I do. I have racial bias. I feel things sometimes that I know are unfair or racially motivated. Honestly, that's okay. We all do. Instead of getting defensive, I think we need to acknowledge the prejudices and biases we have in order to move past them. We need to be aware of our racial biases in our pursuit of equality. Unfortunately, I'm not seeing a lot of that introspection happening at a time it should be. Having racial bias doesn't make you racist. What makes you racist is the actions you choose to take with that bias in mind (or 'not in mind' if introspection isn't your thing). Oh, I have white privilege too. The same applies to it as well.
I saw a tweet last night that really resonated with me. It says: "White people: your privilege lives in the fact that you can be outraged, horrified, and upset about tonight. But you are not afraid." (via @jazzedloon) We need to stop being defensive about this privilege and thinking that having it means we aren't good people. Bottom line, you can't help it. You were born with it. You will die with it. How you deal with it is up to you, but we're going to move past this shit a lot faster if you acknowledge it.
Listen, I get it. Talking about race is really difficult, but talking about looting is really easy. Looting. It's wrong. Racial bias? Complicated. Nuanced. Challenging. Personally, I'm not that interested in talking about a small minority of people who abused a situation. Unfortunately, it appears that a ton of you, my Google+ peeps, are. From memes that imply black people don't have jobs to sarcastic comments about how this is "absolutely helping" to the "Why, I would never act that way!" statuses, the importance of the looting has been greatly exaggerated as people, once again, try to ignore the bigger issue and focus on something easier to understand.
To those people I say: May you never feel the anguish, frustration, or as shorted as the people protesting do now. Everyone reaches a breaking point. I empathize with the protesters, but I don't encourage violence. I say that with the knowledge that without justice, there can't be peace. Honestly, if I were in their shoes, I don't know what I would do. I'd probably want to set a car on fire too. You have no idea what it feels like to be born into a society that wasn't made for you. That doesn't mean I dismiss the actions of the looters, but it means I understand them. I try to look at all of it through that lens.
As an aside, I'm incredibly disappointed with my gay friends who say that the protests are too violent or over the top. Do you not remember what people did to get you your rights in the first place?
If you've noticed, I haven't said much about the actual verdict yet. That's on purpose. The reason why I haven't is because I'm not sure talking about it is productive yet. I'm not sure we're ready to talk about someone else's racial bias when we can't even acknowledge our own. We're not going to make any progress on deciding whether or not the grand jury made the right call if we're still thinking we aren't racist because we have black friends. So let's use this moment productively and think about what it means to have racial bias. If all we can see is looting, we have a long way to go.
I don't pray, but my thoughts are with you #Ferguson .