Today, I Must Digress

Many of you have told me that you read and enjoy this blog because it’s a pleasant distraction from all that’s going on in the world at the moment. I appreciate and respect that, and have done my best to help keep you uplifted and entertained. And I will continue to do so.

Black Lives Matter protestors in Los Angeles.

But today, it feels utterly negligent to not acknowledge and speak out about what’s been happening in my country. The deaths of George Floyd and Ahmaud Abery, the harassment of Christian Cooper in Central Park have left me feeling wrecked and outraged, but sadly not surprised. Because this has been going on forever. Racism has always been with us. It’s just more out in the open now.

This column by LZ Granderson echos much of what I’ve heard and read from black people for the last few decades.

We tend to turn away from what’s uncomfortable to confront, or conversely we want to jump in and DO something. To fix it. To heal the wounds. But healing won’t happen without justice. That old wound will just fester and keep re-opening.

So what can we do? Listen, listen, listen to the voices of those impacted by racism. Work for justice. Vote, for sure, and work to ensure that everyone’s voting rights are being protected. Lobby your elected representatives, including the local ones. This list has lots of good ideas.

And if you’re on social media, be vigilant about what you consume, engage with, and share. There are lots of “bots,” fake accounts, and troll farms disseminating false information intended to inflame and divide us further. Social media algorithms often amplify the most extreme voices.

The more I try to write about this, the more inadequate my words feel. And it’s not about my feelings, anyway. I’ll leave it with this, and some links if you’d like to read more.

‘Racism in America is like dust in the air. It seems invisible — even if you’re choking on it — until you let the sun in. Then you see it’s everywhere. As long as we keep shining that light, we have a chance of cleaning it wherever it lands. But we have to stay vigilant, because it’s always still in the air.”

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

“In a racist society, it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be anti-racist.”

Angela Davis

I think that’s the crux of it right there.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: What you’re seeing is people pushed to the edge

Trevor Noah on the protests

75 Things White People Can Do For Racial Justice

Understanding and Dismantling Racism: A Book List For White Readers

Thanks for reading.

Photo credit: Nam Y. Huh/AP

Stay in touch.

Affiliate links in posts may generate commissions for unefemme.net. See my complete disclosure policy here.

155 Comments

  1. May 31, 2020 / 9:25 am

    Thanks for sharing these thoughts. They’re mine too. And we probably also share the sadness of seeing Los Angeles burn. Once again. I’ve been spending the last few days reading articles about racism and the need to be anti-racist. I tend to want to jump into a problem but I see that right now listening and learning is what’s called for. Retirement has given me the opportunity to be very politically active the last 3+ years. Which means I/we have much work to do leading up to the November elections. BTW, I especially enjoy your posts on travel and packing. Looking forward to when those will become part of my travel prep once again.

  2. SuzG
    May 31, 2020 / 9:42 am

    Thank you for addressing this horror and not simply avoiding it, which I am sure would be the easier path. Those of us with privilege and power (even if we think it’s modest) need to listen, learn and help address the wrongs that have plagued this country since it’s founding with slave labor. We must do better.

  3. Karen
    May 31, 2020 / 10:02 am

    Thank you. Thank you for stepping up and stepping out. T

  4. May 31, 2020 / 10:52 am

    Thanks for this, Sue. As a Canadian blogger I don’t feel that I should weigh in, but I am so glad that you did.

    • Gwen
      June 1, 2020 / 4:10 am

      As a fellow Canadian, I feel the same.

      • Ainsivalavie
        June 1, 2020 / 5:32 am

        As a Canadian and grandmother of mixed race boys it’s important to remember that racism does exists here as well. True, our past is different from our American neighbours but please, don’t ever think racism is an ‘American’ problem as the protests this past weekend in Vancouver, Montréal and Toronto prove. Black lives matter, everywhere.
        Kudos Susan for writing about this issue. I suspect your readership is mostly the ‘privileged’ upper middle income white woman. The person who is more likely to be on the giving( even if unintentional ) rather then receiving end of racism. ThanK you for providing resources for your readership to read and think about. A previous commenter mentioned having ‘power’ let’s use that to be the change, to model positive change for our family, friends and communities.

        • Susan
          June 1, 2020 / 6:24 am

          Upper middle income women are full of white guilt and are very conscious of not being (or appearing to be) racist. Reading most of the comments below should validate my claim.

          • Susan Blakey
            Author
            June 1, 2020 / 6:28 am

            And why shouldn’t we examine ourselves and try to do better? It’s not about guilt, it’s about awareness. We all need to be part of the solution.

        • Lagatta de Montréal
          June 1, 2020 / 6:29 am

          From Québec, and up here such bigotry affects Indigenous people as much as those of African origin. We have also experienced a very nasty upsurge in anti-Asian racism of late, and the symbolic lion statues outside a nearby Vietnamese Buddhist temple were severely damaged, among other hateful acts. Then there was a synagogue desecration on the other side of town, with hate graffiti and sacred items thrown into the toilets. The general mood, and hectoring by the two blowheads “leading” the largest countries to our south brought such slime out of their lairs.

          I actually didn’t attend the Montréal protest, because I’m over 60 and didn’t feel safe (from infection) in what I knew would be a tight crowd, but I’m certainly writing about it.

        • Anon
          June 2, 2020 / 10:20 am

          I agree, ainsilavie. Racism knows no borders. That is why thousands of young people of many racial backgrounds joined together yesterday in my city in support of the marches south of the border. But it is also an issue here in Canada. We need look no further than the MMIW and the Highway of Tears to know that much needs to be done. Or the now-deleted Twitter post of profanity and name-calling by a political party founder in my province, directed at a federal cabinet minister who is black. Racism is happening here and now and on the weekend. If we accept the status quo, we are part of the problem. It’s most unfortunate that many young people do not see the value in voting at election time. If they fail to use the power of the vote, their voices ultimately will not be heard, and nothing will change. They, too, are part of the problem if they cede their right to vote. Democracy needs participation, not apathy.

  5. May 31, 2020 / 11:19 am

    Thank you, Sue. Said with the grace, reason, and consideration that you bring to everything you do.

