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Day 8: 21 Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge

Welcome to Day 8.  Missing something?  Go here to start Day 1 and here for yesterday.

Watch this short video and notice how it makes you feel?  Would you feel like this was an example of racism if you were in line behind her?  Would you have said anything?  What do you feel when you think of voicing your feelings about the treatment of this woman?

Post responses in comments section below.  We encourage you to share on Facebook and/or Twitter, too, with hashtag #IDPEquityChallenge.

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Just catching up on some of

Just catching up on some of these posts. I agree with Kimberly that speaking up for someone you know personally and stand up to someone whose job it is to satisfy your needs seems like a relatively easy situation.

At the same time, I probably fall closer to Renée's experience that I am largely oblivious to this type of unequal treatment even happening. Is that because most perpetrators of racism tend to be discrete with their behaviors? Doubtful. I think that might be true of well-intentioned people who unintentionally do something that is racist. (Granted, that's probably most of us.) I suspect that true bigots are rather proud of their feelings of superiority and want others to notice.

That gives rise to an interesting thought... By making those of us who are well-intentioned, even if a bit off in execution at times, more aware and more sensitive, we help marginalize true prejudice even further. Perhaps on the whole, that's the surest way to end both types of injustice.

additional resource

I found some resources that are interesting Protecting One Another  and What to do when you see Islamophobic Harassment

What to do?

The example in this video makes it seem easy -- in this case, the white woman who spoke up, a) knew the person who was experiencing racism and b) she was addressing a clerk from the role of customer. So in my experience, it's a lot easier to stand up for someone you know (because you're not worried about upsetting or offending them) and it's already okay to tell a clerk or service person what you want or need, or even to ask for a manager. Having witnessed a lot of racism and sexism, it's just so so hard to know what to do in many cases. I was on the subway a few months ago and a "homeless" man (looked disheveled, seemed like he was drinking or on drugs) was muttering about "orientals" and "chinks", looking at the young Chinese woman sitting next to me. He was very tall, and was carrying a walking stick and I felt cowardly because I was afraid to say anything to him as he may have been dangerous. I turned to the woman and put my hand on her shoulder and said "I'm so sorry" -- she took my hand and said "Oh, it happens all the time, don't worry I'm getting off next stop, thank you". Heartbreaking. I remember wishing I had a weapon or was trained in martial arts. Very helpless feeling. Around 2005, a few years into the Iraq war, I was at Laguardia airport at Christmas time, on the busy security line to get to my flight. A black woman was ahead of me on line, she had several kids, ages 4-12ish, and she was really angry and loudly complaining about the airport, the flight, security, she was worried she would not make her flight. A few of us were very uncomfortable and we were trying to ignore her. She asked one of the agents to help but they just told her to wait in line. But then I looked more closely at her, and she was holding a folded up American flag and she had an Army escort with her -- it seemed that she had just buried her husband and was on her way home with her kids. And she asked for help several times because she was never going to make her flight and agents kept telling her to just keep in the line. Finally, I told a security agent that I wanted to talk to her manager because that family needed help. And instead of calling her manager, she just took the family to the front of the line and they got through security. And I am still mad and sad about that incident. Many of the agents were PoC too so it wasn't just a bunch of white people - sometimes our lack of compassion is caused both by racism and not paying attention.


I have realized recently from Kim's microaggression observation and thinking through all of this that I have never noticed a moment of racism in my everyday life. Given I live and work in the city and I don't own a car so it is public transportation or walking for me so this seems highly unlikely that I have not been around racism, right?

I am pretty oblivious when I walking around, often with headphones on listening to my favorite podcast. However, I have also been purposely not listening to anything to be more engaged with my present. Still, I have not noticed anything and I find this very surprising. To me, it means my radar for this type of thing is still very underdeveloped. I think that my views and my privilege are still masking the experience of racism. I wonder if I would even notice that the woman in the video was going through a different experience. I doubt it sadly.

There is a letter going around social media right now from a woman that basically stated: Why do any women need this march? This is America, I have everything I need, and if you don’t, it’s your own fault, and marching won’t fix that for you.

This woman wrote a response to her that spoke to me. (https://medium.com/@susan.speer/to-christy-on-facebook-who-doesnt-need-t...) To me it is about learning to see for the very first time, to notice the struggles of those that are around me to notice the racism and bias they face. Our bubble is not most people's realities and they are not just "doing it wrong."

I took this class around white privilege and we did scenarios to practice speaking up. It was scary to actively address a racist incident and I appreciated the practice we received as the role play showed me how defensive and difficult it can be to point things and stand up to racism.

However, the thing that I never shared with the class was one of the exercises was a scenario on a bus. The bus driver said good morning and hello to everyone who got on the bus except the person of color. This was a common occurrence according to the POC teacher. I was sad and am still sad that I do not think I would have ever noticed that happening.

There is so much work for me yet to do.

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