I'm convinced we need to speak more openly about the ongoing realities of racial segregation in the places we inhabit. In my own town of Abbotsford, BC, there are glimpses of hope, such as the Rally Against Racism and Bigotry and the ways some local neighbourhoods are becoming more culturally integrated. But lack of understanding, latent racism, and a uncertain way forward often leads to inaction.
As one in a place of cultural privilege in Canada, I often experience guilt, frustration, or helplessness when facing these realities. What does this have to do with me? But instead of withdraw from the discomfort, I'm finding that when I engage it, new understanding and new behavior often results, however difficult that engagement is.
To this end, I highly recommend this recent podcast from On Being as valuable insight to move engagement forward: "Let's Talk About Whiteness"
Could we learn to talk about whiteness? The writer Eula Biss has been thinking and writing about being white and raising white children in a multi-racial world for a long time. She helpfully opens up words and ideas like “complacence,” “guilt,” and something related to privilege called “opportunity hoarding.” To be in this uncomfortable conversation is to realize how these words alone, taken seriously, can shake us up in necessary ways — but also how the limits of words make these conversations at once more messy and more urgent.