  6. Arlene
    May 31, 2020 / 11:24 am

    Thanks for standing up. Thanks for using your voice. We need more of this.

  7. Stormy
    May 31, 2020 / 12:25 pm

    Thanks for this post.

  8. Ellen
    May 31, 2020 / 12:31 pm

    Thank you Sue! I so agree with you. ❤️

  9. Belinda
    May 31, 2020 / 12:41 pm

    Thank you. I have been weeping all morning, struggling to find my place in all this. I’m a volunteer at a title 1, inner city elementary school. My single gender boys 3rd grade class is predominantly Black and Hispanic. I have not been able to be with them since March. If and when and how the new school year begins how do I as a 70 year old white woman work to lessen their anger, frustration and fear? How do I help clean the “ dust in the air”? This will surely be my prayer

    • Denise Hare
      June 1, 2020 / 4:19 am

      Thank you for this, living in England we won’t have the sa!e degree of racism but I fear we’re not too far behind. I think Angela Davis has really summed up what we should be, ie anti as opposed to non racist

  10. Chris
    May 31, 2020 / 1:45 pm

    I live in the UK and have watched events with horror. I am immensely privileged; but how do we get through this and create a truly fair and inclusive society? I have no answers. Thank you for raising this topic. Sometimes we have to face up to the dark and unpleasant realities within our society and acknowledge that solutions may not be easy to accept for those of us whose way in life has been significantly eased by our privilege.

  11. Kay
    May 31, 2020 / 2:02 pm

    Yes, this brings back bad memories of Los Angeles in 1992. I wish I knew what the answer is.

  12. Cindylou
    May 31, 2020 / 2:44 pm

    Thank you for your bravery in speaking out and voicing your opinion. I will check out your recommendations.

  13. Cathy D.
    May 31, 2020 / 3:02 pm

    Thank you, Sue! I made a vow a few days ago to speak up whenever I encounter racism, no matter how uncomfortable doing so may make me feel. I’m hoping I’m up to the task.

  14. Lea
    May 31, 2020 / 3:26 pm

    Thank you, Sue. I’ve already read a few of the links you provide and will read the rest. They are excellent. My daughter tells me to listen, and then listen some more. And to not be shy to be impolite when dealing with racism when we see or hear it. As someone stated above, I hope I’m up to the task. I’m so happy you weighed in, even more proud to read your blog now.

  15. Julie Jacks
    May 31, 2020 / 3:31 pm

    Thank you for writing this with such care and feeling.I am from Australia and I was curious about which bloggers I follow would write about the terrible events going on in your country.I will continue to read your blogs, but others I will give a miss.

  16. Patricia
    May 31, 2020 / 7:24 pm

    Praise to you for this.

  17. Janet D.
    May 31, 2020 / 10:10 pm

    As other readers have said, thank you for the courage to speak out on this. As a Canadian woman of immense privilege — white, comfortably retired — I don’t feel I have the right or cultural/historical background to voice an opinion, and yet I too am deeply affected. We have a history of terrible racism here in Canada. It stems from different societal drivers but the long-term harm it has done to POC — especially our First Nations citizens — & our country as a whole is deep & painful, so, in that, I share your despair. My heart is with your nation. One of the first steps toward healing is an honest witnessing, & this heartfelt post is part of that.

  18. noreen kelly
    May 31, 2020 / 10:29 pm

    thank you for posting this. i followed the link to the article by LZ Granderson and all i have been able to think about since is that little 12 year old boy and the horrific lesson he learnt. so early in life. Australia has its own racist past and present to deal with but our political system is less polarised and the majority have fought back against those who have tried to use racism as a political weapon.

  19. Laura
    June 1, 2020 / 4:18 am

    Very well said…Thank you, Susan.

  20. Marysue
    June 1, 2020 / 4:24 am

    Simply… thank you

  21. Lianne MacGregor
    June 1, 2020 / 4:31 am

    Thank-you for going there. Your thoughtfulness in all things, even – perhaps especially – this, is why I’m a faithful reader.

  22. Vivien
    June 1, 2020 / 4:40 am

    Thank you Susan. So sad.

  23. Ann (normally in KC)
    June 1, 2020 / 4:43 am

    Thank you for this post and the excellent resources you have provided in it.

  24. Sara
    June 1, 2020 / 4:45 am

    Thank you, Susan, for digressing, spot on. Some things need saying, regardless of those in positions of power who should know better but clearly do not. So Important to call out the cancer of racism and police brutality, so i.oortant to acknowledge what the BAME population still endures.

  25. Cindy Harrison
    June 1, 2020 / 4:47 am

    Thank you for devoting your blog to this important issue. As a black woman I know the fear that a mother feels each time her son leaves home. I know the heartbreak of having to describe to a young man what he needs to do if he is stopped by law enforcement in order to stay alive. I know the outrage that I feel when innocent black men and women are slaughtered in the streets because of the color of their skin.And yet, it gives me hope when people of all races stand up and refuse to stay quiet. When people of all races say “this needs to stop”. It gives me hope when a (much enjoyed) blogger says “I can’t stay quiet”. You have given me hope today. Thank you.

    • Carolyn
      June 1, 2020 / 8:23 am

      Dear Cindy,
      Your post touched my heart. I can not begin to know how you feel as a mother.
      I feel outrage at what has been happening to these men and women because of their skin color. The protests our city has been experiencing have been needed. The destruction, looting and burning that followed seemed to refocus the real meaning for the protest. My heart has been broken for the families of George Floyd and all the other victims of racial crimes. We need to do better. We can not ignore what is happening.

    • Linda
      June 1, 2020 / 11:36 am

      Thank you, Cindy. I can’t imagine the fear, and my heart goes out to you. And thank you, Susan, for addressing the subject.

  26. Karen
    June 1, 2020 / 4:52 am

    Thank you, Susan.

  27. Brenda Hunt
    June 1, 2020 / 5:02 am

    Thank you Susan for today’s post. No matter where we live, we cannot stay silent.

  28. Monica A.
    June 1, 2020 / 5:16 am

    I’m a 40-something Black woman who has been reading your blog since I was in my 30s, and I thank you for using your voice and platform to speak out.

