Another Martin Luther King Jr. Day is upon us and so many people have the same question: “How can we make our country into more of what Dr. King envisioned?” While I am no expert in the field, I do have some lived experiences that can help with the question every person seems to have around this time of the year. Here are my two cents (and three suggestions) on how to live out the words of our creed.
Number 1: Look inward
Every change has to start within. If there is only extrinsic motivation to make a change, then the change will be artificial and feckless. Examine yourself, honestly and often. Why do you feel you need to change? How do you benefit from the change? etc. Never mind everyone else (that is for a later post), What do you notice that needs to change for the better? By starting with how you perceive yourself, and being honest about yourself, then you can finally move in the direction you desire.
Number 2: Check your privilege
Yes, I am dead serious. What privileges do you have? Now understand what I am not saying: privilege does not mean your life is without hard work. In fact, in some cases, hard work is why you have the privileges you may enjoy. Like a job, or a college degree, the usage of all your limbs, or even the ability to have disposable income. There’s nothing wrong with having anything that I mentioned. So figure out how you can use what you have to help and serve others.
Number 3: Educate yourself
Once you have had those conversations and chances to reflect, time to educate yourself on what you may not know. There is no shame in not being an expert. This work is a process and there has to be earnest dedicator to development. Below I have listed some of my favorite reads to check out for some of that personal growth.
The Black Friend: On being a better White Person by Frederick T. Joseph
If you have any that you like or any that I possibly missed, please feel free to message me or leave a comment. May your personal journey be enriching and fulfilling as well as educational.
Take Care and Be Well!
-Your First Black Friend