Readin’ with Rachel: It’s Time to Address the Civil Unrest

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Rachel Scully, Campus Editor

It’s safe to say that 2020 has been quite the year for all of us. I know I don’t need to name every bad thing that has happened to remind everyone. We were all there, we were all in quarantine, and we all felt a tremendous amount of stress. However, there is one specific aspect of this year that has been plaguing my mind since May: the social and civil unrest in this country. 

After George Floyd died at the hands of Minneapolis police, I watched the results of his death play out online through videos, pictures and tweets. “I can’t breathe” became a rallying cry for a movement, a cry that still holds power. People came together and knew that his death was not going to be just another killing of a black man “resisting” arrest. I knew I couldn’t let it be that way either. However, as a white woman with a privileged background, I knew it was not my time to talk. Rather, I wanted to educate myself and amplify the Black voices who desperately need to be heard. 

I took it upon myself to read Robin DiAngelo’s “White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism.” DiAngelo, as a white woman, explains the importance of talking about racism and highlights that racism is not as transparent as it used to be. Racism is embedded into society and hidden within the nooks and crannies of our social system. It hides behind our ignorance. 

I know that I have made my own mistakes, and it is so important to continue to learn and understand. My experiences of the world as a white person are completely different than the experiences of a person of color. DiAngelo highlights that as well.

Facing racism head-on will put an end to it. This can be done through numerous ways, such as talking about it openly, confronting each other when something racist is said and, most importantly, not being upset when you are called out  for making racist remarks. 

We, as white people, immediately fall apart when we are confronted with our racist tendencies. We say things like “I’m not racist. I have Black friends!” or “I am the least racist person I know.” We even try to validate what we say by explaining how “not racist” we are. By doing so, we are invalidating Black experiences and hardships to save our own egos and centering white voices yet again.

That’s why I urge everyone to educate themselves on this topic. This summer has brought masses to the streets, fighting against systemic racism. Whether you agree with the protests as a method or not, there are multiple different ways to work towards being  anti-racist. It is not enough to just “not be racist,” we have to abolish racism completely and call it out. Be anti-racist. Talk about racism at home with your family and friends. We have to be comfortable with being uncomfortable when talking about racism because it’s not going away. The first step in making change is by acknowledging that there is a problem.