    I ask you and my fellow readers to also consider actively recording instances of police violence : https://www.cnn.com/2020/05/31/us/aclu-mobile-justice-police-misconduct-app/.

    And also consider giving to organizations on the front lines like the Movement for Black Lives: M4bl.org

    Thank you.

    • Estie
      June 4, 2020 / 9:02 pm

      Thank you, Susan, for the column, and Monica A. for the suggestions. I may have gotten a smart phone only two years ago but I’m all about this app you suggest. Thank, and I wish you well.

  29. SueAnne Robinson
    June 1, 2020 / 5:22 am

    Thank you for posting this.

  30. Susan
    June 1, 2020 / 5:23 am

    How terrible for the families of George Floyd and other victims of race crimes/police brutality, that the voices of peaceful protestors have been drowned out by the rabble. The longer the violence, looting and anarchy continues, the less chance there is of any peaceful resolution.

  31. Jaye Coker
    June 1, 2020 / 5:24 am

    Thank you.

  32. June 1, 2020 / 5:29 am

    Thank you Susan xo

  33. Joanne in NH
    June 1, 2020 / 5:47 am

    Thank you, Susan. I’m simultaneously heartbroken and furious. I’m going to check out the resources you listed to find something constructive to do. I am grinning just a little, though. My normal routine is to click on the New York Times first thing in the morning. Today, I thought I just can’t take it – I’m going straight to Une Femme. Surprise! But, in my mind, your comments are absolutely appropriate and reinforce the fact than one can’t (and shouldn’t) run from these horrible times.

  34. Melissa
    June 1, 2020 / 5:48 am

    Thank you for sharing.

  35. Charlotte
    June 1, 2020 / 5:49 am

    Thank you, Sue!

  36. Wendy
    June 1, 2020 / 5:50 am

    Yes. Thank you.

  37. Laura
    June 1, 2020 / 5:55 am

    Thank you, Susan. Very well said and thank you for the resources.

  38. darby callahan
    June 1, 2020 / 5:57 am

    thank you for this post. you are absolutely right we cannot overlook this horror and still be full human beings. I will carefully read all your resources. love the quote from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

  39. Ann
    June 1, 2020 / 6:01 am

    Thank you, Sue.

  40. Andrea
    June 1, 2020 / 6:05 am

    Thank you for this.

  41. Elizabeth
    June 1, 2020 / 6:12 am

    What’s going on in this country is unconscionable. Thank you so much for addressing this today.

  42. Sandra
    June 1, 2020 / 6:13 am

    Thank you, Susan, for focusing on this issue.

  43. Mary Ann Kampe
    June 1, 2020 / 6:17 am

    Thank you, Susan. Your thoughts are beautifully expressed.

  44. Rahn
    June 1, 2020 / 6:39 am

    Thank you, Sue, for addressing this. It is greatly appreciated.

  45. susan
    June 1, 2020 / 6:40 am

    Step up. Step out. Especially at times like these.

  46. Eileen Miller
    June 1, 2020 / 6:52 am

    Sometimes all we can do are small things. And that’s ok. We can all participate in change and sometimes that comes from very small things. Like smiling at people instead of looking down or away. Like asking a Black cashier in the grocery store about their plans for college and encouraging them with affirmative statements. Like just being kind in our everyday lives and encounters with others. Change happens, but it always starts with a single step, and sometimes, that’s just a very small step that may seem inconsequential at the time, but can easily spread to the way we all treat one another. We have allowed oppression and racism to flourish by our indifference and inaction. Let’s vow to change what we can, and keep working toward a just society.

  47. Phyllis Gerben
    June 1, 2020 / 6:55 am

    Thank you. Silence is complacency. We all must speak out now.

  48. K Mead
    June 1, 2020 / 7:03 am

    Bravo!

  49. Sandy
    June 1, 2020 / 7:14 am

    When you live in a democracy, participation of the masses is critical to the process. Don’t like how your government is working? Volunteer with any level of political organization (Federal, State, County, Municipal). Bring your ideas to your local representatives. Knock on doors with your representative when they are campaigning, make (those often annoying) phone calls, understand the political process and how it affects your life! GET OUT AND VOTE! There are countries where people will die for the privilege to vote.

    Democracy takes a lot of effort to make it work well. But in spite of that, it is still the most fair system in the world. And it is they system we have.

    Thank you , Susan, for addressing this issue. Your thoughts, as always, are expressed so well.

  50. Debbie Williams
    June 1, 2020 / 7:17 am

    Thank you for your relevant comments and for the links. It is and has been a horrifying time for our country and the values we thought were in place…. but have not been for several years.

  51. Lee
    June 1, 2020 / 7:29 am

    Thank you for posting about this today & for giving additional resources as well. We have to work to stop the madness & sickness of racism & white supremacy.

  52. June 1, 2020 / 7:30 am

    I am glad you spoke. Watching the riots and seeing photos of the aftermath was so troubling. Thank you for your thoughts. I saw news coverage of Santa Monica and Culver City and wondered how close it came to your neighborhood. As a country, I believe we are in trouble.

  53. Sue
    June 1, 2020 / 7:31 am

    Thank you for speaking. We cannot do life “as usual” anymore.

  54. Carolyn
    June 1, 2020 / 7:34 am

    My heart has been broken. My prayers go to the family of George Floyd and the other victims. The protest in Atlanta was peaceful until afterwards and then it wasn’t.

    Looting, burning, and destruction took over our streets. The sadness I feel is beyond belief. Cindy’s post touched my heart. I can only imagine how she must feel as a mother.

    We need to do better!

  55. Téa
    June 1, 2020 / 7:41 am

    Thank you.

  56. June 1, 2020 / 7:41 am

    Yet another, among many, reasons I am so glad I count you among my dear, dear friends. As I watch my country from the outside looking in, all I feel is a deep, sad despair.

