• Jennifer Jade Merrihue

RACISM- I AM THE PROBLEM

Here we go- sharing my updates on this journey doing my own anti-racist work.


Before I share, I want to invite any and all corrective feedback from BBIPOC on what I am sharing. I am open and willing to hearing/learning if what I am saying or how I am saying it is in any way wrong, hurtful to the cause, to you, to the intention. I am not asking you to teach me, I am paying for that education from BBIPOC educators for that. Just inviting you to share freely.


I am still doing anti-racist work. I will forever. Because it is in me. Because I look white.



Because I am part of this system that is sick.


It's ugly and difficult and worth every second.


That being said last week I crashed into a wall. Literally got into a car accident.


Not doing anti-racism work sustainably means I'm useless to the cause.


SO I’m learning. I’m learning to hold the disgust and discomfort of what my whiteness contributes to and means in this world throughout my day and night.


I’m learning to see and understand and hold what my whiteness means even though I hate what it means and a part of me feels so wrong in my existence.


AND I’m learning that I HAVE to learn to balance. I don’t know how yet to balance the urgency of what needs to get done NOW in this movement and how to resource and recharge.


Yet all of this noise of mine above is sugar on top in comparison to what BBIPOC have to go through every day since childhood.


My experience right now, no matter how exhausting, IS LITERALLY NOTHING in comparison. NOTHING.

A mere blink of an eye to what BBIPOC have lived through- have had to teach their CHILDREN about.


It’s ludicrous.


Things I shamefully admit because this is how we change:

Step one is finding the things and taking full ownership for my role…


3 weeks ago when the protests started was when I first began understanding my white lookingness and what this really means.


It’s when I first began to HEAR that I am actually the problem.


It’s the first time I heard I was the problem and really grappled to understand it. To understand how being against racism and being actively anti-racist are aggressively different things.


2 weeks ago is when I first really heard and understood that inaction is violence. And saw my own violence in my own inaction.


It’s the first time I understood that by doing nothing about the racism that makes my blood curdle I AM contributing to white supremacy.


Last week was the first week I obsessively began researching, studying, getting taught about racism, about MY racism, about how saying “I don’t see color” is racist.


You see, in the past, I read about Black lives and experiences and racism without ever looking at my role in it.


I empathized and cried and cursed humanity.


I judged EXTERNALLY, I judged the past, the kkk, the extremes, people who were consciously racist.


Because I was convinced that I am not racist. I am not the problem. I loved all. I didn’t even consider that just because I am not killing, hating, noticing people because of race, it doesn’t mean I'm not racist.


Why?


Because I was created in a society that is INNATELY and actively RACIST.


Since I am a product and an extension of a society that is INNATELY racist, then I am innately racist.


And I am the most problematic type of racism too, because it's the majority, it’s the sneaky one, it’s the quiet one, it’s the one I didn’t even see or understand, I was blind to it.


It’s the racism that is so unconscious that it’s dangerous- because if I don’t see the problem IN ME, I won’t change it, I will feel powerless to affect change outside of me too, I will not understand my enormous role in perpetuating/benefitting this racist system nor my responsibility and power to change it.


And since we white and white looking people are the ones that created and continue enforcing and living out this system we benefit from- we have to be the ones that change it.


Now that I see the racism indoctrinated in me, it’s impossible not to see it.


When I began this work, I wanted to know how to fix society's racism. How to help BBIPOC, how to change the OUTSIDE world in order to help.


This is THE PROBLEM. I have to start with SEEING and annihilating the racism inside of me first.


I have to get fluent in how I AM the problem.


I have to be able to hold this in me, to balance while I do so (so I don’t crash more cars and use my energy instead for anti-racism).


Long before I can try and change anyone else or an immense system, I have to change the system that lives in me. The beliefs and the unconscious contributions to a system that is racist.


I have to see MYSELF as the system. And start there.


THEN I can go and contribute on some level, WHILE still doing the anti-racism work in me forever.


I hope you will read this and see the power you have in changing the system too. In yourself. In the people around you. In the world.

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TO my white and white looking people who are stressed out and want to help and feel powerless and nervous to contribute incase you f* up and say something unconsciously racist.


We can’t change a system if we don’t understand it. We understand it first by doing the work to understand ourselves, our blind spots.

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When you hear something triggering like:


“Inaction is violence (aka. You’re violent).


Or all white people are racist.


Or white women who care but don’t do anything but empathize with the cause are the most dangerous.


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BEFORE you say NO to any of these as I so desperately wanted to when I first digested them.


Try fist to understand them.

Read the books, pay BBIPOC educators, talk to the people around you who are doing anti-racism work.


First, consider it to be true.


Try and see it in yourself, and if you can’t, find the resources to help you see.


Then once you FULLY understand what is being pointed to, make an opinion. But don’t avoid it because it’s scary or because you don’t want to identify with the hideous disgustingness that is racism. Be brave. We need you.


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To everyone: take care of yourself, sleep, eat, rest, and be active while you contribute to this. This is the long game we are playing. We need you at your best.


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If you feel personally insulted by phrases like this or what’s going on, please DM me privately about it.


I am happy to share resources and educators and things you can do.


Please do not defend your whiteness on this thread.


We need less publicity for those arguments and more space for BBIPOC voices to correct white and white looking educators and people as we do the work to understand, to change, to stop the violent social disease that is racism.

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