I’ve been looking for a collection of something, anything, that will help me and others understand the experiences we will never have because we are white. This essay and the essays the author collects are just about the best place to start if you want to put yourself in the shoes of the black people who suffer daily under the structures of their country. I have no idea how we move forward. How we change. I have enough trouble ridding myself of bias and racism, of examining my own privilege to understand how the rules are different for me. I am angry and sad and frustrated because I grew up with horrible, terrible beliefs about the way the world works today. Beliefs that were based on myths and not history, beliefs that preserved my privilege at the cost of my neighbors who continued to suffer injustice, just as their ancestors had for generations.
Nothing much has changed in America. But I’m changing. I hope you are as well. If you are seeking voices, seeking understanding, please start with this essay. Please read all the essays. Please join me in listening. The status quo must not be allowed to stand.
I don’t know why I never told my parents about that day at the lake. I didn’t want to worry them, I guess, or maybe it was that I didn’t want them to know that I now knew they were right. That I finally saw the value of my life as others saw it: a cheap thing, so easily discarded between muzzle flash and hot asphalt.