    Je t’embrasse

  57. Karen
    June 1, 2020 / 7:45 am

    It is difficult to know what you can do to help. I live in a very small rural community in Southwest Wisconsin. My son lives in Ohio and was involved in the startup of a charter school in the lowest income area in Columbus. That school now has over 500 students grades K-8. Part of the program is the commitment to help the students get through high school and into university. The students are also given mentors to help them get through college. I like to believe that this is giving those families hope that things can change. We have been financially supporting the school since it’s inception. The current situation seems to me to be the result of police officers ignoring their obligation to report and take responsibility for their actions. The local government and the governor did not fully take responsibility for the actions of a municipal employee either. I lived in the Twin Cities for several years and my heart is broken for all the families who have lost their means of income and homes due to this situation.

  58. Lisa Hershey
    June 1, 2020 / 7:58 am

    Thank you.

  59. DebbieM
    June 1, 2020 / 8:01 am

    Please could you correct the link to Noah Trevor? His name is Trevor Noah. Unless it is intentional for some reason, in which case, apols.

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      June 1, 2020 / 8:02 am

      Fixing now, thanks!

  60. Lee Rosenthall
    June 1, 2020 / 8:06 am

    Thank you, Susan. While many of us may come here for respite, there are moments in our lives when being silent is to be complicit.

    “For where does one run to when he’s already in the promised land?”
    ― Claude Brown, “Manchild in the Promised Land”

  61. Audre
    June 1, 2020 / 8:07 am

    This is an example of the passionate, beautiful writing that keeps me returning to your blog. Thank you for addressing this and for providing more resources for additional reading. We are all heartbroken and somewhat isolated due to the pandemic. So this online community has an increased purpose in times like these. Your efforts are appreciated.

  62. Lily
    June 1, 2020 / 8:10 am

    I live in the upper Midwest. My friend’s job takes him, a middle aged white male, into hundreds of businesses a week. He’s known these small town folks for years, Every last one referred to President Obama with the “N word”. Every. Last. One.

  63. Virginia Ruedebusch
    June 1, 2020 / 8:12 am

    Thank you for digressing. We definitely need to face this problem or it will destroy us!

  64. Anne
    June 1, 2020 / 8:14 am

    Thank you so much for this thoughtful, self-reflective, responsive and responsible post. I sometimes feel guilty about my love of fashion because it often conflicts with my love of social justice (Consumption in the midst of economic inequity/Quality vs. quantity? Unethical brands?Etc.) I will now read your blog with a little less guilt that my eyes have strayed from “real issues.” Our silence is, indeed, complicity.

  65. Evelyn
    June 1, 2020 / 8:17 am

    Another shameful chapter in our history….and we are ostensibly living in the greatest democracy on earth. My heart is aching. Thank you for addressing this in your post.

  66. DebfromVancouver
    June 1, 2020 / 8:19 am

    Canadians must not be complacent or smug. We must work hard every single day to take care of our democracy and our values. Twice this past week, I have been in conversations with very “nice” people who said very racist things to me regarding Covid probably fully confident that their comments would be fully supported by me. Both were related to how Covid is being spread by those people ….meaning our fellow citizens of Asian descent. I did speak up but in a very polite Canadian way which then can be ignored. I am going to be much more clear from now on. All human societies are fragile things and it is only with consistent constant and strong vigilance that we can ensure they will keep ALL of us safe and flourishing.

    • Lagatta de Montréal
      June 1, 2020 / 1:06 pm

      Ironically, a young Indigenous-Canadian woman was attacked in your city by a racist thug who thought she was “Asian” – of course at least many waves of First Nations and Inuit did cross the Bering Strait from northeastern Siberia – but thousands of years before the first European explorers or settlers, not to mention the enslaved Africans they brought in chains later on. I have First Nations and Inuit relatives, and especially when they were younger they experienced such comments, but fortunately no beatings.

      I’m not saying that to put down your city or province; we’ve had similar anti-Asian racist acts, and very recently, a horrific antisemitic attack on a small synagogue

  67. Molly
    June 1, 2020 / 8:31 am

    Thank you Susan.

  68. Leigh
    June 1, 2020 / 8:32 am

    Thank you, Sue, for your thoughtful and impactful words. Thank you for reaching out to your community here. I hope your words inspire us all to take action big or small. If we feel hesitant or fearful in that moment of taking action, we need to remember the fear that people of color may feel every day of their lives.

  69. judy
    June 1, 2020 / 8:46 am

    I am a white woman. In the 70^s i was with Tim, an African-american man. Tim told me that when he was a 5 year old, he knocked on his friends door to come out and play. His friend told him his parents would not let him play with Tim…because he was black. For this to happen to a child BROKE my heart…and still does to this day. That was the day I was ashamed to be white.

  70. Carol Montanti
    June 1, 2020 / 9:06 am

    Thanks Susan for speaking out clearly but peacefully about this terrible situation. As a Canadian living close enough to Minneapolis to feel the shockwaves of this last week, I feel the pain and unbelievable disgust of many Americans. I watched 10 seconds of the video of Mr. Lloyd’s death and was stunned and heartbroken. What can be done to bridge the gap between races, between haves and have nots? We have similar problems in Canada as do many countries around the world, and the pandemic has certainly bared every society’s faults. It was great to clap and sing for our healthcare workers who deserved the applause but meanwhile our elderly and marginalized communities were dying out or boiling over. We aren’t going to get many more chances to fix this.

  71. Sally Sebastian
    June 1, 2020 / 9:09 am

    Thank you. This post is timely and courageous. Thank you.

  72. Susan
    June 1, 2020 / 9:09 am

    Based on the number of replies to your post, your readers are clearly invested in justice and equality. It is tragic that we have let a minority drown the voices of protesters and people of color in their angst. Your message and the replies are a positive light to me who has watched my city devastated by looters. You get it and that is a start.

  73. Marilynn
    June 1, 2020 / 9:10 am

    Thank you so much for these thoughts. Racism in America is pervasive. We must speak up, and protest..in our thoughts, words and actions. We must all commit ourselves to seeking truth and justice.

