A few weeks ago my blogger-friend and fellow mixed-race-family-momma Martha asked if I was interested in participating in a guest post series she is hosting this month on her blog, Momsoap. She has taken a different approach to Black History Month – encouraging a space where people can share their experiences of race, especially ways that they have grown or changed. And she reached out to white writers in particular, with the idea that “there is a need for white people to have space to think through their feelings and thoughts,” if we are going to move forward in a positive way.
I get where she is coming from. Defensiveness and ignorance only serve to maintain the status quo, yet white people in particular are often afraid of saying the “wrong thing” or simply don’t have a place to safely share what they are thinking, where someone will meet them where they are at and gently help them to move toward awareness and compassion, rather than responding with labels (“racist”) and anger. And sometimes we just don’t know what we don’t know. The lens of white privilege can be a pretty blinding one.
I’ve found that one of the things I love most about blogging is the opportunity to be a part of the conversation in what I hope is a positive way. Since I write a lot about parenting and life in general, I like to think I am able to connect with a wide range of readers. But there are also times I write about race and I truly hope that there is still something in that for everyone, even those who come primarily for the general parenting stuff. Sure, I love when those “race posts” resonate or provide ideas for other parents in multiracial families. But just as much I love when a reader says, “I never thought about that before” and something has shifted within them – there is a seed of awareness and understanding that will shape their experience just a little differently going forward. That makes me feel like writing makes a difference.
Oh yes, so back to Martha’s request! This is all related, I promise!
The point of my rambling is that I agree with Martha about the value of having a space to really explore our thoughts and feelings about race, so I said, Yes! Of course! I would love to participate! Martha was gracious enough to let me share a post I wrote a couple of years ago, Interracial Relationships & Identity, about how my relationship with my husband and its impact on my identity really forced me to shift some of my thoughts about race. Some of you may have already read it, but it is one of my favorites (is it okay to say that about my own posts?) and I am really grateful to Martha for providing the opportunity to share it with a wider audience. One of my favorite things about this post is the comments readers have made on it, because it ties right into these ideas of needing a place to share our experiences and hear we aren’t alone and how engaging in respectful dialogue can help us reflect and think critically about our own thoughts and attitudes.
You can read more about Martha’s reason for this guest series and her own experiences of growth around race here: Are White People A Part of Black History Month?
And another really interesting post was just added to the series, about the representation of black people (women especially) in comic books over the past three decades: Not So Fantastic. I had to send that link to my husband!