Still, I was eager to learn about the world beyond my own comfortable universe. Idealistic 18-year-old journalism majors with dreams of becoming crusading investigative journalists welcome change.
During that time I broke away from my conservative family. I protested nukes, embraced ecology, marched for women’s rights, and was inspired when then-presidential candidate Jerry Brown spoke on campus, championing equality and access to higher education.
In years since I’ve worked as a newspaper reporter and editor, magazine editor, and public relations consultant – a career dedicated to the importance of truthful communication.
However enlightened I believe myself to be, however, I remain a privileged white woman – a fact that’s as true today as it was in my college years. These days – as if the raging coronavirus pandemic weren’t disturbing enough – police shootings and acts of civil disobedience are forcing us to reckon with issues of justice, inclusiveness, equity, and diversity in American society.
It’s increasingly apparent that, despite all my attempts to see things clearly, my whiteness and life of relative privilege blind me to some grim realities.
Interestingly, when preparing these materials, a high school friend recommended the recent bestseller “How to Be an Anti-Racist” to those of us who participate in a monthly Zoom call. It resonated deeply with the eight of us, something I find fascinating, since we are geographically, economically, and sociologically living quite different lives.
We’ve decided to discuss the issues the book raises in our newly formed book group. Another selection, “The Girl With the Louding Voice,” a wonderful tale of female empowerment from Nigeria, also is exposing us to diverse new voices and viewpoints.
I’m fortunate to be assigned timely, engaging work from enlightened clients that continue to educate me about microaggressions, inherent racism, and white fragility. You can read several examples of my work in this regard in my latest newsletter.
Even as a woman of a certain age, I’m awakening to my unconscious prejudices and failings when it comes to racial injustice – and I’m redoubling my commitment to voting, consuming, producing, and existing in ways that empower those living in the margins of American society.
Today I’m seeking new opportunities to grow, develop, and change – even when they make me uncomfortable. As we contemplate a world full of new ‘normals,’ I invite you to join me in engaging in conversations on the important subjects of injustice, equality, and diversity – topics we once considered inappropriate and unapproachable.