I’m not getting into any specific arguments about who thought or did what regarding Jordan Blake, George Floyd, or any of the other black and brown people we’ve seen mercilessly killed. I’m not going to explain away, justify or even say the name(s) of those who have enacted white supremacy by taking the law into their own hands outfitted with a lethal weapon.
We have a problem in this country with race, guns, and violence. Simple.
We have reached a tipping point regarding race and everyone needs to take action to fix this problem. As I have said elsewhere on CNN, we have a history of projecting all of humanity’s complexity into the identities of people with darker skin. Simple. This needs to change.
As a female who would be identified as a white psychologist, mother, daughter, sister, wife, and friend I stand with my black and brown friends, colleagues and strangers because we are all humans – parents, children, siblings, spouses and friends.
Simple. We are one family of people.
We must always stand for one another; if one of us hurts we all hurt. I can’t experience the exact same pain of many black and brown people. It doesn’t matter. Members of my human community are hurting. Simple.
And yes many white working class people have also been hurt by the greed and injustice of economic inequality. I’ll stand with them as well. It is, however, its own and different form of oppression. If we had run half as many news stories about black men in bars as white rural men in bars we might understand this better.
Let’s keep perspective. One story doesn’t cancel out the other. And they don’t require the same psychological challenge to overcome. Oppressed workers shouldn’t out voice the tragedy of racism.
Who are we that this even needs to be said?
In this fight we need everyone – the entire human community has to come together to fight the practice of putting the bad in someone else rather than ourselves.
As a psychologist my job is to help. This is what I can and will do.
1) Validate that racism exists.
2) Focus on the real impact of racial violence on our black and brown citizens. Listen.
3) Think twice before making attributions about people.
4) Scour my inner self for any vestiges of unconscious racism and root it out.
5) Ensure that psychological work is available to all who need it regardless of their income level.
6) Promise that all the people with whom I work receive the dignity of my interest in their story and not only the imposition of psychological ideas onto their narrative.
7) Challenge the ideas inherent in psychological theory and history that creates hierarchy, pathology and discrimination out of difference.
8) Make equal and economic justice for all people something I work on everyday; embed these principles in my every action.
9) Stand up and fight for my fellow black and brown citizens when they ask and don’t dismiss or disparage their pain.
10) Be a good person, a civically minded person, toward everyone.
Simple. What’s your plan? What else can I do? Let me know. I’m here, open and ready to change.