Black Lives Matter.
My first thought: Of course they do.
My second thought: This movement is great because our society is finally going to get it.
My third thought: Some of these CEOs and companies are jumping on the bandwagon because it is good for business and it feels hollow.
Jump forward to today. I read a friend’s blog about how racism has been structured into the fabric of the US. He expressed his concern about the lack of action by his white friends around racism.
He then asked his sympathetic white colleagues, friends and loved ones to take individual accountability. He asked us to get educated and challenge ourselves and acknowledge our own bias.
I am white. I never thought I was privileged. My family was middle class. My father attended college, my mother did not. What privilege did I have? My first job out of residency was in Cook County Jail. The detainees were 88% African American. I never was so conscious of my ‘whiteness’ as I was then. And as I have expressed numerous times since then, I began to realize how very privileged I was to be born middle class and white in the US.
So aren’t I acknowledging my bias? I am aware of it. What more can I do? But with this movement, I have been hiding in my privilege. I don’t want to watch these horrific videos of police brutality. I don’t want to think how awful it must have been for the gentleman jogging in Atlanta who was hunted down and killed because he was black. As I type these words I am having a visceral response. It is horrible to hear, witness and imagine being the victim in any of these incidents.
My ethnic background is Ashkenazi Jewish. My grandparents arrived in the US in the 1920s. Growing up Jewish I was schooled in the horrors of the Holocaust. How angry, hurt and horrified I was that no-one stood up for the Jews in Germany. I know that is not true. There are many stories of individuals who did. It could have been me I thought as a child.
I am not black. It’s not my fight to fight, right? I have been shutting out this movement. I don’t want to really think about the horror of all the physical and emotional torture black (I mean be inclusive of all people of color) people endure daily for centuries here in the US. My white privilege allows me that choice.
Here is a list of readings https://bookshop.org/lists/antiracist-reading-recsto begin to be educated.
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Dr. Laurie Goldman is a medical doctor, psychiatrist, and functional medicine practitioner who’s been in private practice since 1999. She founded Clear Path Wellness to help her patients reach their maximum state of mental and physical health using a personalized, comprehensive approach powered by the principles of functional medicine, which treats the whole person, not just symptoms.