On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, 2011

Spending the day human-free, in the quiet company of my cat and dogs, researching startup costs and mulling over possible business names, drinking chamomile and eating salty French green beans from a can, thinking about racism. No one in this country escapes it – though we good-hearted, white liberal-types often tend to believe we’re immune. Racist? I’m not racist! Racist is that other guy, the one with the confederate flag bumper sticker. But there’s no escaping the insidious tendrils of bigotry that curl deeply inside our collective minds. It’s in our history, our movies, our advertising – it’s everywhere, and all these messages lodge themselves in us, piling on top of a guilt that most of us white people can not name. What we can do is accept that fact, get educated about it, bring it into our awareness, and decide what to do with it. There’s no need for shame, if we will do the work.

My dear friend Maggie Jochild, who’s given it decades of thought, says this: “The truest thing about America is that it is rooted in racism, and that every second of its history since white arrival, we have been fighting against racism with a profound, accurate belief we can eliminate it here.”


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