Ok...white guilt has been real. It has inspired every action (whether I noticed it or not) since George Floyd's death. I felt guilty for not acting sooner. I felt guilty for not protesting sooner, I felt guilty for not confronting myself and others that I'm surrounded by sooner. And through this I went overboard very quickly. Spending all hours of the day committed to helping make changes. "I'm a teacher in the inner city it's my job to save my students" was my mentality. I burnt myself out by the end of the first week. I wasn't eating and sleeping in healthy ways. I was spending unhealthy amounts of time on social media. I was arguing and enraged constantly because of my guilt . I broke down again at the end of the second week. My relationships with my family were super rocky . I felt so much shame looking at people in and out of police uniforms who were white and commiting atrocities against POC. I called my black coworker and friends to hear their perspectives on what was going on in the world so I could hear first hand and get validation for why I was spiraling so out of control. By the end of that conversation with my friend she had mentioned she was going to do this training. I was shocked, my brain couldn't make sense of why she would need this, she's black. She said the coolest thing to and I'll never forget it.
"Miranda we should all take this training. Every single one of us. No one has all the answers but getting some answers helps. It's how I can have conversations with people -even you-when I'm in pain. And knowing that I can be knowledgeable and help guide people down this path who are ignorant because I have access to resources. Shouldn't someone like myself-who has also been raised in the same screwed up world that other people have- find a way to connect to academic forward thinking people? I mean really what could it hurt? Especially is someone starts coming at me after taking this training to talk about what they've learned. I don't want to be blindsided by anything. I want to be able to engage in an intellectual conversation with people who are learning and make sure they understand correctly when they are processing. That's what we do as teachers. We correct people on their path to learning I can still be their light on the path and get some comfort and acknowledgement for what I'm going through. And you have to remember that you can't fix the world in 2 weeks. You can do work behind the scenes like educating yourself, so you can be the white teacher in a predominantly Black school. You can't help no one until you help yourself. Remember the masks on the airplane girl. Get yours on and then help someone else. Listen to what people are saying and take this class so you have more to say when you're arguing with your daddy. Because he can invalidate your feelings but he cannot invalidate facts."
From there I realized it wasn't about me being a " superhero" it anything extravagant. I wasn't going to solve a centuries old problem on my own. I was going to seek knowledge, keep myself healthy, and fight for others. It wasn't about fighting my white guilt and shame. It was acknowledging my guilt and shame and letting it guide me towards making better choices consistently.