If you are a white person who talks or posts online regarding any number of issues facing our country and our faith, and have had the humbling opportunity to be called out by someone you know (or don’t know even) for racial bias, racism, white privilege, white fragility, or mansplaining…
Please please please see it as such a gift and an opportunity. It’s hard I know to not react emotionally and get defensive and swear that those things could never be said of us. I’ve been there…several times over!
But someone thought it was important enough and decided to spend their time, emotional energy and risked your reaction in order to say it to you.
Here have been a few things that have helped me in my own learning journey:
1. Don’t try to fix it right away. If someone calls you out, don’t respond right then. Unless it’s just to say “I’m sorry. I’m going to have to take some time to think on what you’ve just said.”
2. Don’t…DO NOT… Never ever… delete your comment that someone took the time to point out how it was offensive. Don’t do it. It’s just against all internet etiquette and often deletes the voices that took the time and energy to have the conversation with you. Repeat after me…I won’t delete my comment even though everything in me wants to.
3. It’s tempting to gather/message those who you know think like you and agree with you and then talk about how offensive it was that someone called you offensive. Don’t do that either. I’ve done it. I wish I hadn’t.
4. Research and read like crazy and widespread about the terms surrounding those being used to describe your words. Read a book about those topics. Sometimes, not always, the person engaging you might be able to point you to some good resources.
5. Are there any groups or accounts or people you can follow or learn from that would help further your understanding of where the person correcting you might be coming from.
6. Give it time. Give. It. Time. Sometimes it may take months even years before you can fully appreciate the risk and energy someone took in speaking up on your post or in your conversation.
7. What else have you (as a learning activist) had to learn about being called out?