I’m sharing my story of recognizing my white privilege. I hope it helps others to understand their privilege, so we can all come together to create change.
My Story To Recognizing My White Privilege
For most of my life, I assumed because I “love everyone” and always strive to be a good human, that meant I didn’t have racist tendencies. I didn’t understand the privilege that came with the color of my skin.
In June of 2013, I took a road trip with two doulas from Colorado to Utah to attend the second annual Birth Activist Retreat.
As a newly certified childbirth educator, I was eager to learn all I could.
It was thrilling to be in a room full of powerhouses in the birth community.
My notebook was open and pen ready, but I was completely unaware of how my life was about to change.
Hakima Tafunzi Payne, the founder of Uzazi Village, took the podium to present her Birthing While Black presentation.
She shared startling statistics about how black women are four times more likely to die in childbirth than white women. How black babies are twice as likely to die.
I felt gutted. I couldn’t believe I was completely unaware of these heartbreaking statistics.
When a few people in the audience addressed concerns about possibly offending black women by speaking about these issues, she said, “Educate yourself about the problem. Approach with a sense of cultural humility and with an open heart.”
I remember writing these words down as she spoke them because I was so moved by what she was saying.
She talked about how we needed to sit with our discomfort and then move forward.
“Us” being the 40 white women in the room!
At that moment, the floor dropped out from beneath me.
I didn’t notice I was sitting in a room full of people who looked like me until it was pointed out.
I will forever be thankful for how Mama Hakima opened my eyes.
And I will continue to sit with my discomfort and then move forward!
Please tap into all of the resources below, and you can listen to episode 102 of the Plus Mommy Podcast to hear more of my journey to understanding white privilege.
- A Kid’s Book About Racism by Jelani Memory (talked about during the episode)
- 13 Books For Young Children That Feature Protagonists Of Color
- Your Kids Aren’t Too Young to Talk About Race: Resource Roundup
- 75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice
- An Essential Reading Guide For Fighting Racism
- White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack Peggy McIntosh