I hope Biden wins — but even then, the fight will not be over. Think about this: After President Obama was elected, he was mocked for his looks, his birthplace, and his policies, and most of us white people thought it was THOSE bad guys — out there — who were racist. Not us! After Obama was elected, most of us stopped “doing” anti-racism work, if we ever had.
Think about this: While we now often hear the words “systemic racism,” we may not often think about how we, as individual white people, have personally benefited from it. For myself, I acknowledge here several of the ways in which I have benefited from systemic racism:
— I, Kesa Kivel, with inherited money from my family (who had business opportunities not afforded to Black people) was able to attend a private college for a period of time. I had no student debt afterward, and no thought of how my white privilege played into my being accepted into college, being able to pay for it, or having the opportunities even one year of a college education provided me.
— I, Kesa Kivel, have never been stopped for a minor traffic infringement and asked to get out of the car to be treated harshly because of my race — not once, let alone repeatedly stopped, as many Black people are.
— I, Kesa Kivel, will likely live longer, on average, than most Black people. That means I will likely have more time with my friends and family, enjoy more visits with my beloved adult niece and nephews, and watch their children grow up for a bit longer than I could expect if I were Black.
Can you think of a few ways in which you have benefited from systemic racism and white privilege?
No matter who will be inaugurated in January, let’s continue to be realistic: We need to be anti-racist for the long haul. Let’s keep donating to Black-led organizations and being active in all the ways we have been, and more. The work is not over.