It is June 2020. In the midst of a worldwide pandemic we are now seeing worldwide protests sparked by incidents of negative police interaction and communities of people of color. As a nearly 50 year old African American woman race has been a constant factor in my life. I was raised in the 70’s during a time period when we were encouraged to embrace our African American heritage, I have seen so much more growth in our society as far as representation in media, more opportunities than my parents or grandparents could ever even consider. I have seen the election of the first Black President of the United States, an event I never thought I would see. With all these shining examples of hope there has always been an accompanying cloudy more sinister presence of racism.
Racism doesn’t always present as we see it in the movies. It isn’t always a burning cross, an angry mob, or signs that designate where you can sit, eat, stand, shop, or sleep. No racism is often more subtle to the untrained eye. Racism says that someone is a threat simply because of the color of their skin. Racism says this person may not be suitable for this job or intelligent enough to educate my child until they prove otherwise simply because of the color or their skin. Racism says you should become nervous because that person of color has moved into your neighborhood. Racism questions the presence of a person in your community just doing regular activities like having a cookout, bird watching, selling lemonade, jogging, or going to the store to buy skittles and iced tea,
The hard issues are those issues we choose not to look at because it causes us to identify our own implicit bias. I believe however in order for real change to occur we all must take a deep look inward and then be willing to have hard conversations with one another. As a therapist I am a firm believer in whatever is concealed cannot heal.
My hope is that our present difficulty will provide an opportunity for honest dialogue and real healing.
We are stronger together.
Alicia M. Lurry MA LPC