By Leah Mason-Virgin
Children are a precious gift. Every parent seeks to love, protect, and create the best possible future for their children.
Our daughter is the most amazing, loving, smart, and wonderful person on the planet. And there are people in this country who do not want to look past the color of her skin to know her and be blessed by knowing her.
The last several days are just the most recent example of deeply ingrained prejudice and racism in America.
White children know how to threaten black children with the "n" word, as happened to my daughter. White women know how to threaten black men to get their way - see the New York park dog walker. White cops can crush black men and women with no remorse or repercussions.
Many Government officials drag their feet, make excuses, and feed the monster of prejudice and racism with their words and inaction.
This country has an underlying illness. A system refusing to acknowledge and educate against racism. A factor in this failure to acknowledge the hard truths comes from a place of privilege. This privilege creates a veil of blindness to underlying cultural, system, and personal racism. As a people overall, we keep refusing to acknowledge racism. We keep trying to pretend that people in power do not STILL oppress, marginalize, and judge a thousand more times harshly a person of color or other ethnic groups than a white person.
Research studies demonstrate that white people judge black children, men, and women more harshly and more critically. Yet, those in a privileged position consistently dismiss or diminish these studies with a pat "oh, isn't that awful, but It can't be that bad because I don't see it".
I know it takes time to change the consequences of the dehumanization of black Americans and people of color by the slavery movement, segregation, Jim Crow, and on.
But we live in 2020 when social media, news, and educational institutions are available to consistently speak up and shine the light on this plight.
Every single mother of a black child is so tired of being scared, worried, and exhausted from trying to get people to believe them and hear the truth of racism. When will people stop making excuses for their ingrained reactions and beliefs about black Americans?
It is okay to say that we did not realize how pervasive the ignorance and privilege is. I have been embarrassed by my past privileged mindset. It took internal retrospection and analyzing my mindset as I have witnessed racism and prejudice toward my daughter first and second hand.
I was ignorant to this position of privilege before seeing it happen to my daughter. How often blatant and not so blatant prejudice and racism happens to black Americans. I now see the looks, hear the tone, and see the judgement in ways that I never would have before.
White Americans it is okay to be embarrassed. It is okay to be wrong. It is okay to start realizing, analyzing, and understanding thoughts and feelings that are uncomfortable. But we need to get over our embarrassment and preconceived notions and act!
Now, is the time to start listening and sharing the stories of those who are hurting and scared. Share the stories, the videos, and the truth. We need to get over our concern of what our "privileged circle of family and friends" may think. Yes, people will say they are tired of hearing about it and they will say it's all blown out of proportion. But that is a privileged mindset because it is not directly impacting you or your loved ones.
Who will stand with us today, tomorrow, next week, next month, and next year? Who will push for educating our law enforcement? Who will demand fair treatment? Who will really look inside themselves, consider their sphere of privilege and decide we as a people of God have had enough?
Please have the bold courage to stand with us.