As a white person, I have felt fearful in the presence of individuals of another race: not everyone of that race, but some. Sometimes it is the location: in a dark place in an unknown ethnic neighborhood, where the streets are full of what are perceived by me to be menacing men. Sometimes it is the angry or aggressive tone in another person's voice of a person of another race, which is out of sync with my effort to be friendly and non-combative. Sometimes it is the uniforms, including tattoos, chains and big biceps worn by some members of a race--this person could hurt me if they wanted to. Sometimes it is a direct act of aggression I have witnessed by a person of another race, or have seen in media and even movies and television. But none of this fear is founded on anything substantive: plenty of guys who are big teddy bears have tattoos, chains and big biceps, for instance, regardless of their race. So what am I so afraid if? If we face the root cause, the fear, that drives both those born into white privilege and those often innocent people who have been subjected by whites with privilege to acts of violence and hostility, merely because of their race--their difference.
More specifically, the fear that drives many whites is the fear of that which is different from "us." And that is where the first mistake is made. In truth, people of all races have different looks, different cultures and perhaps different characteristics, but people of all races have the one most essential thing in common: we are all human beings, and we all deserve to be treated as such, regardless of any factors that may be different among us. It is not just a mistake, though--it is a stupid mistake that has been perpetuated by people of races but especially by whites for centuries, and the time has come for all of us to take responsibility for the mistakes of the past and present, so that they will not continue into the future. Part of the path to releasing the fear that binds all of us in this very stupid, seemingly endless conflict is to accept--no, embrace--the individual cultures and accoutrements of all races, without putting up barriers to separate ourselves on the basis of race. Members of races other than white deserve to have no reason to fear being themselves and have the right to be accepted exactly as they are. We are really talking about love here--isn't acceptance of persons as they are the definition of love?
As for those who are members of races that have been persecuted at the hands of white people with white privilege, they must also learn to contain fear, as hard as that may be given the events of recent days that show that little progress has been made in efforts to make the world a place where every person of every race can feel safe, a place where the suffering will finally end. Just is small ways--opening the circle of friendship to include white people with your race; respecting everyone--even those who do not deserve your respect; and most of all, finding forgiveness in your heart for those in your own life, white or otherwise, and in so doing getting beyond the anger and fear you may feel that in some leads to the defenses of aggression and hostility, in a vicious circle with whites who fear you because you fear them--a vicious circle that only forgiveness can bring to an end. Righteous protest and civil disobedience is important, but it must be non-violent, not destructive and not generalized to include the innocent to be effective. All whites are guilty of racism because we still reap benefits from a history of racial inequality, but beyond that, individual whites are not all guilty of harboring prejudice or hatred against people of other races. Rather, many of us are ready and willing to join those who have suffered from racial inequality to tear down the walls that still separate us. We are ready to turn "us" into "we," standing with you in the cause.
Replace fear with love. Turn every "us" into a "we" that includes all human beings of every race, everywhere.