Why? Why would a white person write a book about race?
Here’s the reason: we, white people, are missing out. We are missing out on the many gifts people of color have to offer and the amazing relationships that could be built, the kinds of creative problem-solving synergy that only comes when people work together across differences. We are missing out on these things because still today, there is an unconscious bias that we have against people who look different from ourselves. White people may or may not be aware of it, but there are still deeply-ingrained attitudes that limit our ability to look at people of color and see them as we would see another white person. We make assumptions about other people that limit what we can hear from them. We assume that they have less to teach us, less to offer us, fewer things in common with us. We assume we do not need them. As fellow humans. To try and solve the problems of this broken world.
I write as a white person to other white people, not because I’ve “figured it out,” but because I have felt convicted in my own assumptions. I have realized that we learn things growing up surrounded mostly by other white people that we do not realize we have learned, and that we do not realize that these habits of thinking are harming our ability to connect with people who are not white.
This book isn’t written to help people of color, except for those who are interested in understanding what white people may be going through as they consider race and racism. This book is to help white people. Our imaginations have been warped by “whiteness.” Our imaginations have even been warped by “color-blindness.”
My book, Anxious to Talk About It, coming out in a few months, aims to help white people unpack some of these things, and to realize that our emotional responses to some of these conversations may predictably prevent us from staying engaged. Instead, I encourage us to be gentle with ourselves, prepare to be challenged, and even hope that these experiences will open us to see the gifts of others more clearly.
I hope you will join me.