    Marilynn

  74. June 1, 2020 / 9:12 am

    Well spoken. I couldn’t agree more.
    I read a book by a female Dutch author, called “Hello white people” and she describes what it means to be black but also what it means to be white and never having to think about how people are going to react on you today. How the word ‘white’ represents innocense, good, virtue, virginity, cleanliness. And ‘black’ stands for evil, bad, hiding, dirty. She talks about the musea showing everything for centuries from a white (male) point of view. The book opened my eyes even further and I agree with Angela: “It is not enough to be non-racist, we must be anti-racist”.
    Greetje

    • Lagatta de Montréal
      June 1, 2020 / 12:48 pm

      I agree, but the Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam-East, once one of those museums to the glory of imperialism and “exotic peoples” conquered or otherwise affected by the Dutch colonial and mercantile system, has become a space centred on peoples and cultures from the global South. A similar effort has been made at a museum along the same lines in Paris. There has been some progress, but a long way to go.

      Your Belgian neighbours have a way to go in terms of facing the colonial horror in the Congo in the 1880s…

      I don’t even want to talk about the horrors going in Brazil, where there is a white supremacist president in a country where the majority of people are Black, Brown or Indigenous. And he is aching for a military coup. He and the Donald are besties. Fortunately, nowadays some Republicans are refusing the rants, as are some Conservatives in Brazil.

  75. Sarah
    June 1, 2020 / 9:42 am

    Thank you, Susan.

    “Certain conditions still exist in our society, which must be condemned as vigorously as we condemn riots. But in the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard.” MLK Jr.

    Sadly as true now as it was more than 50 years ago.

  76. Avicennia
    June 1, 2020 / 9:46 am

    As an American I thank you, as a mother I thank you, as I woman of color, I thank you.

  77. Cheryl Smith
    June 1, 2020 / 9:53 am

    Thank you, thank you for speaking up and for the links. It makes my heart swell to see the many supportive replies. Remaining silent in the face of racism and bigotry is to be complicit. Growing up in the South, it has taken work to shake off the racism that I grew up with; guarding my thoughts and questioning their source. It will take much more work to get to a truly just society.
    If you’ve never heard of Teri Kanefield, now is a good time to look her up and read her suggestions on what we can each do to make a difference.

    Cheryl

  78. Rita
    June 1, 2020 / 9:59 am

    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and the helpful resources. One of the most important things we can do is work to ensure everyone is able to vote. Allowing and encouraging mail-in voting is very important and we can all call our legislators to ask them to support mail-in voting and to keep the United States Postal Service in operation.

  79. Marey
    June 1, 2020 / 10:06 am

    The horror of 1968 plays out again. Grandchildren fearing protests in NYC and Phoenix remind me of my worries then. Not talking about the events would be like ignoring 9/11. Thank you Sue for voicing many emotions I am feeling and for including links for guidance. Bless you.
    Marey

  80. Eileen
    June 1, 2020 / 10:09 am

    Thank you Susan. Did I think in the 1960’s that we would still be in this mindset, no. I thought we would have evolved past it. To what purpose is this unkindness… none.

  81. Lisa
    June 1, 2020 / 10:15 am

    Thank you, Susan. The work certainly is the responsibility of all of us. We definitely have to vote for change, but we can’t lull ourselves into the idea that new leadership will magically solve our problems. We who have benefited from society are all responsible the injustice in it. Thank you for providing resources.

  82. Peggy
    June 1, 2020 / 10:40 am

    Thank you Susan. It is so important to use our voices in ways that make a difference. You are showing us all that we can make a difference together. Great resources from all of your readers as well as thoughtful sentiments. Thanks for your inspiration.

  83. SusieG
    June 1, 2020 / 10:53 am

    100 percent. This makes me more likely to continue following your blog. White silence – violence. Thank you.

  84. Char
    June 1, 2020 / 10:58 am

    Thank you for the post and everyones comments. We who have privilege have powerful voices and
    we should be angry and outraged this is so prevalent. We need to vote, we need to express our views
    and we need to demand change. We need to teach our children the strength of diversity and equality,
    We need to have conversations that hold each other accountable for our views. We are at a crossroads
    in our country and we can’t allow this to continue. We need to support peaceful protests, we
    need to be visible and use our platforms for change, and we can’t let the extremists hijack our values
    and our country! We need to reflect on our own actions, silence and complacency won’t change the trajectory we are on!

  85. Pink Azalea
    June 1, 2020 / 11:04 am

    Thank you. So many thoughtful comments by others. I hope this is the turning point toward a more just and safe world for all of us.

  86. Shari
    June 1, 2020 / 11:07 am

    Thanks for this!

  87. Betty Goldberg
    June 1, 2020 / 11:15 am

    Dear Susan,
    Thank you for you posting this. I am heartbroken, that we still have to deal with this systemic racism. I am a very active in my local politics and fight to make our society better. I listen to my black friends and know that we have to do more than vote. We have to listen and continue to fight racism, whenever it rears its ugly face.
    Thanks again for the bringing this post to us.

  88. Barbara
    June 1, 2020 / 11:20 am

    With gratitude. A family member was on the bridge when the tanker truck went charging through – terrifying.

    • June 1, 2020 / 12:21 pm

      Yes, sitting in the couch watching that happen was absolutely horrifying. We live less than two miles from where George Floyd died, and I haven’t been able to bring myself to go to view his memorial or the incredible destruction that has taken place since his death. I do have faith in our elected leaders, calling it what it is from the start and not whitewashing this tragedy.
      I will be looking at ways to engage in the next steps, ever hopeful that change begins with us.

  89. Mary B Perez
    June 1, 2020 / 11:21 am

    Yes, we white women have to call out racism and injustice when we see it. Silence is taken as agreement when others are making racist comments, and practicing all the ugly racist practices, subtle and blatant. My Father was a racist and tried to teach his children that “they” were genetically and culturally inferior. It didn’t work…all his children are independent thinking Liberals. I’m married to a Hispanic man, and some of the comments people make about him, trying to be complimentary, are laughable. How smart, good looking, etc. he is considering his background. Jeesh…We women have experience with what prejudice feels like. Multiply that by 10 to get some idea of what Black folks have suffered.

  90. Barbara
    June 1, 2020 / 11:21 am

    Thank you, Susan for your incredible words and the links that you have provided to resources which will help each of us contribute – in some way – to the betterment of our society. This was a courageous and inspiring post that was greatly appreciated. Thank you.

  91. Jen
    June 1, 2020 / 12:47 pm

    Thank you, Susan, for taking a stand.

