I’m a white person. By virtue of my privileged experience in this world and the systems that have raised me, I am racist. I wasted a lot of years saying that I wasn’t racist because I was never intentionally racist. But, as we know and are learning more and more, you don’t have to be intentionally bigoted to be racist. It lives in our bodies and in our minds. It is baked into who we are and in the systems that perpetuate racist thinking. The way I see it we have two choices—accept that we are racist and try to avoid it when possible or undo the way we are through intentional work while working to restructure our harmful systems.
My choice is to do intentional work to recognize my bias and to retrain my brain to think differently. It’s not going to happen overnight or because I’ve watched Insecure (I mean, if you’re not watching Insecure, you should be. Issa Rae is a queen). But over time, with a lot of work, I believe that I can be changed. I believe that we can change, transform, and/or replace our broken systems. That’s why Front Porch has a book club we’re calling Reading for a Just World.
I know that reading works by BIPOC and/or queer authors isn’t going to undo all of the racism and bias that’s been instilled in me. But it’s a start. Each month we will take up a new book, sometimes fiction and other times non-fiction, and we will immerse ourselves in the world the author has created for us. Then we’ll get together and talk about it. How is the work challenging us? What does it make us wonder about? What did we learn?
We’re going to do this every month from now until we live in a world where there is no longer racism, homophobia, ableism, and other violence against marginalized populations. Which is to say, the plan is to do this indefinitely. To make ourselves people who are doing this work intentionally and regularly. It’s not a program. It’s not for a season. This is for the long haul.
We have to be intentional.
This is a start.