To White Vermonters

Here is another essay by my friend and member of Justice For All Marcia Hill.  Her wisdom and courage shine through in all she says.  Thank you Marcia!

Police Shootings Louisiana

Essay by Marcia Hill
Our country has now chosen the most openly racist president-elect in the modern era. White people elected Trump: the overwhelming majority of white men voted for him, and a slight majority of white women did also. At the very least, this implies that Trump’s racism was not a deal-breaker for those voters. At worst, some voters chose him because of his racism.
What does this mean for us as citizens? That racism is powerful and deeply entrenched in the United States is no longer in doubt, if it ever was. We are a country founded in the genocide of the Native American population and built upon the unpaid labor of African slaves. In spite of repeated efforts toward racial justice, ultimately we have not had the will to create a society that treats people fairly in schools or the workplace or in the judicial system or in our communities when it comes to race. Now we stand on the brink of turning away from even the pretense of wanting a just society.
You may or may not have voted for Donald Trump, but we all have to face that we are part of a nation that has chosen a more racist path. We have done so by permitting clearly racist practices, as in the judicial system, and we have done so by avoidance, choosing not to address the problems of race in our country.
Some white people are openly racist; I am not addressing them, since it will take generations of change to diminish that reality. I am speaking to white people of good will, regardless which candidate you supported, who do not consider themselves to be racist. To these white people, I would say: this is our responsibility. This is your responsibility, yours and mine. This is true even if you voted for Hillary Clinton or another candidate. We have made many gains, but we have not eliminated racial inequality. All white people have white privilege, and we have not used our privilege effectively to change racism in the United States. We must do it now, with intention and persistence. Here are some suggestions.
1. Every day, remember that you are a white person with unearned privilege. People of color do not have the luxury of forgetting who they are in this country. Being white is not a bad thing, and you did not ask for white privilege. If you forget that you have it, however, you are complicit with a racial system that benefits some over others and does so unremarked.
2. Talk about race. Especially talk with other white people about race. Racism thrives when it is not discussed. Conversely, it is difficult to hold onto a bias when you expose it to scrutiny.
3. Educate yourself about race. Two good books are The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander, and Understanding and Dismantling Racism by William Brandt.
4. If it is safe to do so, intervene when you see instances of racism. Remember that racism includes bias against Muslims as well as anti-Semitism. The time has come to speak up. Silence is a form of collusion.
5. Stay aware of your values. Antiracist work and life is grounded in the honoring of all people, in the longing for beloved community, in the sacred task of truly loving your neighbor.

We have a challenging road ahead. The racist roots of America have been uncovered. We are at a crossroads: who will we become? Complacency is a form of agreement with the status quo. An internal belief in equality is not enough. We must act. Even if we are afraid, we must act. With the fiercest of love, we must act.