about me

I am a 31-year-old white girl from a small town in Indiana. I have moved around a lot and lived in three other states, but I am currently living in the town I grew up in with my husband, three cats, and one crazy dog. 

I was (as were most of my peers in this area) raised believing a very few simple things about race: racism is wrong, most people are not racist anymore, and it is not polite to talk about racism.

Let me be clear — I don’t remember ever actually having a conversation with my parents or teachers about race when I was in grade school. The information I “knew” was merely the understood societal norm. I guess it was never deemed a “necessary” conversation; we were from a predominately white area (it has been 13 years, but I don’t remember a single black student in my class in school…we didn’t have more than a handful of minorities of any kind that I can recall), and it “didn’t affect us”. I have a biracial cousin on my dad’s side, but the fact that she is black was never a topic of conversation, and her father was not present. I have a few mixed Latinx cousins on my mom’s side, but again – aside from a few snide comments from my grandma – their race was never brought up. 

I was briefly taught in school about the civil war, but I honestly don’t remember ever getting far enough forward in our history books that we covered segregation. Of course I’ve seen it in movies and documentaries, and I’ve read about it in books (mostly fiction), but those were largely my only sources of information for the majority of my life. 

There is a large Hispanic community in my hometown (my parents live in a rural area, so I actually attended school K-12 at a county school in a neighboring, even smaller town), and the only commentary I remember on that as an adolescent was the ever-present “they’re taking our jobs” mantra; this is a factory town, and it seems that if they can hire POC for less money, they will. I did not recognize that rhetoric back then for what it was: racism. 

It has taken me a long time to learn that racism is not solely a conscious act of hate from one person. I remember being so uninformed in high school that my friends and I would talk about Affirmative Action as if it were detrimental to our own futures. I believed “reverse racism” was possible. However, we only talked about it with each other, each of us just as under-informed as the other having gone to the same schools and raised by the same under-informed and/or apathetic parents. 

[photo after php update] The second definition for racism as defined by Merriam-Webster, is, “a. a doctrine or political program based on the assumption of racism and designed to execute its principles  b. a political or social system founded on racism”.

It took four years of liberal arts college and maybe four more years of social media to learn that my ignorance was a PRIVILEGE. 

BIPOC children do not get the privilege of ignorance to the real definition of racism; they are reminded constantly from a young age that their skin color is going to play a large part in how hard they will have to work for opportunities and how differently they will be treated by society than their white peers. 

BIPOC have been granted civil rights, but we have not updated the structure of our legal/economic/societal system since it was put in place after the revolution, during a time when the white men building said system were slave owners and did not see any problem with that. Our system was built to oppress black people. 

I am going to use this forum to catalog my journey to becoming more aware of my privilege, starting with but not limited to the journal reflections outlined in Layla F. Saad’s Me and White Supremacy