Author: alliegferguson

Watch this: “Color Brave” Ted Talk

Us white people love to say that we are color blind. What we mean is that we aren’t racist–or at least strive not to be–and that we don’t judge people based on the color of their skin. “I don’t see black or white–I just see people,” someone might say. And I understand where that sentiment comes from, having thought it myself. I get it. I like to think that I don’t judge people on the color of their skin, so therefore race is not an issue to me. But, therein lies the problem–saying that you have to be color blind to appreciate Black people is saying that black skin is not the same as white skin. See where I’m going here? What we should be saying is that we are color brave. That we see Black people and their beautiful black skin and value it every bit as much as our white skin. We don’t have to be “blind” to skin color to treat everyone the same. There are Black people and there are white people and a million shades in between. It’s …

Race Relations: The power of caring

It feels like hardly a day goes by that I don’t see something racist in the news or online, whether it’s something truly tragic like a shooting or something a little less tragic, but still terrible, such as online bullying. This week, a white guy named Gerod Roth from Atlanta posted a selfie with a beautiful Black child on his Facebook page. Disgustingly, it was soon riddled with racist remarks from both the poster and his friends and it ended up being passed all over the internet. The Black community in Atlanta and around the country was outraged, and the people behind Black Twitter dug up the guy’s personal information and he and at least one of the commenters ended up being fired from their jobs. I read about this in an article on the Atlanta Black Star website and, like other people who read it, was upset by the photo and comments on the guys’ Facebook page. Then I scrolled down to the comments section and read what Black people were saying–and that made me feel even worse. Things like, “White …

Read this: Between the World and Me

“Here is what I would like for you to know: In America, it is traditional to destroy the black body—it is heritage.” I just finished Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me, and I have to agree with Toni Morrison’s review that this book “should be required reading” — for black and white people alike. Coates paints a powerful portrait of his life as a black man and the never-ending fear and mistrust–of the police, of the ghetto, of white people–that constantly accompanies those who inhabit America’s black bodies. This beautifully written, gut-wrenching book is a letter to the author’s son, who is 15 years old and upset about the lack of criminal charges for the killer of Michael Brown. Coates writes about this unfairness and the full weight of having a black body, what it meant for him growing up and what it means for him now as a father. Though his son was raised far from the mean streets of Baltimore where Coates grew up, he knows even that doesn’t protect him from the harsh realities of a white man’s world. …

White Privilege: Yes, you have it

  “I don’t have white privilege–I worked hard for everything I have.” It’s not uncommon to hear the argument from another white person that white privilege isn’t real. Some will deny it, claiming that they grew up poor in a house with eight hungry kids and never took a hand out. Some will say that they have never gotten a leg up in the world just for being white. But the simple truth is: yes you have. We all have. Simply having ivory skin has given us privilege beyond most of our understanding. Not realizing it is in itself part of white privilege: not having to think about it because that is just always how it has been. You and I have always been treated like we were white, because that is our reality. We have never had to think about what it would be like to be Black. We have been shielded from racial issues, and that’s why so many white people will also say that racism is no longer an issue: because we have never experienced institutional racism. …

White Privilege: We can live where we want

A nomad. A wanderer. A traveler. Those are all words you could use to describe me. I have moved almost every year since graduating high school. I’ve called seven different cities and countless more rental houses home in the past 20 years. Each time I’ve moved, there are numerous decisions to be made: where to live, where to work, where to play being among them. In the past, I have always been free to pick and choose the best neighborhood I could afford, closest to the biggest park and the amenities that were important to me at the time. Not once–not one time–did I have to rule out a neighborhood I desired based on the color of my skin. With the adoption of my African American son, that has all changed. We can no longer live anywhere we want. We can no longer simply choose the best neighborhood in the best city with the best schools. We have a Black son, and we don’t want his face in the mirror to be the only other Black one he …