We want to express our appreciation for the Observer article on Juneteenth written by Elizabeth Warren. In it she shared some appalling personal experiences as a woman of color living in Suffield. Only toward the end of the article did she mention the middle fingers and shouted insults she has experienced while on the street with her children, and whispers she has heard in a local store. Our own children, who are brown skinned, and who were educated in Suffield public schools, have shared with us their own experiences of racial hate growing up in our town.
So what do we make of this? The fact that overt racism persists even here has to be acknowledged. It is a reminder that after all the years since the civil rights movement of the 1960’s, and the passing of the bigots of that era, that the struggle for equality has not ended. Our neighbors still suffer from this.
What can we well intentioned white people do? First speak up when you become aware of racist behavior by the people around you. Maybe you could think now what you might say. Second, we can also help by looking inward and reflecting on our own biases. Every human has them. The idea is to become more aware of them so we can catch ourselves before we, unaware, say or do something hurtful. The more we work at it, the better we make the world.