Day 98 – My Anti-Racist Journey

I am on a journey to become a better anti-racist.  For the past few years I have been reading, listening, talking, and learning about systemic racism and what I can do to help improve the world around me. I’m very aware that I live a very privileged life and want to do what I can from my place of privilege to break down and change the systems that are inherently unequal.  Being a passive bystander is easy, but I am trying to take a more difficult, but more meaningful path of anti-racism.

To me, being an anti-racist involves actively working to identify and help change systems that are inherently racist.  I believe that all organizations created and run by white men are biased.  Businesses, government, churches, institutions; so many parts of American society are set up to benefit white men. Institutions such as police departments are not made up of evil human beings, they are simply a product of decades of policy and actions that suppress and exclude minorities.  I am trying to do my infinitesimally small part to makes these institutions more open and less racist.

Most of my blog posts are about the mundane life of a healthy, wealthy, white family during this pandemic.  Part of my journey is taking myself out of my comfort zone and working with the uncomfortable issues of systemic racism (it’s certainly privilege when racism is just uncomfortable rather than deadly).  Simply writing this post has taken me days to get up the courage to share my thoughts, but I am working to get more comfortable at being uncomfortable and this is part of it.

In the past weeks as the country has confronted yet another blatant case of systemic racism, I have been unsure how to respond.  Initially it felt like another brief moment of hope that would be forgotten.  The outrage and protests after Trayvon Martin in Florida and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri didn’t change anything.  Too many people didn’t care enough to force meaningful change.  It felt similar to the #MeToo movement and school shootings.  People are outraged for a few days or weeks but they move on before any lasting change is implemented.

But in the past weeks I have been pleasantly surprised that people’s attention was increasing not decreasing.  I have been heartened to see so many anti-racist books on best-seller lists, so many corporations and leaders are speaking out, so many people protesting for the first time in their lives. This pandemic has allowed many of us the time to work through the thoughts and emotions that are so difficult to process.

So many people I know are on a similar journey.  Many are much further along than I am, and I look to them for leadership and guidance.  But so many are just getting started or are not yet ready to start.  I understand how difficult it can be take the first steps to learning and thinking in new ways. My hope is that more and more will accompany me on this journey.

I look forward to putting in the difficult work to continue this journey and I ask my friends and family and help me and hold me accountable.  Writing blog posts is a token first step, but actions speak louder than words and I hope that in the coming months, years, and decades I can help take action against systemic racism.

 

Things that went today well this week:

  • The weather has been great and we have spent a lot of time outside
  • School finished this week and the girls are now on summer vacation (also a negative since we have nothing to do)
  • New Zealand has completely eliminated cases and kept the borders closed and led the world with the first large-scale event of 18,000 fans at a rugby match

Things that did not go well:

  • Cases and deaths in many states are on the rise as the result of re-openings that have allowed the virus to spread again
  • Many developing countries in Africa are starting to see more cases which is scary in places without adequate health systems
  • Jeanne would have been at the American Diabetes Conference in Chicago last weekend, but instead spent the weekend inside watching presentations from the couch.  Comfier than a convention center but not a fun way to spend a beautiful weekend

Random happy find from the web:

  • Graduating medical residents from the local Brigham and Women’s hospital who have spent the past months working the front-lines in the hospital were able to take their traditional group photo, albeit a little more spread out than usual
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Cute puppy photo of the day:

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Daisy in front of our new yard sign from www.signsofjustice.com

2 comments

  1. Hi Peter,

    I just wanted to let you know I was very moved by this post. Thank you for sharing so honestly and thoughtfully about yourself and your journey. I think the momentum running through the country around issues of race and justice is incredible, necessary, and hopeful. It’s nice to hear your perspective.

    I also love the sign, and Daisy in front of it.

    Love to you all, Jaime

    On Thu, Jun 18, 2020 at 6:56 PM Life, and All That Surrounds It wrote:

    > Peter Jacoby posted: “I am on a journey to become a better anti-racist. > For the past few years I have been reading, listening, talking, and > learning about systemic racism and what I can do to help improve the world > around me. I’m very aware that I live a very privileged life ” >

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