Megan Westra recently asked an interesting question on Twitter: “what have you done in the last year to decenter and/or deconstruct whiteness in your life?” I appreciated her question and answered it thusly:
I’ve come to admit my white privilege. I used to recoil at the idea, thinking if I hadn’t personally committed any overt racist acts, I was not a racist and thus not to blame for anything. I’ve since come to realize I have a reponsibility to fight back against systemic racism.
If I’d had more room in my tweet, I would have admitted I’m not sure what the most effective way is for me fight against racism and #bigotry, but I do know I’ve started by examining my own actions. I intentionally try to go out of my way to listen to and respect the voices and art of people of color, and I encourage their promotion in all fields of endeavor. And if I’m ever given any authority to recommend candidates for a team, panel, conference, whatever…I intend to put in a lot of effort to find people from the margins to make sure they get first dibs. This doesn’t make me a great person. It just means I’ve grown a little bit more aware than some of my white peers, for which I am grateful.