I’ve seen conflicting information today about what to post, what not to post, who should post, who shouldn’t post and what hashtags should or shouldn’t be included in the post. At this point, I’m not sure what is the right thing to be doing other than to be continuing to take action. So I will post without hashtags one of the actions I’ve taken today and I will share it in the hopes that it can act as a template or a resource for others to craft similar requests to have these tough conversations with their families. Please feel free to borrow from my words, but make them your own. This should be a very intimate and personal request to get raw and open and real. As a sign of accountability, I urge you to take your version of this letter and share it whatever way you think to be appropriate, whether that’s with close friends to encourage them to do the same, or on some social media platform.
As with trying to decipher what and how to post on Black Out Tuesday, I’m struggling to understand and walk the somewhat very fine line between performative activism and sincerely speaking up and sharing the right messages and voices.
If this comes off as performative, or as a misstep, I am sorry. I can only state that this comes from a very genuine place of wanting to do the real work and show up, and I am committed to learning and doing better every day.
* * *
Dear Mom and Dad,
You’ve always taught me to do the right thing and to stand up in the face of injustice. It is because of those lessons that you have instilled in me and the belief system that you have passed down of equality, integrity and justice that I am reaching out to you now.
I want to have a very difficult, tough, honest and open conversation about race, racism, White privilege, White supremacy and how these very real issues have shown up in our lives, our language and to examine what these dynamics have meant for us as a family.
I would like to share some of what I have learned recently, hear from your thoughts and opinions and to have a discussion on what our role — both as individuals and as a family — looks like as proactive vessels for change and resolution rather than perpetuating these injustices by rooting ourselves in inaction.
I do not want to sugarcoat this invitation as I’ve already done some very difficult introspection and learning for myself and what I’ve uncovered thus far isn’t pretty. I anticipate this will be hard for all of us. I know I will learn more from your years of wisdom, listening and hearing what it was like to live through historical events I was not around for, and from all of your opinions and perspectives as individuals that those events and life experiences have shaped. I also, expect to be able to teach you what I have learned in my short existence (well, at least in comparison to you two), from the events and experiences that have shaped my identity and perspectives as an individual and I respectfully ask that you keep your defenses down. I ask that you keep mind open and your heart open to that learning when presented with new information. I promise to do the same.
True to the values and the belief system that you have taught me, let’s stand on the right side of history together.
* * *
Note: As my intent is amplification of Black voices and not self-promotion or to prop myself up as an expert on these issues that are not my own, any and all proceeds earned through Medium’s Partner Program on this piece will be distributed to the work of the individual activists and organizations fighting on behalf of social justice.
Previously published on “Equality Includes You”, a Medium publication.
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