  92. Rosie
    June 1, 2020 / 1:08 pm

    Thanks Sue.

  93. June 1, 2020 / 1:13 pm

    Well said, Sue. Thoughtful, considered, cogent, and eloquent. Thank you!

  94. Kate
    June 1, 2020 / 1:39 pm

    Thank you Susan for addressing what is going on. I’ve made the decision not to continue to follow influencers who aren’t speaking out in a meaningful way.

    We all need to shine a light on our inherent racism and learn how to help make changes. Our country desperately needs to make changes.

    My daughter has recommended How To Be An Anti-Racist by Ibrahim X Kendi. Donating to BLM & NAACP are two more ideas. Small beginnings but shifts that I need to make. I want to learn more. It’s important for all of us that things not remain the same.

    And we all need to get out the vote this fall!!

  95. Karen Winch
    June 1, 2020 / 2:50 pm

    at last something more

  96. Suz
    June 1, 2020 / 3:37 pm

    Thank you for speaking out, Susan. I think that Lee Rosenthall (above) said it so well, “While many of us may come here for respite, there are moments in our lives when being silent is to be complicit. Thank you again.

  97. Alexis I
    June 1, 2020 / 3:58 pm

    As others have said — Thank you, Susan. I appreciate your meaningful observations that you have shared with us. We all appreciate your insight on fashion, but I think it is important that those people who have a following and the opportunity to voice a belief (such as yourself) use it for the greater good. We need to do whatever we can to fight racism and inequality.

  98. Jane Reynolds
    June 1, 2020 / 4:08 pm

    Thank you. Being passively non-racist is no longer enough.

  99. Julie
    June 1, 2020 / 4:41 pm

    Thank you Susan for stepping up and speaking out. We must all do so.

  100. Alysan E Azman
    June 1, 2020 / 5:50 pm

    Thank you for speaking out!

  101. Carol
    June 1, 2020 / 6:38 pm

    Thank you, Susan. As a 62-year old black woman, I have felt racism’s sting my whole life, and I have also had wonderful opportunities and experiences. I worked and lived abroad for more than 20 years in six countries, and in each of those locations I felt more at ease than I have felt here in the USA. I would like to add the following link, though laced with a few expletives, that I believe is worthwhile. https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2020/05/31/natasha-cloud-calls-end-silence-face-racial-injustice/

  102. Rondi
    June 1, 2020 / 6:52 pm

    I’m so glad you wrote about this. I agree with a commenter above who remembers the unrest of the 60’s. I thought it would be better by now also. To encourage us to speak out and actually be anti-racist is inspiring. Racism is taught. It is passed along from others. Sad and terrifying. I do not think it matters what your income level is. If you are white you must speak up.

  103. Kay
    June 1, 2020 / 7:36 pm

    Hi Susan – long time reader- very long (the days of the Thoughtful Dresser, I believe).

    As a black woman from Canada, this message is very well received. Thanks for amplifying and the links as well.

  104. Nancy
    June 1, 2020 / 7:44 pm

    Thank you Susan, for your heart, your words and your links.

  105. MaureenC
    June 2, 2020 / 1:10 am

    Thank you for not pretending that this isn’t happening. We have nothing to be complacent about in the UK and our black and ethnic minority citizens are victims of hate crimes and police violence. I can only voice my solidarity with those people brave enough to protest and my condolences to the families of the victims.

  106. TURNER
    June 2, 2020 / 2:06 am

    Thank you Susan

  107. SuD
    June 2, 2020 / 5:47 am

    Thank you for not ignoring this issue. Many other bloggers seem to be existing in a bubble during these trying times whether it be COVID-19 or injustice, and their disconnect has caused me to disconnect from their blogs.

  108. Lagatta de Montréal
    June 2, 2020 / 6:03 am

    Susan and others, here is a Black woman on horseback, in Oakland. A powerful symbol, as “a man” (almost always white or at most a bit métis/mestizo in countries where the majority is of colour) on horseback is a symbol of a certain type of authoritarian, and at times dictatorial power)

    Obviously the majority of African-American and other Black women don’t have access to this beautiful horse, but the symbolism is lovely.

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jun/01/george-floyd-protester-oakland-horse

    • Rondi
      June 2, 2020 / 7:36 am

      This is awesome, Lagatta.

  109. Berenice Wolpin
    June 2, 2020 / 7:35 am

    Thank you, Susan, for acknowledging this. Although many of us come here as a respite from the horrors of the world, there is a point at which our silence IS complicity.

  110. Kathy
    June 2, 2020 / 8:16 am

    Thank you Susan. We need to stand together again at racism, bigotry and brutality!

  111. Anne
    June 2, 2020 / 8:38 am

    Susan, I applaud you for not remaining silent on this issue. Reading and listening to the articles etc that you shared helped me, a white British woman, understand the situation in the US and I am appalled.
    Thank you.

  112. Juti
    June 2, 2020 / 8:47 am

    Thank you.

  113. Ruth
    June 2, 2020 / 11:00 am

    Thank you for your words and your reading list. Thank you for using your voice in this space and in this time to speak out about injustices that are all around us.

  114. Florence
    June 2, 2020 / 11:45 am

    Thank you Susan,
    While it’s easy to want to distract ourselves from the harsh realities of this time in history sometimes we have to stand in it and stand for something.
    I’ve followed your blog for about 3 years now. I’ve loved your style and your desire keep growing, and learning, and allowing the years to make you all the more beautiful.
    I’ve been a Francophile since I was 15 so of course I was attracted to your blog!
    I’m 59. I’m a proud mom of 5 young adults. My youngest son has Autism. I’ve been in a mixed race marriage for 31 years, my husband is an awesome devoted, hard working man.
    I just wanted to say how thankful I am that you took time to stand in it and stand for what’s important.
    More than a fan 🙂

  115. June 2, 2020 / 12:03 pm

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and writing so eloquently about this huge issue. As a white woman living in an almost entirely white community, it’s hard for me to imagine the fear and everyday discrimination people of color face. I think you are right in saying, as long as we just passively stand by, it’s taken as exceptance. When in many cases, it’s just that we don’t know what to do. Speaking out is the least that can be done, even though it doesn’t seem like much. It’s sad. Its unfair. It’s outrageous that anyone is treated differently because of their skin color.

