For many of us, this week has brought indescribable grief. We're tired of our people being violated and murdered, and our communities ignored. We're devastated that our lives don't matter. We're appalled that people like Amy Cooper have a privilege that no amount of success nor achievement will entitle us to. And, we're paralyzed with grief because we too have been victimized by an Amy Cooper - costing us our careers, freedom, and lives. Black people are mourning. Employers, neighbors, and colleagues - do not ask us to be OK, or expect business as usual.
It's time for America to accept that:
Racism is real. The headlines are receipts - student expelled for Blackface, a Black journalist arrested, unarmed Black woman shot by police. This is a public health crisis, and addressing it is the moral imperative of our time.
Racism is a societal cancer. Ending Jim Crow, desegregating schools, signing the Civil Rights Act, and electing a Black President didn't end racism. Instead, it marked the transformation from overt to covert. But, like any cancer, the symptoms have become too profound to ignore. The diagnosis is clear. America still has a race problem.
Racism is everywhere. Ahmaud, Breonna, and George all murdered during a global pandemic that's ravishing Black and Brown communities. Let that sink in. Racism is structural, baked into all of our systems - criminal justice, education, and healthcare. How do you want us to feel and to react? Of course, there is a rebellion.
Racism is pain. People of color grapple with the trauma everyday, in every aspect of our lives. This is a heavy burden to bear. Talk, cry, scream, pray, and get a therapist - we can't heal from something that persist, but we must do what we can to cope.
Racism is your problem too. People of color didn't create racism. We cannot fix it alone. Everyone must accept that privilege and racism are real. And as a nation, we must acknowledge Emmett Till, Sean Bell, Oscar Grant, Sandra Bland, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Gardner - and the strange fruit that defines the Black experience. The conversations will be uncomfortable, painful, and a true reckoning for some. But they are necessary and must start now.
I wasn't going to share this. But, I realize that until we talk about our experiences and our feelings, we will not see progress. Each of us has been impacted by racism - as a victim or as a recipient of the privileges it affords. It's time to get real.