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White privilege and the responsibility to enact change

17 0 0
06.06.2020

Every day, I walk home past little brass Stolpersteine or "stumbling stones" that bear the names of Jews ripped from their homes by Nazis. When I walk by them, I think about complicity. I wonder about the people who let their neighbors be stripped of their dignity and led away to their deaths. What were they thinking as they witnessed this happening? How did they justify their inaction?

This has been on my mind a lot in our present context — am I, a white American, complicit as black Americans are killed by racists? Are we whites silent as people who simply want better lives for their families are put in cages or camps at the borders of our countries? Countries which, in many cases, built wealth by exploiting the people and natural resources in places now reduced to poverty and violence.

Read more: Opinion: George Floyd killing opens racism wounds for European blacks

Many are asking if George Floyd's death is a turning point for the US, if something will really change. But rather than asking this passive question, we need to be asking ourselves how we are going to help make this a turning point.

For many of us, we're not sure where to start. How do we do something more meaningful than posting on social media? How do we avoid simple virtue signaling? I've grappled with whether I should even enter the conversation.

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