White, proud and over 21! A statement that left my lips mindlessly at a time when I thought all people were equal and when I thought being color-blind was something to be proud of. This was another time, an ignorant time, an uneducated time for me. This and other mindless quips often left my lips in a time gone by, sayings that were racist in their creation although I was clueless to that fact. I didn’t feel like a racist, I didn’t carry prejudice in my heart, after all, I found black men attractive and I have black female friends. Wasn’t this proof enough?
NO. NO. NO. No, it was not and is not enough. For my ignorance I apologize.
WAKING up from ignorance is a painful path most specifically when you finally choose to listen, to learn and to admit how ignorant you were. Once invited to be on a Diversity Commission for an organization I am part of, I thought that was proof enough that I was not a racist. WRONG AGAIN. Maybe not in my heart, but my heart is not the only way that I engage the world.
My NorthStar is about being the place where love resides. This NorthStar causes me to wake up in every nook and cranny of my consciousness and behavior. Recently, I choose to take myself on a book tour, one that has left me changed forever.
Here is the list of my current readings, I encourage you to take on the task of waking up through elevating your understanding and to many facts and statistics that have been right there all along. The Sun Does Shine by Anthony Ray Hinton, Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson, The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander, Talking to Strangers, by Malcolm Gladwell, and How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi.
Should you choose to join me on this path of waking up, be prepared. Prepared to feel, to be in pain, to realize just how much you were hooked into the matrix of the unconscious. Please reach out for support, don’t go it alone, it is so important that we do this together.
Much love to you,
Michelle Wadleigh a.k.a. revjerseygirl