Name Five White People Who Fought Racism
Failure to teach about White antiracists keeps White folks on the sidelines.
Many Americans know about civil rights and freedom fighters like Harriett Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Frederick Douglass, W. E. B. Du Bois, Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, and good troublemaker John Lewis.
Some of us even know about Medgar Evers, Ida B. Wells, and Ralph Bunche, as well as civil rights icons like Julian Bond and Andrew Young.
We should continue to celebrate the giant achievements of these greats. We should still name roads and schools and parks after them. Their names and contributions should continue to be taught in our schools. Even increased.
As much work is left to be done, we wouldn’t be where we are without their unwavering dedication to peace, equity, and justice.
Yet one of the biggest impediments to moving the equity needle way more is that too many people practice what I call “bystanderism.”
Good people who aren’t storing white sheets in the trunks of their Subarus, who aren’t heading to hate marches or spewing out racist nonsense. People who in their hearts believe in equality and that every person deserves a fair shake in life.
These same good people, though, aren’t exercising the courage to stand up to make that fair shake happen.
They aren’t speaking up in enough numbers in their organizations, companies, families, friend groups, churches, and synagogues. They aren’t choosing politicians who will disturb the system. Or boycotting businesses that aren’t doing enough.
Now I’m not talking about whether good people put signs on their lawns or post temporary blacked-out Facebook profile pictures. That’s easy stuff.
I’m referring to real courage and action.
It’s been a bit of a head-scratcher why so many people remain on the sidelines in the face of injustice when they proclaim they believe in equality.
But I do get it. Not everyone is courageous.
Not everyone wants to be the one who makes a lot of noise. Or the one who’s ruffling society’s feathers. People have families and kids and…