Recognizing White Privilege

Hi Friends!
I’m sending this update early because I’m very excited to share a few recent developments with you.
First, I’d like to welcome a significant number of new members to our group. Last week I sent an email to my neighborhood about some recent expressions of racism towards our fellow neighbors (people of color) and I received a wonderfully positive response from many, who have subsequently joined our group. If you want to see a copy of what I wrote, I’m happy to share it. It can be nerve-wracking to speak up, so having an example and hearing from others who have done it can be helpful.
Also, if you’re new (or even if you’re not), please peruse our resource list here to see articles and other resources that might be useful as you engage in this work. There is also a list of organizations, many of which have email lists, if you want to start getting updates from those working in the public sphere for change.
A recent study in Virginia shows that eviction rates in our state are significantly affected by race, even after controlling for poverty and income rates.
As always, if anyone in the group is interested in a particular topic or event or relevant resource, please feel free to share it with the group. I’m always open to ideas and suggestions. I’m also actively seeking accountability partners, so if you know of community members of color who might be open to consulting/guiding our progress, please let me know.
Our friends at the Legal Aid Justice Center’s Immigrant Advocacy Program and VACOLAO have organized an information session about the proposed changes to the Public Charge Rule on Tuesday, November 27 from 9–11 am at UUCA.
For school district updates, the elementary boundary process is moving quickly. There is a Public Hearing on Tuesday, November 27 starting at 7 pm. The final vote will be on Thursday, December 6, which will start at 6 pm to allow time for public comment.
I wanted to share a couple of recent useful resources about the celebration of Thanksgiving.
(1) “Do Native Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving and Should You?”
(2) “How to Enjoy Thanksgiving Without Swallowing the Stereotypes”
One of the things you can do, for those of you with school-age children, is to think about the Thanksgiving story you tell them (or that they learn in school). Find ways to incorporate elements of the truth (age appropriate) and help them question the myths we have created around the holiday and share your own family’s values around the holiday and how they might differ.
For our white group members, please engage with the news story about the black security guard in Chicago who apprehended a shooting suspect and then was was killed by police responding to the shooting. If you have any hesitation about believing the significantly higher risk posed to people of color by police, this is just one of so many examples. It’s obviously being investigated, but that won’t bring him back and won’t bring lasting change. We don’t focus as much on criminal justice in this group, but there are direct ties to our educational system and our justice system. This is also a clear example of a white supremacist system working the way it is intended to work.
One of our group members shared this clip from the Daily Show after the election, an interview with Rebecca Traister, author of Good and Mad. The relevant part for this group is mostly in the second half when she talks about how white women have historically supported the white patriarchy and that those white women who are “waking up” need to follow the cues and leadership of Black women, who have been doing this work much longer.
And that connects perfectly with this video from Red Table Talk (hosted by Jada Pinkett-Smith) about the divide between women of color and white women (you don’t have to log in to Facebook to see it). It’s candid and compelling and also includes Jane Elliott who has been working on anti-racism work for a lifetime.
The Washington Post included an article about racial bias in online mortgage lending (much has been researched before about mortgage discrimination by banks). This means that computer algorithms are biased, too.
As news circulates about the horrific fires in California, it turns out that vulnerability to fires is higher for communities of color.
I wish all of you a very happy Thanksgiving holiday. Thank you for engaging in this important work!
Listen. Amplify. Follow.

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