnecessary and unproductive.
Remember that being an ally is a choice, being neutral or not objecting to an effort does not make a person an ally! An Ally does not know it all and this is why you should approach this stance with humility and awareness.
Allies are not expected to fix or address a problem but they are critical in efforts to reduce diversity and inclusion!”
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How did Janessa-Michelle’s answers make you feel? Share with me your views on the matter in the comments!
I am a life long-learner with multiple interests and passions. Due to being an overthinker, I tend to research and explore any topic to the fullest and share this research with all my readers. All tips and knowledge shared are from years of personal and professional experience. Check my About page for more info.