It’s not enough, it’s not just one Black life, and it’s affecting Y O U.

As social media flooded with what happened with George Floyd, I took the opportunity to talk about one of the aspects of racism. It’s been 2 years now and I still remember Dr. A’s lecture on White Racial Identity (Helms, 1990). His opening question was: “Can a Caucasian researcher study people of color?” It depends is the correct answer. The pervasiveness of racism has reached a point where having the intention not to be racist is not enough anymore. Don’t get me wrong, the intention is the first step in changing this belief; however, if the goal is to mitigate the oppression, then, it’s not enough. Helm’s (1990) model is a fair illustration of how we sometimes fail to discern that intention is merely the first step in recognizing color and appreciating the difference in another’s race and culture. 

For those who are not familiar with Helm’s (1990) model, it consists of 6 stages the first stage is ignorance, the last one is autonomy, and in between there’s a turbulence of emotions, thoughts, and challenges one has to overcome. In other words, saying that you don’t ignore what’s happening, it’s not enough. Saying that you don’t see color, it’s not enough. Blaming the victim for owning what they have, it’s not enough. “Helping” colored people be more white (i.e., integrating them into a culture that is not their own), it’s not enough. It’s not enough because normalizing white culture to marginalize the rest, as if they belong in a different sphere of existence, is a way to control fear, reduce guilt, or maybe have a scapegoat.

When does it become enough? Considering how much physical and mental space we’ve taken to impose our own, giving them their space can create an opportunity to express themselves. While posting your #blackouttuesday, take the time to reflect on the fact that it needed someone to gruesomely die to start a protest. A protest to reveal for the 94550th time that the country was built on the foundations of slavery. This protest can act as a turning point for a better future, not just for the US, but for everyone. Racism does not exist only in other countries, but in your own as well. Being anti-racist is a skill we develop in being able to recognize the difference in other people and yet being able to connect with them.   

It becomes enough when everyone takes part in it. What is happening right now, it’s not just about the death of a black man, it’s about a system that everyone belongs in and determines the quality of our future. It’s about the norms we’ve set for this society and the direction of the energy we waste to create sameness. Having in mind the convenience of traveling, we live in an era where multiracialism is at its peak. If you foolishly believe that you haven’t met someone from a different racial and/or cultural background then yours is not because they don’t live in your country. It’s because you prefer to see no color and it’s not enough anymore.

Helms, J. E. (1990). Black and white racial identity: theory, research, and practice (Ser. Contributions in Afro-American and African studies, no. 129). Greenwood Press.