I was born in the mid-1950’s to a middle-class white family with all the expectations that that implied. “Diversity” was definitely not part of my or anyone else’s vocabulary at the time; people of color existed but they had their own separate world and no one I knew questioned why. Those assumptions began to change with the Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s.
When I learned about the systematic mistreatment of people of color at the hands of those of my own race, it made me very angry inside that white people should act like that. But I believed that because I did not directly do any of those things, I was not responsible. By learning about white privilege, I realized now that I enjoy many benefits because of my skin color, and that this was not by accident but by design. The society I grew up in didn’t naturally evolve that way; it was planned to be that way from the beginning by short-sighted people who didn’t stop to think about the sterile society they were creating. I say sterile because in that society there was and is no room for any kind of square pegs in round holes. And this was considered good!
I feel that I am embarking on a long and challenging journey and I hope that my brothers and sisters of color will help me on my way and kindly and gently forgive me when I stumble. I feel that combating racism and oppression is a vitally important part of living the First Principle, recognizing the inherent worth and dignity of all people. If we do that, I think we will go a long way towards creating the Beloved Community.