In Sunday School last week, a friend shared a story.  She is White.  Her son has a very close friend who is Black.  One day, the friend’s mother asked if she had talked with her son about how to respond if he was stopped by a police officer.  My friend said, “No.  I’ve never thought about that.”  The woman said, “You should do that.  Now!”

My friend had never thought about talking with her White son about how to act if he was stopped by a police officer because she didn’t have to.  It’s simply not an issue for her son.  It’s not an issue for me.

I don’t fully understand what my Black friends and colleagues face on a daily basis.  It wasn’t until five years ago that I really began to understand that my life, simply because of the color of my skin, is easier.  At work, staff were encouraged to attend Racial Equity Institute.  I was eager to learn. To say the lessons were eye opening would be an understatement.  For hundreds of years there have been benefits to being white.  We set up the club.  We made the rules, and the rules are in our favor.  When Social Security was passed in 1935, guess who was ineligible for benefits?  Agricultural workers and domestic employees.  Who held most of these jobs?  Black people.

These policies (and individual bigotry) have led us to today.  If you start a Monopoly game two hours after everyone else, the rules may be the same, but the other players have already amassed the wealth.  It is virtually impossible to catch up.

I was out of town last weekend, but my three daughters joined their aunt and uncle at protests in downtown Raleigh.   They are deeply distraught by the murder of George Floyd – who could watch the video and not be?  I share their disgust, but for years have not done all that I should to push for change.

What can I do?  I don’t really know.  Racial Equity Institute was a start.  Maybe reading.  Understanding.  Protesting.  Supporting changes at my place of employment and at my kids’ schools.  Oh, and perhaps most importantly, I can vote individuals into office who will influence change.

This can’t happen again.


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  1. Faye Humphrey

     /  June 10, 2020

    Well said

    Sent from my iPad


  2. Wayne Campbell

     /  June 10, 2020

    Thank you for reducing such to writing!

  3. Jo

     /  June 10, 2020

    I have read “Just Mercy” and am shattered. I do not know where or how or what to do! I educate myself before voting, but I know there’s more that has to happen. My word for today is distraught.

    • Danny Tanner

       /  June 22, 2020

      If you watch the Netflix special When They See Us you will really be distraught. I made my kids watch it because it was that meaningful/upsetting to me. It is hard stuff.

  4. Meghan Sural Wolf

     /  June 10, 2020

    Agreed, thanks for sharing. I work for a prominent, largely white outdoor brand. We are feeling the same and finally realizing that we can no longer say it’s too bad. We have to help. There’s a webinar called “Whiteness at Work” that I’m doing tomorrow. My team had been and is continuing to work with an outside team on justice funding, not simply our historical environmental giving. The two are not separate, and it’s past time to wake up to this fact. But we are waking up, and it helps to hear from and talk to others doing the same. Thank you. I used to work with the black community at the Y back when you and Lisa were there, I think it was called Y Life. I knew the disparities then, but have so much more to do to dismantle the system and begin anew.

    • Danny Tanner

       /  June 22, 2020

      It is amazing all that I’ve learned in just the past few years. And scary all that I didn’t know. Hope you are well!

  5. Kristi Manning

     /  June 10, 2020

    LOVE the example of playing Monopoly!

  6. Nest to voting (maybe even side by side) is educating your children and being an example to them. Thanks for doing that.


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