Ignorance is Killing Us – Part 2 – Racism

    The second danger that we are facing now is Racism. I have been with my partner Hal, who is black, for more than 20 years, and in that time, I have learned a lot about how he sees the world as a black man. The things that he has seen in his life are frightening to think about for me. As a white man, I grew up with privilege that I never realized I had. To me, the local police were people I could put my trust in, especially in a small townh. I never thought that the black children I grew up with could have such a completely different view of the world, but after being with Hal, and then talking to some of the people I grew up with, I now know that the feelings of fear and distrust did exist even when I was a child.
    Those fears and feelings were never shared with me growing up because those feelings are deeply held in the black community. The common perception is that no white outsider can ever appreciate those feelings, that they would be called irrational or ridiculous. I never knowingly felt that way towards my friends, but I never realized that those feelings were being hidden from me either. My parents taught me as best they could to respect everyone, and to never look down on anyone. I am glad that those friends I had growing up never associated me personally with any of the problems that they encountered, but I wish that I had known about those problems so I could have helped to overcome them.
    As the number of murders committed by the police continue to grow, it becomes apparent that the real problem is ignorance. Pretending that this is a recent phenomenon completely proves the very point that my childhood friends, and Hal, have taught me. The problem has been around for over 400 years and is deeply rooted in our society. Slavery might have been outlawed, but the repercussions remain to this very day. White society has the remarkable ability to filter out unpleasant things and pretend that things are completely fine, unless the problems affect white society. This willful choice to be ignorant is a huge part of the problem.
    I am proud to be part of the #BLM movement, but I can never speak for  those directly affected. I can only speak from the perspective of a white man who is woke and proud of it. I choose to not be ignorant, because ignorance is killing us, all of us. To be silent is to be complicit.

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