I have been overwhelmed at the response to my Letter to Roy. The responses have been overwhelming as many people of color see themselves in the experiences of my friend that I describe. But to be clear, not all of the responses have been positive. Some have pointed out that although my sentiment may be genuine, at times it smacks of insincere opportunism further exploiting the Black body of my friend. This was certainly not my intention, but I believe it is a fair critique.
Those of us who experience the privilege our white skin affords us in this systemically racist system are clumsy at best and still covertly racist at worst in our attempts to repent of the personal and collective sins of our white supremacy. I have a lot of work to do!
As I mentioned in my letter Roy and I drifted apart as adults. I take full responsibility for this. He joined the military and died at far too young of an age which was unrelated to his military service. Some have pointed out the insensitive nature of parts of my letter, which I certainly recognize. I wanted to acknowledge their voices here. I have been inundated with messages and request, so if I have missed some of the other folks offering critiques I apologize.
I have spent a lifetime learning. In the last ten years I have focused specifically on shedding myself of white privilege. I still have a great deal of work to do, as my efforts have been mostly centered on listening to friends and being active on social media. There are far better voices than mine that need to be heard. Listen to them.
This is my commitment to learn, grow, change, repent and act. I need to think seriously about what I intend to do, because simply speaking up isn’t enough. I need to rethink how I spend my money, invest in my students, and serve others, especially those in the Black community.
This particular critique from Drew John Ladd was particularly powerful. Thank you Drew and all the other dissenting voices in response to my letter. I invite you to watch his response in its entirety. And then watch here what happened next. You will be amazed. Also consider supporting Drew and his work.
Listen, learn, and do better.
I still have much work to do.