  116. Jannie
    June 2, 2020 / 3:03 pm

    Thank you and god bless everyone. I’m 70 years old and am so tired of all of the hatred and evil. Let’s pray and be kind.

  117. Jeanette
    June 2, 2020 / 4:33 pm

    As a Canadian/US dual citizen of colour, my heart breaks for George Floyd & his family and others killed. But my heart also hurts for how peaceful protests that could have brought change, healing & reconciliation to so many communities, were so quickly coopted by fringe extremist, to become vicious mobs looting, pillaging, burning. Any kind of opening of the mind, change, healing, has gone out the window. I’ve family whose businesses have been affected, and they are very angry.

    So my heart hurts but still, I do have hope …

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      June 2, 2020 / 6:21 pm

      I’m encouraged to see that so many of the bigger protests today seem to have stayed peaceful.

  118. Jan
    June 2, 2020 / 7:32 pm

    Thank you for being a bright light .

  119. Jan W
    June 2, 2020 / 7:49 pm

    An important concept to remember is only those in power can truly make the dramatic changes that are required. Therefore, white people have a responsibility to educate themselves about white supremacy and recognize their own white privilege so they can begin to understand, think and act in anti-racist ways. There are many good sources available (as Susan provided). One of my favorites is White Fragility. Together, we can make a difference!

  120. Paulette Kay
    June 2, 2020 / 8:33 pm

    So sad for America but while I agree with everything you said, Susan, it’s not from being a citizen of a country of moral strength/virtue. As Nakkiah Lui, an Australian Indigenous playwright, actor and activist said on a talk show, The Project, last night: “Over 424 Aboriginal people have lost theirs lives since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. That’s 14 people murdered a year. If a white person was murdered every month for 24 years by the same group, we’d call them terrorists. You call it Australia.”

    • Susan
      June 3, 2020 / 1:04 am

      Perhaps Nakkiah Lui needs to read the Royal Commission Report into those deaths. It is certainly a shocking number of deaths, but they were not actually murdered by the police or prison officers. Many died from disease, suicide, alcohol related injuries etc. The report did not absolve the judiciary from responsibility, but was very critical of lack of due care towards those prisoners. I am certainly not excusing the reasons for those deaths, but they were not murdered and Lui needs to be more accurate with her accusations.

      • Paulette Kay
        June 3, 2020 / 5:59 am

        I’m sure Nakkiah would have read the report Susan. As she was speaking on a talk show, I doubt semantics came into play – she was not making an accusation under law, in a courtroom. She was (and I’m assuming this) giving a voice to the many Indigenous deaths arising from presumed intent (though not one conviction of any kind for any of the deaths), lack of duty of care – as happens in our refugee camps – or manslaughter which of course is murder without intent. As you would know from having read the Royal Commission Report, Indigenous people are overrepresented in goals here. They represent 3% of the total population, yet more than 29% are in prison.

        Sydney Morning Herald newspaper of 28 November 2019 tells us that “Life trajectory outcomes for young people forced into contact with the criminal justice system are grim. They are less likely to complete their education or find employment and are more likely to die an early death.

        “It disproportionately affects Indigenous young people. Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander young people aged 10 to 17 are 23 times more likely to be in detention than non-Indigenous young people, jumping to 38 times in some states. In the Northern Territory, at least 94 per cent of detainees in juvenile detention are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. At times, this statistic has been 100 per cent.”

        I understand there is a similar over-representation of Black Americans in US prison. Not a statistic to be happy about in either country.

        • Susan
          June 3, 2020 / 6:29 am

          But why even compare Indigenous Australian incarceration rates, deaths in custody etc with African Americans? A more accurate analogy would be with Native Americans who, like Australian Aboriginals were displaced by European settlers. When Nakkiah spoke of 14 ‘murders’ a year, the language is inaccurate (and accusatory) as every death either in a remand centre or jail is termed ‘death in custody’, even though the majority of those deaths were men aged over 55 years and most died from some form of disease, e.g. cancer. Every death in custody is a coroner’s case and the findings are online. None of my comments are in any way justification of the terrible acts committed towards our Indigenous Australians. My family fostered a little Aboriginal boy for many years, so I know first hand the ugly racial barbs and prejudice he endured.

      • Paulette Kay
        June 3, 2020 / 6:00 am

        Tried to respond Susan but was not permitted to.

  121. Judy
    June 2, 2020 / 9:53 pm

    Jesus Christ is the answer for our sin sick society. As the Bible says in Jeremiah 17:9-10 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it? I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.”
    We all need a new heart to love God and our neighbor as ourself.

  122. Marcy
    June 2, 2020 / 10:18 pm

    Many thanks for posting this, Susan.

  123. Christie L Traasdahl
    June 3, 2020 / 1:32 pm

    Dear Susan, I want you to know that I absolutely love your posts. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on so many things including this subject so eloquently. I hope it is all right if I share mine. I have immediate family members and friends who are first responders in fire fighting and police. Some who stood in behalf of NY firefighters at the funerals of their fallen comrades, so as to allow them to continue searching for more people in the debris of 911. They have gone to Florida to help rebuild after hurricane disasters. Not because they had to-they wanted to help. They agree with all of us that what that police officer(s) in Minneapolis did to George Floyd was reprehensible. He is not a representative of the majority of first responders in the U.S. There are bad doctors, bad lawyers, bad teachers, bad CEO’s, bad politicians, even bad members of Antifa and Black Lives Matter, etc. This does not mean all of them are bad. My sympathies go out to everyone who have injured or lost loved ones during this difficult time. I am from Las Vegas and so am very sad for the young police officer shot in the back of the head. So many people have lost their livelihoods to thugs simply because nobody stopped them. They were not protesters and I would bet that many of them could not even tell you who the person was that died. It is ridiculous and horrifying. There is no color-just humans. We should stand shoulder to shoulder with a gun next to a person who wants/needs to protect what they worked so hard for all their lives. Or heaven forbid needs to defend their neighborhood or home if this gets worse. We should embrace the law to be applied to all fairly and justly for crimes committed. Not set up a guillotine like what was done in Fergeson. That is a chilling reminder of the French Revolution in Paris France. I have been there and have seen the spot where that awful history occurred. We don’t want anarchy as some seem to suggest by abolishing the police. Peace begins with each one of us- none of us is born with the poison of racism, as some would suggest. I believe we should love others as ourselves. Spoken by me-who was beat up by a group of teenagers when I was in grade school. Yes, we were of different races. I love this country and its freedoms in spite of some of its flaws. So many want to come here and experience those freedoms to make of their lives what they will. Just to get the chance. I want to see this amazing country succeed for another 200 + years. We need to stand for truth and right. Protest peacefully. That is our right. Tearing down our country is not. Thanks again for allowing me to speak here in this forum.

