How are things in your town or city? I hope you all are staying safe, while still finding ways to be part of the solution to systemic racism.
In recent days, I’ve been participating in some peaceful grassroots actions in my local area. Specifically: a march; a beach and neighborhood cleanup (organized by a local Black activist in reponse to community concerns about a mass social gathering that left a lot of trash on the beach and in neighborhoods); and finding ways to support Black-owned businesses in addition to my usual ways. Another peaceful grassroots action I’ve been doing is speaking up to offer a counterpoint to fellow white people’s racist speech and attitudes in online forums. This is hard for me, unlike the previous actions I mentioned. But it gets easier with time and practice.
Some thoughts, in no particular order:
• In my book, DEEP GREEN, I mention that I don’t waste my breath debating people who don’t believe that we are in a planetary eco crisis. If someone is entrenched in their belief, no amount of reasoning is going to convince them. Better to save one’s energy for positive action (such as teaching permaculture, solar cooking, climate action etc., to people who are seeking to learn). I realized this is how I feel about people who refuse to believe that systemic racism is a thing. Yes, the fact that there are still so many people who don’t believe that systemic racism exists is a big part of what’s keeping racism alive and well. I’m realizing I have to call it out when I see it. But am I then going to stick around for hours to engage in a debate to try to convince someone who is not at all open to seeing another viewpoint? No. Better (for example) to post worthwhile articles, books, and films on social media, where they’ll reach the eyes of people receptive to growing and learning. AND to keep working on my own evolution, to root out racism in my own self. On that note, the next book on my reading list is White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People To Talk About Racism, by Robin DiAngelo.
And the next film on my watch list is Just Mercy (which Warner Brothers is allowing viewers to stream for free during the month of June 2020 to help educate people on the dangers of systemic racism).
(UPDATE: I have seen the film and read the book. Highly recommend both.)
• Systemic racism is a serious problem alive and well in the world. And there are a lot of people out there who are in denial that there is a problem. An alarming number. But I have high hopes that things will get better, and am doing my best to contribute to making them better.
• “Eco Plant Lady” note: I noticed I’m not getting as worked-up lately about the “fussy lawn brigade” with its gas-spewing, ear-splitting implements of torture. There are just bigger fish to fry in this world. It’s kind of a relief to not feel so derailed by leafblowers and all that stuff because I’m more plugged-in to higher priorities. Yes, I still find hyper-manicured landscapes distressing, from an aesthetic as well as an environmental standpoint. But I’m more able to keep it in perspective. And I keep on giving out wildflower seeds, talking up regenerative homescale landscaping practices.
• There are many times that I’ve spoken out, when I should have kept quiet, seeking to listen and understand. And there are times (possibly just as many) that I have kept silent when I should have spoken up. Part of how I’m trying to contribute to making things better, is by learning to get better at telling the difference, so I can do better next time.
I’ve been doing a lot of listening and reflecting. This post will be unfolding as I add more thoughts.
Bottom line: BLACK LIVES MATTER.
My sorority, Delta Delta Delta, has posted this page of articles, books, videos and other resources for people seeking to educate themselves about racism. “Educating ourselves about the many aspects of racism and racial injustice – including privilege and bias – is one of the most important things we can do right now. This compilation of thought-starters and resources is a great way to get started.”
Anti-Racism Training: webinar by Diversity & Resiliency Institute of El Paso. Three modules, 2 hours each. I found this course very powerful. You get to hear short talks by many people, sharing their experiences and expertise. Website says the training has closed, but I’m including the link to it anyway in case they might offer it again.
Ally Henny on Facebook ; and her website. Writing and speaking about race, culture, and faith. Her Facebook posts and the discussion threads are very eye-opening for those of us who have been living in the white-privilege bubble. Note for fellow white people: I strongly recommend being in listen and learn mode on this page.