Written by: Angela Derrick, Ph.D. & Susan McClanahan, Ph.D.
Date Posted: June 10, 2020 2:50 am
At SpringSource, we are sad, angry and devastated about the recent death of George Floyd, an innocent black man who was murdered by a white police officer in Minnesota, while his co-workers stood by. Like many of you, we find ourselves asking, what can be done?
As white women, we are aware that it is not our voices or our leadership that are needed in response to Mr. Floyd’s unjust killing, but rather the voices of black individuals in the community, in literature, in politics, in history, etc. We recognize that it is no one’s job to “teach us” about our own inherent privileges, or how we benefit from the status quo of institutionalized racism. This is work we are called to do on our own, and with other white people who are also working to examine their hearts and minds for places where there is a need to grow and change. That being said, we can also engage in these dialogues with black people who consent to make themselves available for these conversations.
We must talk to our children about racial inequalities, diversify our choices in art/literature/news sources, support black-owned business and organizations, vote for politicians who support antiracial policies, and show up where there is need. It is our job to learn, to read, to talk to others, to make mistakes, and to stay engaged.
It is okay to be uncomfortable. As psychologists, we help people tolerate discomfort and realize that discomfort doesn’t necessarily mean that we should stop what we are doing. Rather, it may mean that we are being stretched in ways that are new and frightening but ultimately good and necessary not just for ourselves but most importantly for other people and for the health of our society. We have also found our own therapy to be a place to talk through our insecurities, defenses, fears and hopes as we do this work. We are going to keep at it personally so we can show up for others who are committed to doing their own work as well.
Some of the resources we find helpful are: Jennifer Harvey’s work on raising anti-racist white kids https://jenniferharvey.org/, Ibram X. Kendi’s work on antiracism https://www.ibramxkendi.com/ and Rachel Cargle’s work on racial inequalities and feminism https://www.rachelcargle.com/. Please check-out Rachel Cargle’s Loveland Foundation which works to ensure that black women and girls have access to therapy services https://thelovelandfoundation.org/about/.