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Race in America: Personal Responsibility

on-teaching-responsibility“What in this is my responsibility?”

I ask myself this question whenever I am faced with difficulty or conflict. The answer I give points to where my control lies.

Here lately, I’ve been asking myself the question, “What part of eliminating racism is my responsibility?” As a result of this self-evaluation, I am developing the following habits.

  1. I actively pursue friendships with people outside my ethnic group. I do this in a number of ways, including
    1. Purposefully sitting with people of color at meetings, in classes, or in workshops.
    2. Seeking out and attending events attended by people of color.
  2. I actively work to project confidence in African American people in the workplace. Some ways I attempt to accomplish this are
    1. If I am in a place of business and have a question for an authority, and I am faced with two employees of different ethnicities, I always direct my question to the person of color.
    2. I address all people, regardless of race, with terms considered to be respectful. I’m from the south, so I say, “Yes Ma’am and Yes Sir,” to people in authority, regardless of position, race, or age. To the cashier at CVS who asks me if this is all I need today, I respond, “Yes, Sir.” To the doctor in the ER who asks if I have been seen yet, I say, “No Ma’am.”
  3. I consciously refrain from prejudging people. I know very well that a well-dressed elderly white man can be every bit as threatening or as innocent as a teenager dressed like a juvenile delinquent. I am equally respectful and equally suspicious of both.

Those are just a few of the things I do in my life to help make a difference in the race problem in America. Here’s what I don’t do. I don’t list things African American people can or should do differently to reduce racial tension. As a white woman married to a white man and the mother of three white children, I really can’t participate in this method of eliminating racism. I just can’t.

So I do what I can do, what I should do, the things that fall within my scope of responsibility. What about you? What do you do to help eliminate racism?

 

 

About the Author Aileen Lawrimore

Aileen Mitchell Lawrimore is a mother x 3, wife x 28 (years not men), minister, speaker, writer, retreat leader, and lover of beagles and books. She has a lot to say.

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Shameful Accident: Confederate Flag Travesty says June 21, 2015

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