I am experiencing white guilt now. Every time I log into social media, I see calls for the arrest of the officers who killed Breonna Taylor, and I scroll right past because I pretend like I don’t have the time or the energy to sort out my feelings about her death. When the protests picked up this spring, a friend shared a post about taking a look at your social sphere with an eye towards examining the diversity. I realized I had very few BIPOC friends, and was following very few BIPOC social media accounts—I had created a white-washed echo chamber for myself Without even realizing it. I rushed to add some diversity to my Instagram feed and followed a slew of BLM, equality, and justice accounts, and added some black acquaintances on Facebook. I reached out to a college friend to check in on him, and ended up apologizing for marginalizing him in college—he was gracious, even though it was clearly not the right move for me. While I have succeeded in diversifying my news feed, I have also overwhelmed myself to the point that I havent gained anything meaningful from these interactions—this is a direct result of my white guilt and shame.
I’ve never thought of myself as a racist because I have never been aware of committing overt acts of racism. On reflection, I have also never been an anti-racist or an ally. This has me feeling a great deal of shame and guilt. I am beginning my journey through education and by joining a virtual book club, focused on anti-racism education, because I think it is going to take time and practice to pivot from an ego-centered journey to an equality-centered journey. There is too much to unpack from this box for the change to happen overnight.