Tuesday, April 20, 2021

What can a White person do to help Black lives matter?

This is being written immediately after the Chauvin Guilty Verdict.  A White middle-aged man was interviewed after the verdict and admitted he had googled  "What can a White person do to help Black lives matter?"  He did not have the chance to say what the result was, but that basic question must be explored by everyone.

I am White. 46 years ago, in July of 1975, I purchased my wonderful home in the Dallas Black community that was being evacuated by White people. White flight was only 10 years old and going full speed in Dallas. Fortunately, I was a social worker working as a Child Abuse Investigator for Dallas County and knew Dallas well. I knew the area of the home I was buying would be a very good place to live. It was the best purchase decision I ever made! My 4 kids all agree and live with their families in the area.  The furthest away is 6 miles.

Here is one reflection of Dallas White Flight in two spreadsheets covering 50 years, from 1965 to 2015:

Here is a more general overview of these 50 years, 1965 to 2015:

These tragic White Flight numbers reflect the racism in our history and reflect on the original question above. What can a White person do to help make Black lives matter?  What can Whites do to reverse our racist history? 

The first thing a White person can do is to monitor their own behavior and stop any openly racist behaviors they may be doing out of habit.  

I have lived long enough to know that nobody can claim they are not racist.  Anyone who tries to claim they are the "least racist person in this room" must know that such a statement is absolutely worthless and only a red flag.  Your life and decisions and actions will show if you are racist.  You can NEVER verbally claim you are not racist.  Such judgments can only be made after you have died.  They can only be made by those who knew you in life.  

Racism is deep. Being racist in the U.S. is painfully normal. It is institutional!  We must work on it constantly.  That work is never finished.

One step in that process can be to help everyone set and achieve their own personal goals. 

I was a middle school teacher.  I tried to help students set goals.  I worked with other teachers to help start the School Time Capsule Project, an open-source student motivation and family history exploration system outlined in detail at www.StudentMotivation.org.

I am now retired but continue to volunteer as a School Time Capsule Postmaster helping run this priceless project in several neighborhood schools here in Oak Cliff and West Dallas.  It takes maybe three volunteer days a year per school to make this free-to-use, open-source project possible.

This student-focused project is one answer, of thousands, as to how we can make Black lives matter.