    • Donetta Jackson
      June 5, 2020 / 10:33 am

      Ms Traasdahl, I want to thank you for giving me the courage to speak.

      My name is Donetta Jackson, and while I am touched by the well-meaning concern of men and women like you ladies here, I would like to state loudly and clearly that I am not a victim.

      I do not believe in any way, shape or form that my people can only succeed if white people defer to us, if white people step aside, as if white people have to “let us” do anything. I find it extremely patronizing, even though I do recognize that it it well-intentioned.

      It is a slap in the face to our enslaved ancestors, our grandparents who were lynched based on the lies of whites, who could not eat in white restaurants, who had dogs set loose on them, whose right to vote was denied, to say that racism is more prevalent than ever.

      I never had to explain to my seven children how to behave if they were pulled over by white police officers; I taught them to be respectful to everyone, at all times. Neither did I lose my ever loving mind when they were pulled over while driving in white neighborhoods, which did happen occasionally. My daughter had a close friend in Druid Hills (Atlanta area) at a time when black folks had no presence there. I was pulled over once when I went to pick her up, as were my husband and her older brothers. It was obvious we didn’t live there, and I understood the officers were looking out for the neighborhood. This was during a time when there were plenty of racist police officers, and yet none of us were ever intimidated or fearful by the behavior of the officers who pulled us over. ( The officer who pulled me over definitely assumed I worked in one of the houses, though, and apologized to me afterwards.)

      The worst harassment my children went through was at school, constantly bullied for “acting white” because they studied, spoke grammatically correct English, and dressed in a way I felt was appropriate (I didn’t allow my sons to wear their pants sagging half way down their backsides, and my daughters were dressed like little girls, not streetwalkers). By far the worst struggle I had as a black woman in America was trying to get my children educated in a black school system that couldn’t control violence in a damn elementary school. My resentment was not towards white people; my resentment was, and remains, black parents who let their children run wild, who fill them with rage against white people, who make them believe that they can’t succeed because of white people.

      My husband’s cousin David Dorn was killed and it was broadcasted on Facebook Live, trying to help stop a neighborhood business from being looted in St. Louis. David Patrick Underwood was shot on duty in Oakland. THEIR LIVES MATTERED.

      I have relatives picking through remnants of what were once thriving businesses, now destroyed by savages ( of all colors) rioting throughout this country.

      There is no excuse for this. The people who are doing this are not trying to help black folks, they are trying to destroy the country, and are manipulating black people to do so. Black people will suffer for this in far greater numbers that whites. I am appalled at the amount of people who sympathize with this behavior. I support peaceful protests, but I do not understand why mayors and governors are allowing the destruction of people’s property, excusing it , as if they believe black people can’t control themselves when something horrible happens. Would any of you ladies excuse your children acting like this? But somehow it must be tolerated, applauded even, because something horrible happened to a black person? Do you not see how insulting this is?

      I know my opinion is in the minority here, and I appreciate being allowed to express it. Susan, I understand if you choose not to publish it. I want to thank you for introducing me to Brahmain bags, Peter Green shoes, and Frenche Kande.

      • Christie L Traasdahl
        June 5, 2020 / 7:59 pm

        Ms. Jackson, thank you so much for your post. Thank you for sharing your wonderful heartfelt sentiments and sharing your perspective. I agree with you and say well done, well spoken. I am truly sorry about your husband’s cousin who was killed, as well as others. My sympathies are with your family and others who mourn their lost loved ones. You alluded to people who are creating the unrest are trying to destroy the country. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but you may be on to something. Thank you for taking the time to share what you have written. I wish more people could see what you have shared.

        Thank you Susan for letting these things be posted. You have been patient and kind. You started a wonderful discussion. It is so nice to read all your posts and to get your thoughts and perspectives on many things including this. Your posts make my world a little more soft and cozy. I have been learning many things from your many posts. Thank you! I feel like we could all be good neighbors! I guess we are in a way through this virtual connection.

  124. Rev. Patricia Wesson, MD
    June 3, 2020 / 1:44 pm

    Thank you. Thank you

  125. Linda
    June 3, 2020 / 3:03 pm

    ThankYou!

  126. Marybeth
    June 4, 2020 / 9:39 am

    Thank you…

  127. Annick
    June 4, 2020 / 1:07 pm

    Thank you for your post! I am really disappointed in many other bloggers who could have used their platform but chose not to…you are an inspiration. We do not live in bubbles and while I enjoy distractions and the general content of light lifestyle blogs, there comes a time when that platform can be used to shed light on important matters.

    Peace!

  128. Dianne
    June 7, 2020 / 2:31 pm

    I am so upset about the burning,rioting,stealing…this is NOT protesting…it’s criminal and hurting many people,and helping no one…sadly this is no longer about racist,but violence..NOTHING will be solved this way

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      June 7, 2020 / 2:36 pm

      Fortunately the great majority of recent protests have remained peaceful.

    • Jan W
      June 8, 2020 / 4:02 pm

      I am so upset about the death of George Floyd and the many other African Americans who have been killed, hurt and harrassed by police for decades. I am so upset about the systemic racism in many American institutions, about the incarceration rates for people of color and about the income and wealth disparity between whites and people of color. And I am so upset most white Americans ignored and/or decided racism was not a relevant issue for them until they watched yet another white officer abuse a black man. Yes, I am even upset about the burning and looting…but the killing of black men by police has got to stop!

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