A Time I Failed to Be Antiracist

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These are comments/posts from Facebook 7 years ago. I saw them in my memories yesterday, and was disgusted and ashamed of myself, but I felt it was a teaching moment to share how wrong I was here, and how unwilling to listen I was too.

I was deep into thinking Libertarianism was where I wanted to be, and to be honest, that philosophy isn’t antiracist or one that has antiracist people in it.

This was a case of be doing the opposite of what Brené Brown tells us to do; I was there to be right not to get it right.

I was tone deaf and unwilling to listen to black folks; some even called me out in comments and I refused to listen.

They were right, and I was wrong. Since then I’ve changed my mind about this case. Zimmerman actually auctioned off the gun he used to lynch Treyvon, and he signs Skittles bags and Confederate flags for racist people. Yes, that’s real, look it up. He’s racist AF, and he deserves to be in jail for life for what he did.

Dr. Ibram X. Kendi says being antiracist means being wrong and failing at times, but doing what Brene says and being willing to say, “I’m not here to be right, but to get it right.”

I apologize for not getting this right 7 years ago, and hope the black friends I hurt and offended can forgive me.

As Kendi says, we can be antiracist one minute and racist the next; this was my being the latter unfortunately and unwilling to check my white, cisgender, straight male privilege at the door and actually listen to the black community.

I failed to do antiracist work and actually listen here.

We all will fail, but I’m trying to fail better each time I do fail in doing this work. I’m glad I kept wrestling with all this and changed my mind about so much of the stuff I said here.

White brothers and sisters, we can change our minds if we do the hard work of listening and admitting we’re wrong when we clearly are. Keep listening and wrestling! This work is hard and takes a lot of vulnerability to get it right. Don’t be afraid to admit you’re wrong and be willing to say, “I am not here to be right, but to get it right.”

 

Being an antiracist requires persistent self-awareness, constant self-criticism, and regular self-examination.” -Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, “How to Be an Antiracist”

 

UPDATE on 7-15-20: Many have asked about what led me to changing my mind about these matters, so I am including that in this piece: 

Someone remarked about how much growth I had had since this shit, and I commented to them that it is largely due to my graduate degree in counseling. I believe that and getting out of Libertarianism and becoming a Leftist did it for me.

I gave up on Progressive/Leftist stuff because Obama’s policies were a dismal disappointment to true Leftist/Progressive causes, and he governed like a Neo-Liberal Centrist.

I went Right for awhile until I learned I couldn’t be there and discovered Bernie and more Leftist options like the Democratic Socialists of America.

Don’t get me wrong, Obama made some good decisions too, but overall, I, like many black antiracist voices such as Cornel West and many others, found many of his policies and decisions to be very disappointing. However, Obama radicalized me with his many failures as Pres.

It was mainly those two things along with just getting older, maturing, and learning to listen and such. seeking first to understand. I hope that makes sense.

Additionally, I also spent 7 and half years living at this school surrounded by a majority that was Ethiopian, but also other races and cultures. Being there and growing up like that definitely had an impact on my worldview. Thankfully, my friends and peers from here have been patient with me, but also taught me a lot. Just seeing them and listening to them has been helpful.

4 thoughts on “A Time I Failed to Be Antiracist

  1. Very courageous post. I feel the same. I recently looked back on my life and found many racist views which I am now talking openly about. I want to be a part of the healing solution to years and years of racism. Peace – Bill

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jon, you reveal this embarrassing past viewpoint, but not when it how you changed.
    That would be interesting and hopefully revealing to read.

    Liked by 1 person

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