I highly recommend the book “White Fragility.” It explores the reactions white people have when their assumptions about race are challenged and how these reactions maintain racial inequality. For example, white people often compare their immigration story to that of Black people. “My grandparents came here with barely an education and no money, but with hard work they achieved the American Dream.” We wish to believe in the potential of America for all, but such a belief system glosses over the systemic racism of today that began with slavery at our nation’s foundation.
Some people say that the police do not target black people. We have all seen on video how black men, women and children are treated differently by police. To be Black as opposed to white in the United States is an entirely different feeling and experience. This is separate and apart from class, education, Zip Code.
American values of equity, inclusion and the American Dream are ideals that systemic racism corrupts. At its least, systemic racism removes the ideal of equal opportunities in education, place of residence, career, health care and in the judicial system. At its worst, it is a tear that rips us apart as a people and keeps us separate, defensive and distrustful.
Let us examine our thoughts and actions and listen to the stories of those who are sharing. The American Dream is not just for some, nor is an American life.
Beth Kurlander, Carmel